Six Reasons it's Important to Keep your 6-Week Postpartum Appointment

Six Reasons it's Important to Keep your 6-Week Postpartum Appointment

The postpartum appointment is often dismissed as unimportant, but nothing could be further from the truth. The postpartum visit is critical to ensure that the new mom is healing from the birth, and recovering in general, both physically and emotionally. Nearly every bodily function is affected by pregnancy. Postpartum check-ups give your doctor an opportunity to ensure that everything is returning to normal.

It's also a chance to discuss any concerns you have about your health, recovery, birth control, or plans for future pregnancies. "Postpartum care is an often neglected aspect of pregnancy. It's important that providers assess health after delivery, and assist with depression screenings and contraception education for new mothers," says Dr. Miu, CBHA physician.

Postpartum visits generally take place around 6 weeks after delivery.

Six Reasons Your Postpartum Appointment Matters:

  • Your doctor will be making sure that you are healing as expected. By 6 weeks postpartum, your uterus should also have returned to its normal size – about the size of a grapefruit. If you are due for a pelvic exam, or if you had a complicated delivery or episiotomy, you can expect a pelvic exam.
  • Pregnancy takes a toll on the bladder and intestines, as well as the rest of the body, so your doctor will want to ensure that these vital organs back to their pre-pregnancy condition as well.
  • If you are breastfeeding, your doctor will likely perform a breast exam. Mastitis, an infection of a milk duct, is common in nursing mothers and can be extremely painful.
  • If you or your baby are having any breastfeeding challenges, this is an excellent time to mention those concerns. CBHA's lactation specialist can help you address these issues and optimize a successful breastfeeding experience. While breastfeeding for at least the first six months provides optimal nutrition and important antibodies for your baby, not everyone is able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons ranging from milk supply to baby's ability to latch on or get enough milk. Your doctor understands this, so it's important to be forthcoming about your experience, and remember that how you feed your baby is not a reflection of the kind of mother you are.
  • The postpartum visit is also the time that you may be given the green light to resume sex or exercise. Your doctor will want to talk about future pregnancies, planning for a family, and birth control options, so that you can fully recover from pregnancy and enjoy your baby before another is on the way.
  • Your physical health isn't the only thing your doctor will be interested in. As many as one in seven women experience postpartum depression after their baby is born, and it can be debilitating for new moms. Symptoms of postpartum depression include overwhelming or persistent sadness, frequent crying, excessive anxiety or concern for your baby or yourself, panic attacks, irritability, and lack of motivation or desire to do the things you once enjoyed.

"It is very important to know that moms are doing okay. It takes 6-8 weeks for your physiology to start to go back to normal. Many women experience postpartum depression, so it is critical to be honest with your provider so you can get the best help possible," says Dr. Prada, CBHA physician.

Fortunately, with proper screening, postpartum depression can be diagnosed and treated, so that you can feel more like yourself, enjoy your new baby, and be the best parent you can be.