Every new mother should undergo a postpartum check-up. This is a basic medical check-up you need to undergo after pregnancy. This normally happens around 6 weeks after giving birth to your child. Postpartum checkups are very critical for both you and your child. This checkup will make sure whether you are recovering in a proper manner.
Postpartum checkup is required, even if you think that you are okay. It comprises of an important part in the overall care you should take post pregnancy. Mostly this visit is covered by your health insurance. That is why you check with your health insurer, before paying the doctor a visit for this check-up.
In case of c-section delivery, your physician might schedule a checkup after two weeks, instead of six weeks. This is to ensure that your cut is healing properly. The cut is generally made in the belly and the uterus. However, in most cases the wound heals on its own. But in some cases infection occurs. That is why it is important that you go for a postpartum checkup.
Things That Happen at a Postpartum Checkup:
There are many things and discussions which happen during a postpartum checkup. This checkup is a very critical stage where you gain much clarity about the different questions you might have, as a new mother.
The following are the things that might happen during a postpartum checkup:
Discussion about Birth Control
You can finally talk about the use of birth control and your future sex life, with your physician. For many of you, this will be the first checkup marking your no-sex spell. Both your partner and you will be unaware of the consequences of having sexual intercourse. Also you can discuss about the possible contraceptives now, you can use so that you do not get pregnant again.
For instance, if you were already using contraceptive pills then your doctor might suggest progesterone-only “minipill”, in case you are breastfeeding. Also if you are using diaphragms then you must get it refitted.
The discussion can also include aspects like future family planning and your overall reproductive health.
Read More: 21 Common Birth Control Pill Side Effects
Talk About Your Mental Health
Postpartum depression is a very common problem. It is also treatable. In this postpartum check-up you can talk about the status of your mental health. You can specifically discuss whether or not you are feeling depressed.
The doctor might even suggest you strategies on how you can again form a bond with your child. However, you should not suppress anything from your doctor. Your postpartum visit is one of the major chances you have to reveal your true problems.
Being honest with your doctor is the best way to know if you have any problems. They are the best people to guide you along recovery. Your doctor can also recommend counsellors or support groups, in case you need them. Don’t feel ashamed, you are not alone.
Get your post-pregnancy body checked
Postpartum body check-up is very important. Your doctor will examine whether your uterus is getting back to its pre-pregnancy dimensions. He or she will also make sure that your C-section incision is healing properly.
Your thyroid gland is also another area that your doctor is likely to examine. During pregnancy, this gland works overtime to produce the hormones. Your doctor will check whether it has become oversized.
You can also tell your doctor if you are experiencing sysmptoms like constipation, or incontinence. Your post pregnancy check up is very important for you. This will help you understand if your body is ready for lifting heavy objects, exercising, and driving.
Discuss your medication
During pregnancy, you may have had to change some of your medication. The first check up is a good time to ask your doctor, if you can go back to your old medication. If you have any chronic condition, now is the best time to discuss your medication.
Your doctor can also ask you to take some additional medication, for treating any possible post-pregnancy issues. If you are planning to continue to breastfeed, you can ask for recommended changes in medication.
If you have a history of postpartum depression in your family, your doctor can suggest proper medication to help prevent this.
Any dietary changes
Depending on the findings of your check up, your doctor might recommend some dietary changes. You can ask if you need any supplements such as iron or calcium. It is more important, if you are nursing. If you have a history of pregancy related illness, your doctor might ask you to get checked for them post pregnancy.
Conditions such as gestational diabetes, may require changes in your diet. Now is a good time to ask which foods you can safely consume. If you are nursing your baby, you need to be aware of the side effects your food may have on your baby.
You will get your annual check up
The post partum check up counts as your annual gynecological exam. Expect your doctor to conduct all the routine tests including:
- Pelvic exam (including Pap Smear)
- Weight check
- Blood pressure
- Breast check (for masses and lumps)
These are routine exams, and will help your doctor determine whether you need any supplements. He may also suggest possible medication.
Don’t avoid going for your postpartum check up. Your body has just gone through some major changes. It is very important to see your doctor, and know whether you are recovering duly. If you are nursing, you need to be aware of your health issues, if any. This way you can help prevent it from getting passed on to your baby.
Remember, you need to be healthy yourself, to raise a healthy baby. The best way to make sure you are on track, is to go for the postpartum check up. If there are any concerns, your doctor will be able to treat them, before it is too late.
A timely check up will help you understand your health better. Once you get the green signal, you can easily resume the usual tasks that you did before the pregnancy.