Why do I need a postpartum medical visit?
Most clinicians suggest scheduling a postpartum visit four to six weeks after your delivery. If you’ve had a Cesarean section, you may need an additional visit soon after your delivery to check how your incision is healing.
There are multiple purposes of your postpartum visit. In addition to giving you the chance to show off your new infant, this check-up allows your health care provider to see how you are healing. You will be examined to see that your uterus has returned to close to its prepregnancy size, your cervix has closed and your bleeding is gone or greatly diminished. An episiotomy or laceration should be healing well by this point, and if you had a Cesarean section, your incision should be strong enough to allow you to resume exercise. In addition to your pelvic exam, you may also have a breast exam. You should be accustomed to breastfeeding by now, so any unusual problems or difficulties should be discussed.
This visit is also a time to discuss how you are coping with your new role as mum. Your provider will want to hear about your adaptations to motherhood. Are you getting enough sleep? Eating a healthy diet? Getting out of the house? Exercising? Are you generally feeling positive about being a new mother, or are you feeling overwhelmed or depressed? Is your partner supportive? By discussing these topics, your health care provider may be able to link you with additional community resources to provide additional support throughout the next few months.
Finally, this exam may be the appropriate time to discuss family planning for the year ahead, obtain another pap smear and review how to perform monthly breast self-exams.
After nine months of regular obstetric visits, some women are a bit surprised to realise that there’s no longer the need for frequent visits. Since this appointment may be your last for many months, you may wish to prepare a few questions for your provider ahead of time. Think about the topics listed above and write down any concerns you’d like to discuss. While your baby’s health may seem of primary importance to you now, this visit is a reminder to focus on your own health and well-being, too.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.