Having a baby is a lot of work for your body and it takes time for things to return to normal and for your body to heal from the effects of labor and delivery. Your doctor will want to check up on you again a few weeks after you deliver to make sure everything is OK.
If you had a normal vaginal or cesarean delivery you will likely see your doctor about six weeks postpartum. This visit is necessary so your doctor can make sure that you are healing well, everything is returning to normal with your body, and emotionally you are doing OK. When your doctor wants to see you back in his or her office may vary, particularly if you need stitches or staples removed or you had any complications with your delivery. On average though you can expect to be back in the doctor’s office four to six weeks after your baby is born.
At this postpartum visit you can expect a few things. Of course, just like with your prenatal visits, your doctor may do things a little differently or you may need something different because of a special circumstance either with your delivery or your postpartum recovery. The typical postpartum follow up appointment will include:
- Your doctor will ask you several questions about your postpartum recovery including:
- how long after delivery you experienced vaginal bleeding
- if you are still having any kind of vaginal discharge
- if you are still experiencing any discomfort in you vaginal or rectum area (this can be particularly important if you had a tear or an episiotomy)
- if you are feeling OK emotionally (he/she is checking for signs of postpartum depression)
- determine if you have any questions about your postpartum recovery
- Your doctor will examine you to ensure that your uterus is returning to its normal size and that your cervix has healed. This will involve an internal examine.
- If you had a tear or an episiotomy your doctor will examine that as well to make sure it is healing well. If any stitches remain he/she may cut those out, they are designed to dissolve but if they aren’t buried well enough in the skin they may not.
- Your doctor will examine your breasts to check for any signs of clogged milk ducts, infections, or other problems common in breastfeeding moms.
- At this appointment your doctor will discuss with you whether it is OK to begin having sexual intercourse again or not. If your tear/episiotomy is still healing you may need to wait a little while longer, but otherwise it is typically OK to begin having sex again after six weeks. Your doctor will discuss what forms of birth control are OK at this point.
- If you delivered by cesarean section your visit will be similar to that of a woman who delivered vaginally, of course the incision for your cesarean will be examined as well.
If you have questions or concerns about anything this is the time to talk to your doctor about them as it may be a while before you are back in his or her office. If you are feeling sad or depressed don’t be afraid to say so. Your doctor is there to help you and will be able to work with you to control any postpartum depression you may be suffering. If you feel like you need to see your doctor sooner than planned call his or her office.