Regardless of the method in which you deliver your baby, post childbirth recovery is essential, and not always easy. The first step is the 6 week postpartum check up. Add in sleep deprivation and putting the needs of another tiny human’s before yours, and it’s extremely important to maintain self-care.
Your first appointment with your OBGYN without a baby in your belly might feel a bit intimidating, but it’s really just to make sure you’re healing properly and are in good postpartum health.
Brides spoke with Dr. Laura Riley, Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine for more information on what you can expect at your first postpartum checkup.
While taking care of your newborn, the last thing you may be thinking of is your first 6 week postpartum check up, since its typically scheduled six weeks post-delivery (as long as all is going according to plan, that is.) But those sleepless nights will begin to fly by and soon it will be time. Of course, Riley says, “if there is a concern about a cesarean delivery scar,” a patient may come in earlier to check, and if there is high blood pressure they may be back in the doctor’s office as soon as two days post-delivery.
While six weeks is the norm, it’s really important to keep an eye out for any concerning symptoms that should definitely be reported to your doctor ASAP. Riley says these include, “fever, chills, excessive bleeding, headache, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, breast pain with fever or redness, tenderness with swelling in legs, increasing pain in vaginal incision or c-section scar, leaking from c-section scar,” and that these are some but not all reasons to call. To be on the safe side — when in doubt, give your doctor a buzz.
What to Expect
A routine postpartum follow up appointment will generally include examinations for the following: Blood pressure, resolution of bleeding, healing of tears and scars, symptoms of depression or anxiety
Riley says you’ll also most likely have a conversation with your doctor about your unique, “delivery experience, complications and implications for future pregnancies, obtain birth control and discuss ideal birth spacing, as well as discussion of breastfeeding.”
Generally speaking, there probably won’t be any labs performed, unless you’re due for a pap smear or need one repeated.
There’s no prep necessary for this appointment, but you may want to mentally prepare for a pelvic and breast exam. Both may be uncomfortable in the early postpartum weeks
Assuming all goes well, at this follow up appointment you’ll most likely be cleared for sexual intercourse, exercise, and to return to work. Be sure to prepare any other questions or concerns you may have to leave the appointment with clarity on all things post-baby.
If, throughout your pregnancy, you were seeing solely an OB (for instance, if your regular GYN does not perform obstetric services) then this is likely the last time you’ll see them, and you can return back to your GYN.
For most women, this appointment is the final medical appointment needed for themselves (medically speaking) as they venture into new motherhood.
A version of this article originally appeared on www.brides.com