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What are the things to avoid after giving birth?

Giving birth is an incredible yet challenging experience. While your body undergoes major changes to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, it’s important to avoid certain things during this postpartum period to promote healing and prevent complications. Here are some of the key things to avoid after giving birth:

Avoiding Infections

New moms are at an increased risk of infections for several weeks after giving birth. This is due to natural tears or episiotomies, vaginal discharge (lochia) after delivery, and a weakened immune system. To prevent infections:

  • Do not use tampons, have intercourse, or insert anything in the vagina for at least 6 weeks, or until cleared by your doctor.
  • Change pads frequently to avoid bacterial growth in lochia discharge.
  • Wash hands before and after using the bathroom, changing pads, or touching the perineal area.
  • Take sitz baths to keep the perineal area clean.
  • Watch for signs of infection like fever, foul-smelling lochia, and pain/swelling around episiotomy or C-section incisions.

Avoiding Blood Clots

Women have a higher risk of developing dangerous blood clots in the legs or lungs after giving birth. To reduce risks:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Move around as soon as possible after delivery, even if it’s just flexing feet and legs while in bed.
  • Wear compression socks or stockings to improve blood flow.
  • Avoid long periods of sitting or lying down.
  • Ask your doctor about blood thinners if at high risk.

Not Lifting Heavy Objects

After pregnancy and childbirth, women have lower back pain and loosened ligaments and joints in the pelvis. To prevent injury or strain:

  • Do not lift anything heavier than your baby for the first 6 weeks.
  • Ask for help lifting strollers, car seats, laundry baskets, and other objects.
  • Wear a postpartum belly wrap for extra abdominal support.
  • Get adequate rest to allow the body to heal.
  • Avoid activities like running, aerobics, and heavy housework that put pressure on the pelvis.

Avoiding Certain Foods and Medications

It’s important to avoid foods and medications that could be harmful while breastfeeding. Stay away from:

  • Fish high in mercury like tuna, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel.
  • Unpasteurized soft cheeses, unpasteurized juice, raw meat, fish, eggs.
  • Caffeine in high amounts.
  • Alcohol as it passes through breast milk.
  • Prescriptions, supplements, herbs without first consulting your doctor.

Not Skipping Follow-Up Care

Make sure to schedule and attend all recommended postpartum follow-up visits to monitor recovery. This includes:

  • Seeing your doctor within the first 1-2 weeks after delivery.
  • Having any C-section incision checked.
  • Getting screened for postpartum depression.
  • Having any physical therapy or pelvic floor assessments.
  • Following vaccination schedules for you and baby.

Not Ignoring Warning Signs

Seek prompt medical care if experiencing any of the following warning signs:

  • Fever over 100.4°F.
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding soaking more than one pad per hour.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • Severe pain or burning with urination.
  • Increased pain or swelling at incision sites.
  • Difficulty breathing, chest pain, coughing up blood.
  • Swollen or painful legs.
  • Dizziness, blurred vision, severe headaches.
  • Severe abdominal pain.

Avoiding Strenuous Activity Too Soon

Your body needs adequate time to recover after the physical demands of labor and delivery. Avoid activity that is too strenuous too soon.

  • Do not exercise other than light walking until cleared by doctor, usually 4-6 weeks.
  • Do not have sexual intercourse for minimum 6 weeks.
  • Do not drive for 1-2 weeks after vaginal delivery or 4-6 weeks after a C-section.
  • Do not resume intense ab and core workouts for 3 months postpartum.
  • Listen to your body and rest when needed.

Not Taking on Too Much

It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and not take on too much while recovering. To avoid burnout:

  • Accept help from loved ones with chores, errands, and baby care.
  • Prioritize rest when baby is sleeping.
  • Let less important tasks wait until you’ve recovered.
  • Take time for self-care like healthy food, showering, and fresh air.
  • Don’t feel pressured to always entertain guests or have a spotless house.

Avoiding Stress and Emotional Turmoil

Your emotions may be on a rollercoaster ride after giving birth due to hormonal shifts. Be mindful about minimizing stress:

  • Speak up if feeling sad, anxious, or depressed so you can get support.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself as a new mom.
  • Take time to reconnect with your partner.
  • Spend time doing things unrelated to the baby that you enjoy.
  • Do relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, or massage.
  • Join a new moms support group.

Not Smoking or Drinking Alcohol

It’s important not to smoke or consume alcohol while recovering postpartum. Reasons to avoid these include:

  • Smoking slows healing for incisions, episiotomies, and other tissue trauma from birth.
  • Secondhand smoke is dangerous for newborns.
  • Alcohol is transferred through breastmilk to the baby.
  • Alcohol can interact with medications you may be taking.
  • Alcohol can increase risk of postpartum depression.


The postpartum period after giving birth requires special care for new mothers both physically and emotionally. While it can be tempting to jump right back into regular activity, avoiding things like infections, blood clots, strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, and emotional stress can promote healing and recovery. Pay close attention to your body, focus on your new baby, and don’t hesitate to ask for help – these are key to staying healthy after delivery.