Be aware of urgent maternal warning signs and symptoms during pregnancy and in the year after delivery. Seek medical care immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms that are listed below. These symptoms could indicate a life-threatening situation.

Headache that won’t go away or gets worse over time

  • Feels like the worst headache of your life
  • Lasts even after treatment with medication and fluid intake
  • Starts suddenly with severe pain, like a clap of thunder
  • Throbs and is on one side of your head above your ear
  • Comes with blurred vision or dizziness

Dizziness or fainting

  • You faint or pass out
  • You have dizziness and lightheadedness that’s ongoing, or comes and goes over many days
  • You experience a gap in time of which you have no memory

Changes in your vision

  • You see flashes of light or bright spots
  • You have blind spots or you can’t see at all for a short time
  • Your vision is blurry, you can’t focus, or you’re seeing double

Fever of 100.4°F or higher

  • You have a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

Extreme swelling of your hands or face

  • Swelling in your hands makes it hard to bend your fingers or wear rings
  • Swelling in your face makes it hard to open your eyes all the way—they feel and look puffy
  • Your lips and mouth feel swollen or you have a loss of feeling

Thoughts about harming yourself or your baby

  • You may think about hurting yourself because you:
    • Feel very sad, hopeless or not good enough
    • Don’t feel that you have control over your life
    • Feel extremely worried all the time
  • You may think about hurting your baby and/or you may have scary thoughts that come when you don’t want or that are hard to get rid of

Trouble breathing

  • You feel short of breath suddenly or over time, as if you can’t breathe deeply enough to get enough air in your lungs
  • Your throat and/or chest feel tight
  • You have trouble breathing when you’re laying down flat, such as needing to prop your head up with pillows to sleep

Chest pain or fast-beating heart

  • You have chest pain, such as:
    • A feeling of tightness or pressure in the center of your chest
    • Pain that travels to your back, neck or arm
  • You have a change in your heartbeat, such as:
    • A fast heartbeat or a pounding in your chest
    • An irregular heart rate or skipped heartbeats
  • You feel dizzy, faint or disoriented
  • You have trouble catching your breath (talking and breathing are difficult)
  • These symptoms can happen at any time and anywhere or may be triggered by a specific event

Severe nausea and throwing up

  • You feel severely sick to your stomach (nauseous) beyond the normal queasy feeling and throwing up that many people have in early pregnancy
  • You are unable to drink for more than 8 hours or eat for more than 24 hours
  • You throw up and can’t keep water or other fluids in your stomach
  • You have:
    • A dry mouth
    • Headaches
    • Confusion
    • Fever
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Severe belly pain that doesn’t go away

  • You have a sharp, stabbing or cramp-like belly pain that doesn’t go away
  • Your belly pain starts suddenly and is severe, or gets worse over time
  • You have severe chest, shoulder or back pain

Vaginal bleeding or discharge after pregnancy

  • You have heavy bleeding—soaking through one or more pads in an hour
  • You pass clots bigger than an egg or you pass tissue
  • You have vaginal discharge that smells bad

Severe swelling, redness or pain of your leg or arm

  • Anytime during pregnancy or up to 6 weeks after birth
  • You have swelling, pain or tenderness in your leg—usually your calf or in one leg:
    • It may or may not hurt when you touch it
    • It may hurt when you flex your foot to stand or walk
    • The painful area can also be red, swollen and warm to the touch
  • You have pain, tenderness or swelling in your arm, usually on just one side of your body

Overwhelming tiredness

  • You are suddenly very tired and weak
  • You don’t have enough energy to go about your day
  • No matter how much you sleep, you don’t feel refreshed
  • You feel so tired that you don’t get up to take care of your baby
  • You feel sad after having your baby

Call Dell Children’s Health Plan 24-hour Nurse HelpLine at 1-855-712-6700 to talk to a nurse to help you find the care you need.

