Mums usually experience worry, pain, exhaustion, and other issues in the weeks following their baby’s birth. You are not alone if you are facing difficulties.
OB-Gynaecologists can assist mothers with these issues after giving birth. Do not be embarrassed to seek assistance since you and your family will benefit from treatment and care on your first postnatal check-up.
What Is a Postpartum Check Up
Postpartum checkup with an OB-gynaecologist is an important way to ensure that new mothers stay healthy. A postpartum checkup is a visit with your doctor or midwife following the birth of your baby to see how you’re doing physically, mentally, and emotionally.
This crucial “fourth trimester”—the time after delivery when a new mum’s health is at its finest—is an opportunity to set the foundation for a new mum’s best health now and in the future.
OB-GYNs and mothers can address concerns early with postpartum checks. Your doctor will help ensure that you heal well during your postpartum check-up.
What Happens at Postpartum Check-up
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Your doctor will evaluate you to ensure that you are recovering physically as planned, as well as ask you questions about how you’re adjusting to life with a new baby. Your postpartum examination should be thorough. It will include the following:
- A complete physical examination
- An examination of pregnancy-related issues (such as gestational diabetes)
- Concerns about your emotional health
- Infant nutrition and nursing are discussed.
- Coming up with a birth control strategy that works for you
- Re-examination of preventative health checks, including vaccines and cancer screenings where needed
Regular checkups can provide you and your OB-GYN with a comprehensive picture of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The postpartum checkup is an excellent opportunity to discuss any medical concerns you may have had before or throughout your pregnancy.
Thyroid, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other issues may be among them. It’s critical to keep track of these issues to evaluate if you need to continue treatment. Here’s what to expect and essential reasons why you need a postpartum check-up:
1. Physical exam
During your physical examination, your doctor will:
- Take your weight and blood pressure readings.
- Take a look at your stomach. She’ll check your incision if you had a c-section and feel your belly to ensure no soreness.
- Take a look at your breasts. Lumps, discomfort, redness, cracked nipples, and irregular discharge will all be on her radar.
- Examine your vaginal and cervix using a speculum. She will examine any bruises, scrapes, or tears to determine if they have healed. She will also perform a Pap smear during the speculum exam if you are due for one.
- Perform an internal pelvic exam to check your uterus for proper shrinkage, feel your cervix and ovaries for any issues, and assess your vaginal muscle tone. She might also perform a rectal examination.
- Examine your external genitalia, particularly your perineum. She will check to see if you had an episiotomy and if it’s healed.
In this way, you can ensure that you are healthy and your body is healing properly after giving birth.
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2. Mental health check
Because your mental health is equally as essential as your physical health, you may expect to discuss it throughout your appointment.
You may feel uneasy or unsure at first but remember that this is a secure environment for sharing. As part of a broad talk about your mental health and wellbeing, you will be asked about your mood.
It is critical to do a thorough postpartum depression screening. If your provider remains silent, address your concerns and inquiries.
While feeling blue after your child’s birth is normal, feelings that last longer than two weeks may indicate a more severe problem.
3. Postpartum glucose test
An oral glucose tolerance test will be performed if you have gestational diabetes mellitus throughout your pregnancy to confirm that your glucose levels have returned to normal.
4. Cancer screenings
Cancer screenings can include:
You should resume your cervical cancer screenings as soon as possible. This entails taking cervical cells and examining them under a microscope (commonly known as a “Pap smear“), as well as testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. These checks can be done as soon as two weeks after delivery.
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During the postpartum clinic appointment, a breast exam will be performed, which can aid in the detection of breast cancer. Plan to resume your recommended breast cancer screening schedule if necessary. If you’re above the age of 40 or if you’re at a higher risk, you may need yearly mammography.
5. Birth control options
Several birth control methods available may be explored to assist you in deciding which is best for you. Keep in mind that, especially if you’re bottle-feeding your infant, your fertility can recover fairly quickly.
Even women who are exclusively breastfeeding can ovulate again after a few months. Waiting until your first period to take birth control may be too late, as you may have started ovulating before then, which means you could become pregnant before you even realise you’re fertile again.
It’s best to wait one and a half years between pregnancies to give your body enough time to recover and prepare for your future child.
You may still be experiencing aches and pains from pregnancy or childbirth and may be curious about how your body has changed.
You may also have concerns about your labour and delivery and postpartum difficulties like nursing, exercise, sex, and employment. It’s a good idea to write down any questions you’d like to ask and any other topics you’d like to address.
How Many Postpartum Visits Are Required
You should have several postpartum checkups if possible. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) now recommends that new mothers see their doctors several times in the first 12 weeks following giving birth.
Depending on your circumstances, you may just have one or two doctor’s appointments after giving birth, or you may have more.
Most women who deliver vaginally have their postpartum visit 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth. If you’ve had a C-section, you will probably be asked to come back sooner to check your incision. A postpartum visit should be scheduled within 12 weeks of the baby’s birth.
Within three weeks, you should have your first checkup. That appointment allows your doctor to understand how you’re doing and offer early assistance with any issues.
If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, you should see a doctor 3 to 10 days after giving birth to get a checkup. Then, as needed, more appointments should be scheduled before a final checkup, around 12 weeks after the baby is born.
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Postpartum Visit Checklist
To ensure your postpartum visit is seamless and efficient, it’s helpful to come prepared with a checklist. Here are some of the items/lists you should consider bringing:
- Medications you’re taking right now, including dosage information and when you took them last.
- Questions about your recovery or your baby’s health since birth (this could include questions about breastfeeding, sleep patterns or feeding schedules, or anything else).
- Concerns with breastfeeding or pumping that you want to discuss with your doctor (for example, sore nipples, low milk supply).
- Questions about managing postpartum depression and anxiety (if applicable).
Importance of Postpartum Care
Postpartum care is a vital part of the birthing process. It helps to ensure that your body recovers from the physical and emotional stress of pregnancy, labour, and childbirth. Postpartum care can include:
- Emotional support from family members or friends
- Breastfeeding classes
- Feeding baby with expressed breast milk
- Getting plenty of rest and sleep
- Eating nutritious foods to help your body heal
- Exercising regularly so that you can return to your pre-pregnancy weight
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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