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When to get medical help after the birth

It is normal to feel sore or tender after giving birth. There are some things you should look out for after giving birth, as you may need medical help.

Emergency action required: Call 999 or 112 if:

you are bleeding from your vagina after the birth and:

  • the bleeding suddenly gets heavier
  • you feel faint, dizzy or have a pounding heart

This could mean you're having a very heavy bleed (postpartum haemorrhage) and need emergency treatment.

Urgent advice: Contact your GP, public health nurse (PHN) or midwife immediately if you have:

  • heavy bleeding or large clots coming from your vagina, feeling dizzy or weak - these can be signs of postpartum haemorrhage
  • discharge or bleeding from your vagina that smells bad or unusual for you - this could be a sign of infection
  • pain in your tummy, especially if it is severe - this can be a sign of infection
  • a fever, especially if your temperature is over 38 degrees Celsius
  • any problems with a wound or stitches, such as redness around the wound, pus coming out of the wound, or if the wound seems to be opening
  • headache, blurred vision or vomiting - these can be signs of pre-eclampsia
  • pain when you pee, peeing more often or smelly urine - these can be signs of a urinary tract infection
  • problems controlling your pee or poo for more than 6 weeks after the birth

You should also contact your GP, midwife or PHN if you:

If you have any thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, contact your GP immediately. Thoughts of harming the baby are very distressing. They can happen if you have postnatal depression and this can be treated.

Page last reviewed: 18 January 2023
Next review due: 18 January 2026