YES, yes you should. Even if you feel like everything is going well and you are feeling great, please schedule your 2, 4 or 6 week postpartum visit. WHY? It is important to have a physical and mental check up with your medical professional. He/She can reassure you that you are doing ok, assess any complications from delivery or immediate postpartum period, see how you are coping with parenthood, if you are healing properly and it is a great time to discuss birth control options. PLUS it is SELF-CARE!
During this pandemic, your doctor or CNM may suggest a telehealth/telemedicine postpartum visit/ appointment instead of an in person visit. You won’t know that until you make the call. The appointment is generally a quick one but it is a great opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns you might have.
Areas that may be addressed during your postpartum visit are:
You will have your vital signs taken, get weighed and if you haven’t had a pap smear in a while, you will likely have one done. The doctor or midwife will ask about your method of feeding and if you have any questions or concerns about your breasts or lactation. Your uterus will likely have returned to it’s pre-pregnant state.
The health care professional will feel for it and check to see if your abominal muscles have split, also called “diastasi recti”. If they have, they will likely refer you to see a Physical Therapist. My recommendation would be to go see any of the amazing Pelvic Floor PT’s at Body Central (www.bodycentralpt.net).
If you are recovering from a cesearan section, this will be your second follow visit. Again, they will check on the scar and healing and answer any further questions about pain or numbness (which can still be normal as your nerve endings are restoring themselves.
Questions will be asked about urinating and emptying your bladder completely. This is a great time to bring up if you are leaking or feeling incontinent, don’t be embarrassed to tell your doctor or midwife. This too may earn you a referral to see the wonderful PTs at Body Central.
Lastly, your doctor or midwife will do a pelvic exam, check your stitches to see if they are healed and give you reassurance to resume sex. Likely your stitches will have dissolved by now but sometimes they can stick around a little bit longer. If they are bothering you, talk to your health care provider. Your bleeding, lochia, should be gone but if you are noticing bleeding, spotting, clots, etc, discuss this too.
This is often a BIG piece for why women actually do go for their visit. A lot can happen between time of discharge from the hospital and your 6 week appointment. If you are feeling overly exhausted, depressed, don’t want to get out of bed, dressed, showered or can’t sleep or relax because you are constantly worried about your baby, do NOT ingore these symptoms. Talk to your doctor or midwife and they will be able to refer you to the experts. I highly recommend Dr Kristine Norris at Tucson Outpatient Psychiatry (https://psychiatrytucson.com/) She provides all types of therapies, not just medication.
Birth Control/Family Planning
Your provider will talk to you about contraception and offer guidance and assistance. There are many options available, from pills (combo and mini), injection, IUD’s, implants, fertility awareness method, condoms, diaphragms, sponges, caps, patches and sterilization. Think about what will work best for you and your partner and what is covered by your insurance. Be realistic with yourself.
“In the past, ACOG recommended that most women have a postpartum checkup 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth. ACOG now says that postpartum care should be an ongoing process, rather than a one-time checkup. ACOG now recommends that all women: (https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/your-postpartum-checkups.aspx#)
- Have contact with their health care provider within 3 weeks of giving birth
- Get ongoing medical care during the postpartum period, as needed
- Have a complete postpartum checkup no later than 12 weeks after giving birth?
In a nut shell, yes, you should go to your 6 week postpartum visit!
If you are healing and doing well overall, you will get the GREEN light to resume exercising and sex. For additional helpful information, check out the YFJ website today at www.yourfamilysjourney.com