Your postpartum checkup is an ideal opportunity for you to talk to your doctor about any concerns following the birth of your baby.
Any personal and emotional worries can be discussed at this appointment, from mood swings to the fear of having sex again. This checkup is to determine your physical and emotional status, and that you are adjusting well to motherhood.
What Are The Examinations To Expect?
- Your Incision or tear
If you had a cut or a tear during a vaginal delivery, the first thing on your doctor’s list would be to check that point. However, most incision or tear problems occur within 10 days of giving birth.
At any point after delivery, any unusual redness, pain, or fluid coming from a tear should be reported to your doctor. If you had a C-section, you would probably have a preliminary incision or cut checked the second week after delivery.
- Pelvic Examination
At this point, your doctor wants to make sure your reproductive organs are returning to their pre-pregnancy state.
Your doctor will also check your uterus for signs of infection or tenderness. And since this checkup counts for your annual exam, your doctor will feel your ovaries for growths and perform a test to check for abnormal cervical cells.
Your Breasts Are Important
Your breasts go through so many changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. It is important for your doctor to keep track of what is normal and what isn’t.
At this appointment, the doctor will give your breasts a thorough examination to check for abnormal changes.
- Your General Health
Pregnancy generally affects every body function you can think of, which is why it is so important to get an overall health check.
Much of this exam is just like a regular physical examination where the doctor checks your weight and blood pressure. In addition, he/she may even take your pulse or listen to your chest for your heartbeat.
- Your bladder
You will be asked if you have problems passing urine. In some cases, you may be asked to present urine samples if you have frequent urination, leaking urine, or a stinging feeling while urinating.
It would interest you to note that this is common after childbirth, so don’t feel embarrassed to mention this to your doctor.
What Questions Do You Need To Ask?
- Was there any problem with my delivery that I should know about?
While it is likely your doctor or midwife would have gone over this with you at the time of your delivery, if you have any lingering or disturbing questions, now is the time to ask.
Feeling good about your birth experience is empowering and refreshing.
- Is my bleeding normal?
By the sixth week, most women just have some light spotting from time to time.
If you are having heavy bleeding or large clots, be sure to let your doctor know.
- What can I do to stop postpartum pain?
If your postpartum cramps or pain is more than you expected or seems to be getting worse, please talk to your doctor right away.
- When can I start having sex?
You will most likely get the ‘go-ahead’ to resume having sex at your six-week postpartum visit. Keep in mind that with postpartum hormone shifts, lack of sleep, and a changing/sore body, you may have a decreased sex drive.
- How important is breastfeeding?
Breast milk is the perfect balance of nutrients for your growing baby, plus it boosts their immune system lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Breastfeeding is also great for you as it helps you burn 500 calories per day of breastfeeding, making it easier to lose the baby weight.
- What can I do to stop the constipation?
Do not forget to talk to your doctor about how to speed the return of normal bowel and bladder function.
- How can I ensure birth control?
In this appointment, you should share your contraceptive plan with your doctor so he/she can help tailor birth control measures to suit you effectively.
In the first six weeks, abstinence and/or progesterone-only methods are the best to ensure your milk supply isn’t affected. Be sure to ask about the side effects of these methods if they aren’t mentioned. These effects could range from weight gain to mood changes, to effects on breastfeeding.
9 Things You Should Report Immediately!
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain or burning during urination
- Bleeding that increases or is heavier than a normal menstrual period
- Severe pain in your lower abdomen
- Pain, swelling or tenderness in your legs
- Red streaks on your breasts or painful new lumps
- Redness, discharge or pain from abdominal incision that doesn’t subside.
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Severe depression
Other questions to ask
- When can I start exercising again?
- Do I need to take any vaccines?
- Why do I feel so exhausted?
- Will it always be like this?
- Why am I always so emotional these days?
- Will I be able to have a vaginal birth after C-section?
In summary, childbirth brings about a lot of changes in a woman’s life. These changes can be physical, emotional, or even mental.
Therefore, it is necessary to take your postpartum appointment with the doctor very important and ask all required questions in this article.
Remember, you are not alone.
- Bjorkman, S. (2020). The questions you must ask at your 6 weeks postpartum checkup. Accessed June 19th, 2020 from https://www.mother.ly/life/the-10-questions-you-must-ask-at-your-6-weeks-postpartum-checkup
- Waltman, A and Stevens, L. (2019). What to Expect at Your 6-Week Postpartum Exam. Accessed June 19th, 2020 from https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/postpartum/what-to-expect-at-your-6-week-postpartum-exam/
- Masters, M. (2020). Your Postpartum Checkups. Accessed June 19th, 2020 from https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/six-week-postpartum-checkup.aspx