So you’ve had a baby (congrats!) and you might feel like your days at the doctors office are coming to end… but you still have one more appointment – your postpartum maternity checkup!
In addition to the sweetest snuggles you can imagine, navigating middle of the night feedings, and trying to figure out how to pee after having a baby without crying, you might also be wondering what to expect at your postpartum maternity checkup. You’re in full postpartum recovery mode, and your check up is an important part of that!
I know it sounds crazy, but I was really nervous to see the doctor postpartum. I think just because emotions are all crazy and everything was still really sore, and you just want them to tell you everything is perfect with your baby and perfect with you but you’re a little worried they won’t…
What I’m trying to say is, if you feel nervous about your postpartum maternity check up, you’re probably normal.
First things first: It’ll be okay. You’ve got this. You might not feel like it, but you do.
And even if you don’t, it’ll be okay. Really. Most of what’s going on in your head right now is just crazy hormones!
But knowing what to expect at your postpartum maternity checkup will help you feel better about it. Check out this list for putting together your postpartum care kit for things to have on hand and help you those first days.
When should you have a postpartum pregnancy checkup?
Your doctor should tell you when to schedule one – and if she doesn’t, ASK HER – before you leave the hospital!
You may or may not have a two-week postpartum checkup after having a baby. But you’ll most assuredly have one somewhere before two months have passed, most likely at the six week mark.
I personally like to remember that I pay (or the government pays, here in Canada, with my tax money) for the Doctor to talk to me, meaning he works for me… so if I want to see the doctor as soon as one week or even three days postpartum – if I feel like I need to, I WILL!
What To Expect At Your Postpartum Maternity Checkup
So what exactly is going to happen at your next postpartum checkup?
You’ve probably gotten to know the staff at your OBGYN’s office pretty well by now. After all you were there monthly…and then every other week…and then weekly.
And now? Well, all that’s coming to an end because you’ve got your little baby in your arms instead of in your tummy. But there are still a few questions you need to consider and a few things you doctor will want to check out.
You and your doctor (and your newborn) will have a nice, simple visit. They may or may not have to do follow up labs; it all depends on how you’re doing and if they’ve seen you since the birth.
You’ll get answers to your questions (if you ask them…so come prepared to ask!) and you’ll answer some questions, too. Your doctor is going to want to know how you are healing physically and emotionally.
He will likely examine you, especially if you’ve had a lot of damage “downstairs” during childbirth. I was really nervous about this, because everything was sore… but don’t worry. It seems like they get that. Your doctor is not planning to cause you unnecessary pain. (And more than likely, he won’t do anything that will be painful at all!)
Most of your visit will be focused on your questions.
Having a baby impacts your entire life, so even seemingly unrelated questions are good to ask here. You’d be surprised what some mamas wonder and worry about…and if you’re one of them, let your OBGYN help put you at ease.
No question is too small and your doctor’s probably used to answering them all, anyhow. Most new moms have some similar questions. So let’s look at a few:
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor…I don’t even pretend to be one on T.V. So these are just some thoughts from another mom. Always consult your physician and do your own research!
Could You Have The Baby Blues Or Postpartum Depression?
Talk to your doctor about any feelings and mood swings you’re having.
Are you bursting into tears rather easily these days? Feeling down about life? Having a hard time finding your new normal?
That’s normal. But sometimes those are hints that more is going on.
Is your baby’s crying driving you crazy? Are you having a hard time bonding with your wee one? Does something seem “off”, even though you can’t put your finger on it?
Don’t wait for your postpartum checkup to follow up on these feelings. Call your OBGYN right away. They are ready and waiting to help you through this transition.
How Is Breastfeeding Going (if you are trying it)?
Your doctor will also ask you about your nursing experience at your postpartum check up.
Sore nipples? Tell them! (And check out this cream!)
Itchy nipples? Definitely mention it; it might be thrush.
Any other questions? If they can’t help, they’ll help you get the answers you need.
One thing to note is that we need to trust our mama instincts. While I totally 100% believe most doctors know a lot about breastfeeding, if it’s just not going the way you want it to, seek the advice of a lactation consultant.
How Should I Handle Constipation Postpartum?
Postpartum constipation is evil. It’s so uncomfortable.
But it’s a thing many of us go through.
This is more normal the first two weeks after you have the baby, and if you’re having challenges, don’t be afraid to ask for an early check up and just go back again at 6 weeks.
You’ll likely be advised to drink a lot of water, eat well (read: lots of fiber and real foods), don’t strain too hard (you’ve already pushed a lot to get baby here, after all, and your body is tender!), and treat any hemorrhoids you might have.
In fact, do these things before you battle constipation and chances are you might not.
How Long Should You Wait To Have Sex After Giving Birth?
Your doctor can give you the physical guidelines for that, but only you know your body.
The quick answer is: when you’re ready and when you’re healed. Most likely that will be 6-8 weeks postpartum, but every birth is unique and each body heals differently.
(Check out this Guide To Postpartum Sex to answer more questions about this.)
How Soon After Giving Birth Can You Get Pregnant?
So, are you gambler? Because you two choices here: trust nature or take matters into your own hands.
You can get pregnant even before you have your first postpartum period, but it’s not as likely if you’re exclusively breastfeeding on demand and haven’t gotten your cycle back yet. But it’s also not impossible. (Says the women who DID get pregnant while breastfeeding at only 9 months postpartum. Yup. It was about as shocking as it sounds. lol)
There are a lot of siblings out there with birthdays less than a year apart because you can indeed get pregnant pretty quickly.
Can I Exercise Yet?
Start with a walk and take it easy. Your body is still recovering.
Listen, mommy, it took 40 weeks to get in this shape and it might take 40 weeks to get back to what it was before you had your baby.
And it might take longer.
That’s okay. Don’t jump in too fast. You could get dizzy, light headed, pull something that doesn’t need pulling, tear things that need to stay together, or strain muscles that are supposed to be resting.
Wait until you get the A-okay from your doctor at your postpartum check up before you jump into anything heavier than a nice walk with your baby.
Ask Any Other Questions You Have About Your Postpartum Body
Do you have any other questions about your body after having a baby? Your postpartum checkup is the time to ask them!
Be sure to jot down any questions as you think of them, because the lack of sleep, hormone shifts, and just getting used to having a new baby can wreak havoc with your memory.
And don’t feel silly or nervous to pull out your phone and open up that list you’ve had typed up in your memos or pull that handwritten sheet out of your purse. Your doctor will appreciate your preparedness.