Your postpartum appointment
As a new mom, it is essential that you take care of yourself. This is why the postpartum appointment is so important. This appointment occurs four to six weeks after the baby is born. The appointment is the doctor’s opportunity to see how you are doing. Are you healing properly? Are you feeling sad or finding the adjustment to life with a newborn difficult? Are you eating well and drinking enough water?
During your postpartum appointment, you can get the support and resources to help you be healthy for you and baby! Our maternity coaches can help you schedule your appointment and help you determine some important topics to discuss with your doctor.
Here’s what to expect at your postpartum checkup:
Need help with breastfeeding?
- You and your health care provider can talk about birth control. Birth control can help keep you from getting pregnant, but discuss the risks with your doctor.
- You can ask your provider questions about any problems you had during pregnancy, labor, and birth. This is the time to talk about how you may be able to prevent problems in future pregnancies, even if you’re not thinking now about having another baby.
- You can share your feelings or concerns about being a new mom. It’s normal to feel tired and stressed in the weeks after birth. Tell your provider if you have feelings of sadness or worry that last for a long time. This is called postpartum depression (also called PPD). It’s a serious condition that can make it hard to live your life and take care of your baby. PPD can be treated. There are things you and your provider can do to help you feel better.
- Your provider checks on any health conditions you have, like diabetes and high blood pressure. If you had gestational diabetes, your provider may give you a blood glucose test to check your blood sugar.
- You get a physical exam. Your provider checks your blood pressure, weight, breasts, and belly.
- You get a pelvic exam. Your provider checks your vagina (birth canal), uterus (womb), and cervix to make sure they’re healthy. The cervix is the opening to the uterus that sits at the top of the vagina. If you had an episiotomy or other tear during birth, your provider checks to see that it’s healed. An episiotomy is a cut made at the opening of the vagina to help let the baby out.
- Your provider makes sure your vaccinations are up to date, including vaccinations for flu and pertussis.
Our maternity coaches can help answer your questions and provide resources. Several of our maternity coaches have their lactation counselor certifications. A lactation consultant is a professional trained to help mothers who want to breastfeed.
Our maternity coaches can also help make referrals to resources such as the Lactation Center of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.The Lactation Center provides prenatal consultations and postpartum consultations to help mothers with questions or concerns.
Planning to have more children?
The return to fertility is unpredictable. You may be able to get pregnant before your periods return, even when you’re breastfeeding. For most women who aren’t nursing, ovulation occurs about 45 days postpartum, but it can be earlier. Discuss family planning with your health care provider; including the pros and cons.
What is child spacing?
“Child spacing” means figuring out when you want to have your first baby, and then knowing how long you should wait to have your next. There are benefits and risks associated with each age gap, both physical and mental.
Knowing whether you do or don't want to have children in the next few years can help you and your partner prepare for conception or choose appropriate contraception.
IUDs after delivery
Some women choose to have an IUD implanted right after the delivery of their baby. In doing so they do not need to schedule an additional procedure and already have their contraception in place. IUDs are typically last between 3-5 years, but can be removed any time. Talk to you doctor about the best option for you.