After spending weeks getting to know your baby, as well as your new self the time rolls around to visit your doctor for the 6-week postpartum check-up. This appointment is one of the most essential ones for new mothers because it is when the doctor will make sure you’ve recovered properly and whether or not you can resume all activities normally.
What happens at the Postpartum check-up?
Depending on your medical practitioner and their procedures, the check-up process may vary. However, in most cases, the first thing that you will be asked to do is to fill out a questionnaire that will help give the doctor a better understanding of the situation before they go through with the check-up.
Overall, you can expect that some of the questions that you will be asked in the questionnaire are related to general mental health, well-being, contraception, and where you stand physically from what you can tell.
Such as vaginal discharge, bleeding, periods, and similar.
In the physical aspect of the check-up, the doctor will check your blood pressure, weight, listen to your lungs, and look into any other areas that might be concerning. In addition to all that, you’ll be offered an examination to see if your stitches have healed and cervical screening.
What to Tell Your Doctor
Apart from the questions that your doctor should be asking, make sure to speak up about your own experience during the 6-weeks after birth.
No mother handles postpartum exactly the same so if you’re experiencing anything that might not feel ‘normal’ to you, make sure to let your doctor know.
Fact is, a short questionnaire and simple check-up procedure are not enough for your doctor to get a clear picture of how you’re healing. It’s not always easy taking care of your baby and yourself. At times it can be very overwhelming, especially if you’re experiencing other complications such as struggling to hold in your pee, painful sex, mood swings, and similar.
Your doctor is here to help you, so if they aren’t mentioning certain topics themselves, make sure to address the issue.
Point it out in your own words or even in the form of a question. Some essential questions that you should be asking your doctor are the following:
- Were there any issues with my delivery that I should know about?
- Is my bleeding normal?
- When is it okay to have sex again?
- Is experiencing pain during sex normal?
- What should I be doing about birth control?
- Do I have my vaccines, and which ones should I get?
- Is it normal to be constipated?
What You Can Expect 6-Weeks Postpartum
In order for your doctor to understand what is going on it can also be helpful for you to understand what is happening with your body and mind during these first few weeks postpartum.
The same way your hormones started to change as soon as you got pregnant, your hormones will immediately alter as soon as you give birth.
You may not notice it the first few days due to the intense feelings of joy and amazement, otherwise known as oxytocin. However, after a few days pass, your hormones will start to adjust to the new changes in the body.
Some of the most noticeable changes in hormones are that progesterone and estrogen decrease when the baby and placenta are delivered, oxytocin will also decline due to those two hormones. On the other hand, prolactin will rise in order to stimulate milk production.
The most evident symptoms of these fluctuating hormones are that you might notice a lack of desire for daily activities.
Some of those activities include:
- not wanting to keep up with your hygiene
- avoiding people and events
- not being able to fully fall asleep
- lack of appetite
- not trusting others with your baby.
While these symptoms are completely normal for new mothers to go through, if presenting often, they can be one of the first signs of postpartum depression. It is always good to mention them at the check-up to make sure that your doctor takes a closer look at your overall health and offers help if needed.
The six-week mark is when most mothers go in for their first appointment after giving birth. This check is to make sure that you are healing properly. It is also performed to determine if you are ready to get back to activities as usual. During this appointment, the doctor will follow through with a physical and physiological exam. The doctor will ask about your mental health and conduct a general physical check-up. It includes taking your blood pressure, checking your weight, and such. Although they will cover a decent amount of topics, make sure to bring up any questions or concerns that you may have. Understanding what is happening with your body during this time can help you and your doctor during the examination.