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
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.