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Postpartum Checkup

Your doctor or health care provider will probably want to see you about six weeks after you deliver to make sure you're recovering well - physically and emotionally. If you had a c-section, your doctor may ask to see you about two weeks after you deliver to make sure your incision is healing properly, and then again at six weeks.

At your six week postpartum checkup, your doctor will perform a complete physical and ask you questions about your recovery and your baby; this is also a good time to ask your doctor any questions you have about your recovery, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, formula feeding or anything else that's on your mind.

The following are part of a standard postpartum checkup:

Weight and blood pressure - Your doctor will weigh you and check that your blood pressure is back to normal.

Breasts and abdomen - Your uterus should have returned to its normal size by six weeks postpartum, even though your stomach muscles may still feel slack. Your doctor will also feel your abdomen to check for tenderness and your breasts for lumps or abnormal nipple discharge. If you are breastfeeding, he or she will make sure you don't have any clogged ducts or the beginnings of a breast infection (mastitis).

Perineum and internal exam - Your doctor will check to be sure your perineum is healing if you had an episiotomy or tore during delivery. During the internal exam, he or she will also check to make sure any bruises, scratches, or tears to your cervix or vagina are healing properly. He or she will also feel your ovaries and check your vaginal muscle tone.

Discuss sex and contraception - Your doctor will probably give you the go-ahead to resume sex if you are healing well. If you have already started having sex again, let your practitioner know if you are experiencing any pain or lack of lubrication. He or she will probably discuss methods of contraception with you as well. Remember that even if you are breastfeeding and haven't had a period, you can still conceive. Another good reason to discuss contraception now is because many women find they prefer a different type of birth control after they've had a baby, or a new method may have been released since they got pregnant. In addition, certain types of birth control, such as barrier methods, need to be checked for fit since your cervix may have changed size after a vaginal delivery.

Discuss any concerns - He or she will probably ask you how you are adjusting to motherhood, how you are feeling overall, how the baby is doing, and if you are experiencing any postpartum depression. This is a good time to bring up any questions or concerns you have that he or she hasn't addressed.

Lab tests - If you were anemic during your pregnancy or experienced excessive blood loss during or after childbirth, your practitioner may have your blood tested. He or she may also perform a Pap smear at this visit.

It's important that you make and keep a six-week postpartum appointment with your doctor. Consider it a good excuse to get out of the house and to treat yourself to a pedicure, a massage, or a relaxing hour at your favorite café after the appointment.



Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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