When to Call the Physician

Don't feel like you're overreacting

After the birth of your baby, your body goes through a multitude of changes. For newborn babies, adapting to their new environment may be complicated.

You should call a physician when you or the baby experiences an illness or abnormal reactions, including:


  • A fever — body temperature reaching more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • A sharp pain or a pain occurring for a prolonged period in your stomach or the portion of the body between the rectum and the vagina
  • An incision that swells, drains or is painful
  • A foul-smelling discharge or drainage from the vagina
  • Excessive vaginal bleeding — soaking one or more sanitary pads in an hour
  • Baseball-size blood clots coming from the vagina
  • Pain in your breasts or cracked nipples
  • Any discomfort or pain that makes caring for your baby difficult
  • Any problems or concerns that are difficult to cope with or resolve


  • A rash that does not clear up
  • A fever — body temperature reaching more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Signs of dehydration — dry tongue, sunken eyes or dark urine
  • Fewer than six wet diapers per day and no bowel movement within 48 hours
  • Difficulty eating, lack of or change in appetite, or frequent vomiting.
  • Note: Eating issues should not occur for more than one day.


Jaundice is a yellowish skin pigmentation and darkening of the whites of the eyes that occurs when excess bilirubin — a reddish-yellow water-insoluble pigment — builds up in the bile or blood. Bilirubin, produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells, passes through the liver and is excreted as bile through the intestines.

If you notice that the signs of jaundice are not lessening in severity within 24 hours after arriving home, or that your baby has excess yellow color of the skin, you must contact your healthcare provider. If not treated, jaundice can cause deafness, cerebral palsy or other forms of brain damage in some babies. Common in healthy newborns, jaundice is easily treatable if identified early.