Postpartum Care

The postpartum period is a time of rapid change for your body. It worked hard during pregnancy and will continue to work hard over the next 6-8 weeks.

The uterus, which was the size of a watermelon, shrinks to just below your navel after delivery and by 6 weeks postpartum, it only weighs 2 ounces. This section will discuss the many changes that occur during the weeks after birth and what to expect during your stay on the Mother/Baby unit. Please remember that whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C section, delivering a baby is very tiring. Most women have also had some medication during and after delivery that can make it unsafe to get up or take care of your baby for awhile after receiving this medication. The Mother/Baby staff is there to assist you and provide a safe childbirth experience, so please let us know how we can best assist you and meet your needs.

After arrival to your room on the Mother/Baby unit on 3 East, the nurse will perform a health assessment and discuss guidelines for baby care. Staff members will assist you, care for your baby and answer any questions you have. Your baby will stay in the room with you. This is very important to both of you because research has shown that early and constant contact between mothers and their babies promotes bonding, breastfeeding, and overall improves this very important relationship you will have for a lifetime.

Our policy is to allow one family member to stay in the room with you and your baby. A day bed and linens will be provided. There are private showers and bathrooms in each private postpartum room. You will get a daily menu selection card to choose meals while you are in the hospital. Your family members may purchase food in the Spice of Life Café on the first floor. Local phone calls are free. Just dial 21 to get an outside line, then your number.

For You & Your Babies Security

Security for you and your infant is very important to us. We have an infant security system in place and Labor and Delivery, the Mother/Baby unit and the NICU are all locked units. Visitors must use a phone to enter all these units, located on the wall near the entry doors. Upon entering the Mother/Baby unit, visitors must sign in at the nurse’s station before entering a patient room. Staff members who are authorized to care for and transport your baby have special identification cardsattached to their name badges. Your nurse will discuss this with you when you are admitted. Do not allow anyone to take your baby unless they have this identification! Always question anyone that is on the unit that doesn’t seem to have a reason to be there. Please do not walk your baby in the hallway or allow family members to do this. For safety it is best to ask your nurse to transport the baby to the small nursery for a short while, if you need rest.

The days following delivery can be extremely busy. A variety of team members will be in and out of your room. They include the Mother/Baby Unit staff, the obstetrics, pediatrics, and anesthesia team, an audiology or hearing screen representative, and employees from dietary and the lab. You will also see a birth certificate representative, a care management team member, and the “Baby Photo” staff. Remember, we are an academic medical center for OB/GYN Residents and they may be involved in your care on the Mother/Baby Unit. 

Please let your nurse know if interruptions are too frequent or you cannot get rest. Having a baby is very tiring and we encourage rest and relaxation during this time.

Just as the rooms in Labor/Delivery, your nurse carries a cell phone which allows you to call her at any time. There is a white board in your room on this unit too, where your nurse will post her phone number, her name and the name of the certified nursing assistant assigned to your care. We want to know what you named the baby and all the important birth information for this board! The Mother/Baby nurses also give report on your care to each other in your room when possible. Remember to ask your questions at any time during your stay. 

You can expect to be in the hospital about 48 hours after a vaginal delivery. We will ask you to watch educational films that discuss postpartum and infant care before you are discharged. You must have a car seat, which meets Tennessee state requirements available, before we can discharge your baby. Remember, you need to have a baby outfit and blanket for the ride home.

Contact Us: Important Numbers

Use the following numbers to find out more about pregnancy and childbirth services at UT Medical Center.

  • Admissions Office - 865.305.6000
  • Birth Certificate Information - 865.305.9750
  • Breastfeeding (lactation) services - 865.305.9337
  • Childbirth Education - 865.305.9300
  • Development & Genetic Services - 865.305.9030
  • High-risk Obstetrics - 865.305.9300
  • Lactation Consultants - 865.305.9337
  • Tours of the Birthing Center - 865.305.9300
  • General Information: 865.305.9000
  • Labor & Delivery Information - 865.305.9830
  • Mother/Baby Nurses Station - 865.305.9831
  • Triage (OB Emergency) - 865.305.9587
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - 865.305.9834