As you recover, the following symptoms are not uncommon:

  • Bloody vaginal discharge that changes to brown, then whitish over the next few weeks after delivery
  • A tender vaginal area
  • Painful contractions that may continue after delivery as the uterus goes back to its original size
  • Breast engorgement as you start to produce breast milk
  • Fatigue and soreness, which are common in the first few weeks

During the first few weeks, you need to take good care of yourself to rebuild your strength. The following steps can help:

  • Take naps when the baby naps, to make up for lost sleep at night from getting up to feed the baby.
  • Wear a supportive bra. Cold packs may help relieve breast engorgement and swelling. Warm compresses can be used to help stimulate the letdown of milk. Letdown is a reflex that triggers the release of breastmilk. If you choose not to breastfeed, use ice packs and bind your breasts for several days to help ease engorgement.
  • If stitches were needed during a vaginal delivery, take warm, shallow baths (sitz baths) twice a day to ease soreness and speed healing.
  • After a cesarean section, keep the incision clean and dry.

A newborn’s feeding pattern can be unpredictable. Here’s what, when and how to feed your baby. Feeding a newborn is a round-the-clock commitment. It’s also an opportunity to begin forming a bond with the newest member of your family. Consider these tips for feeding a newborn.

Stick with breast milk or formula

Breast milk is the ideal food for babies. If breastfeeding isn’t possible, use infant formula. Healthy newborns don’t need cereal, water, juice or other fluids.

Feed your newborn on cue

Most newborns need 8 to 12 feedings a day—about one feeding every two to three hours. Look for early signs of readiness to feed. Signs include moving the hands to the mouth, sucking on fists and fingers and lip smacking. Fussing and crying are later cues. The sooner you begin each feeding, the less likely you’ll need to soothe a frantic baby. When your baby stops suckling, closes their mouth or turns away from the nipple or bottle, they might be full—or simply taking a break. Try burping your baby or waiting a minute before offering your breast or the bottle again. As your baby gets older, they may take in more milk in less time at each feeding.

Consider vitamin D supplements

Ask your baby’s doctor about vitamin D supplements for the baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Breast milk might not provide enough vitamin D, which helps your baby absorb calcium and phosphorus—nutrients necessary for strong bones.

Expect variations in your newborn’s eating patterns

Your newborn won’t necessarily eat the same amount every day. During growth spurts— often at two to three weeks after birth—your newborn might take more at each feeding or want to be fed more often. Respond to early signs of hunger, rather than keeping a strict eye on the clock.

Trust your instincts—and your newborn’s

You might worry that your newborn isn’t eating enough, but babies usually know just how much they need. Don’t focus on how much, how often or how regularly your newborn eats. Instead, look for:

  • Steady weight gain
  • Contentment between feedings
  • By the fifth day after birth, at least six wet diapers and three or more bowel movements a day

Contact the doctor if your newborn isn’t gaining weight, wets fewer than six diapers a day or shows little interest in feedings.

Consider each feeding a time to bond with your newborn

Hold your newborn close during each feeding. Look them in the eye. Speak with a gentle voice. Use each feeding as an opportunity to build your newborn’s sense of security, trust and comfort.

Keep feedings consistent

If other family members or caretakers will be feeding your baby part of the time, make sure they’re using the same feeding routines and methods you use.

Know when to ask for help

If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, ask a lactation consultant or your baby’s doctor for help—especially if every feeding is painful or your baby isn’t gaining weight. If you haven’t worked with a lactation consultant, ask your baby’s doctor for a referral or check with the obstetrics department at a local hospital.

It is not uncommon to have the “baby blues” during the first days or weeks after delivery. They most often happen suddenly on the third or fourth day after delivery. The “baby blues” have the following symptoms, but each person may have slightly different symptoms.

  • Feelings of disappointment
  • Crying with no known reason
  • Trouble sleeping, eating or making choices 
  • Uncertainty about being able to handle the baby 
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness

It is common for these “baby blues” feelings to go away soon after they start and usually without treatment. These symptoms may also be present in postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a more severe form of “baby blues.” People with postpartum depression may have trouble coping with their daily tasks.

After hours locations

You can also view a list of urgent care and after hours locations here.

Urgent care centers

You can also view a list of urgent care and after hours locations here.