Doctor, Doctor: What to expect at your first post-baby checkup
The first six weeks after your baby is born can pass in a blur. By then, you probably (mostly) have the hang of taking care of this new little person. But it's also important to remember to take care of yourself! Part of that self-care is making sure you keep up with your scheduled postpartum doctor appointment - it's absolutely crucial to make sure that your body is healing properly post-baby! Here's what you can expect at that first visit, and how you can prepare for it.
- Your doctor or midwife will perform abdominal, pelvic and breast exams. She'll want to make sure that you're healing properly after the delivery.
- He'll check your weight and height and might order tests to see if you have any new nutritional or health issues.
- Your healthcare provider will ask about your breastfeeding situation - if you are nursing, how it's going and if you have any concerns or questions. If you are having pain, they can offer suggestions for relief, and check for inflammation or mastitis.
- If you have any questions about how to care for your baby, your doctor's office should be prepared to offer advice on everything from sleeping to bathing to medications.
- She'll ask you plenty of questions about your moods, your relationship with your partner, your post-baby work plans, how you are sleeping, etc. The flood of hormones in your body after you have a baby can contribute to postpartum depression and your doctor will want to rule it out. If you're concerned about how you're feeling, or if your doctor finds reason for concern, he may perform further screening or refer you to appropriate specialists.
- Now's the time to talk about contraception. Some birth control methods shouldn't be used when you're nursing. Your doctor can offer suggestions of which ones will work for you going forward.
You'll want to be prepared with a list of questions and concerns; you might even want to consider writing them down so you don't forget to bring something up while you're at your appointment. If you're experiencing heavy bleeding, severe pelvic discomfort, incontinence or painful urination, breast pain, depression or extreme fatigue, be sure to mention those symptoms to your doctor.