Labor and Delivery

Labor and Delivery Patient Information

Labor and Delivery

  • A New Mom Guide - Planning for Your Baby

    This patient guide covers a variety of important health topics and information for moms-to-be. It will also provide you with tips that will help you plan for your baby’s needs throughout the pregnancy and what to expect when the baby arrives.

    Each mother-to-be experiences pregnancy and the process of birth differently. It is beneficial for you and your baby to learn as much as you can about your pregnancy and how to keep you and your baby healthy and safe.
    Image of New Mom guide
    Each birth is unique and personal. It is our commitment to care for others as we would care for our family. Along with providing exceptional care, we work hard to make sure this very special time in your life—pregnancy, delivery and beyond—is positive and memorable for you, your baby and your family.

    View and download the New Mom Patient Guide.

    For Spanish, click here.

  • Care After Cesarean Birth

    Place pillow over incision when moving or coughing. Wear binder for comfort and support. Continue deep breathing with incentive Spiro meter 10 times every hour when awake to prevent respiratory problems. Watch abdominal incision for signs of infection (pus, redness, increased pain or fever).

    Wash incision site daily with plain soap and water and pat dry. You may place a peri-pad over the site to absorb moisture and prevent staples fro snagging on clothing.

  • Care of Breasts

    Use clean nursing pads inside your bra to absorb any nipple leakage. Don't use soap on the nipple area because it is drying and may cause your nipples to crack. If taking medications and you are unsure if it is compatible with breast-feeding, contact your pediatrician.

    For Comfort and Healing

    • Wear a firm supportive bra
    • Wash breasts daily with clear water and allow to air dry
    • Rinse nipples with a wet washcloth before and after breast-feeding
  • Care of the Vaginal Area

    Vaginal Bleeding: You will have a bloody discharge (Lochia) immediately after delivery that will turn pinkish and become white or yellowish over time. Lochia may last up to six weeks but should be less bloody after two weeks.

    • Use pads only and change frequently
    • Continue to massage uterus every couple of hours (occasionally you may pass small blood clots that are golf ball size or smaller)
    • Keep bladder empty to help minimize bleeding and enable the uterus to shrink back to normal size.

    Prevention of Genital Tact Infections: practice genital hygiene and always wipe front to back and avoid colored or scented toilet paper.

    General area care:

    • Use condoms
    • Choose cotton crotch underwear
    • If sensitive, discontinue use of feminine hygiene deodorant sprays
    • Avoid tight fitting clothing (especially jeans)
    • Empty bladder before and after sex
    • Avoid douching
    • Decrease sugar intake
    • Take showers instead of baths

    Kegel Exercises: Kegel exercises are simply tightening your pelvic floor muscles. To identify these muscles, pretend as if you are trying to start and stop a stream of urine. Do 10-20 Kegels several times per day. These exercises will increase blood flow to the perineum, promote healing and strengthen the vaginal walls. Kegel exercises will also help prevent urine leaking when you sneeze, cough or laugh.

  • Consult Your Doctor

    If you experience any of the following:

    • Fever 100.4 or above
    • Increased pain, swelling, tenderness, or discharge from the episiotomies or cesarean incision
    • Soaking through more than one sanitary pad per hour for several hours
    • Tender, warm or redden breasts with cracked bleeding nipples
    • Post-partum blues lasting more than 2 weeks
    • Any other unusual problems
  • Episiotomy Care

    An episiotomy is an incision made between the vagina and rectum during childbirth. After delivery, the physician will stitch the incision together. The stitches will dissolve on their own in about 10 days.

    During the first 24 hours of healing, a cloth-covered ice pack should be used to reduce swelling.

    To lessen the sting as you urinate, use a squirt bottle filled with warm water, or a water betadine mixture on the vaginal and rectal area. Refill the bottle with clear water and squirt again. (this will dilute the urine and lessen the discomfort). Pat the area front to back or allow to air dry (this will reduce the spread of germs from the rectum into the vaginal areas).

    A topical numbing spray, such as Dermoplast may be used for comfort.

    Perform Kegel exercise often to increase blood flow to the perineum and promote healing of the incision.

  • Nutrition, Activity & Exercise

    Eat a well balanced diet that is high in protein and includes whole grains, raw fruit and vegetable to prevent constipation. Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine intake. Limit intake of excessively salty foods such as, luncheon meats, potato chips, pickles, sauerkraut, canned soups, etc.

    Balance rest periods with activity. Get as much sleep as possible at night and take frequent rest periods or naps during the day. Check with your doctor before you resume exercising.

  • Resources

    Helpful information will be provided to you when you are discharged. Additional resources are listed below:

    • La Leche League 1-800-5258-3243 (24 hours) or
    • National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Human Services Organizations
    • National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting and Prevention
    • The Online Postpartum Depression Support Group
    • National Domestic Violence and Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
  • Resumption of Sexual Intercourse

    You can safely resume sexual intercourse in four to six weeks after birth when bleeding has stopped and the episiotomy has healed (unless otherwise contraindicated by your doctor). Your physiologic reactions to sexual stimulation may be slower and less intense for the first few months after birth. This is normal and usually resolves with time.

    The vagina does not lubricate well for the first six months after birth and a water-soluble gel, contraceptive cream, or lubricant jelly might be recommended.

    Perform Kegel exercises regularly to strengthen the vaginal walls.


    Breast-feeding isn't a reliable method of contraception. Discuss birth control options with your doctor during you postpartum checkup.

  • To help relieve gas pains
    • Walk as often as possible
    • Do not eat or drink gas-forming foods such as carbonated drinks or whole milk
    • Do not drink through a straw; this increases the intake of air into the stomach
    • Lie on your left side to expel gas
    • Rock in rocking chair
In the Health Blog
brunette female patient in hospital gown laying in bed with baby on her chest with a blanket around baby and a nurses gloved hand on baby's back. another hand is near mom's head for support

Nurses take action by advocating for maternal mental health awareness

Clinicians at UTMB Health are working to shine light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, to help moms understand the feelings they may encounter throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Our Locations