A postnatal check-up for mummy
Everyone has heard of the six-week post-natal check mums have after their baby is born, but what does it actually entail?
At a glance
- Your healthcare professional will check your emotional as well as physical well-being
- Make a list of anything you want to talk about before your appointment
- If all is well, your healthcare professional may officially discharge you from maternity care
Well, you will have the opportunity to chat through any concerns you have about your post-baby body with your healthcare professional, including your emotional as well as your physical well-being. You will also be examined to make sure everything is as it should be six weeks on. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce your baby to your healthcare professional and make sure everything is developing well with your little one. Some GP surgeries do not routinely offer a postnatal check. You can always request an appointment, especially if you have any concerns.
Your postnatal physical check
Your healthcare professional will want to make sure your body is recovering well from pregnancy and birth. Depending how labour went this could cover a variety of different checks including:
- Checking your tummy to ensure your uterus is shrinking back to its pre-baby size, and, if you had a Caesarean section, making sure your scar is healing well
- If you had an episiotomy when you delivered your baby, your doctor may also check that has healed as it should have done
- Ask you about any bleeding after birth and how heavy this is or if it’s still occurring
- Ask you about breastfeeding and how it’s going, any difficulties or symptoms you’re unsure of
- If you didn't have a smear test before you became pregnant, your doctor may offer to book you in for one, and, although it might be the last thing on your mind right now, they will also chat to you about contraception and what your options are
- They might also check your wee and your blood pressure
Your postnatal well-being check
If you have any worries you want to discuss with your doctor at this appointment, why not write them down before you go? It is very easy to forget – or particularly if you have your baby with you – get distracted during your consultation, especially if your healthcare professional is asking you a lot of questions. Remember that they will have heard it all before, so never feel like you have a 'silly' or insignificant question or concern.
If you have a touch of the baby blues, or if you're concerned about how things are healing 'down there' post birth, don't suffer in silence or be embarrassed – be it piles, discharge or soreness, they really will have seen it a hundred times before!
If all is well and your healthcare professional decides there is no follow up needed after your check up, you will be officially discharged from maternity care at this point –how long ago does that first booking appointment seem now?!
Your baby’s six week check
Your six week check is an opportunity for your healthcare professional to meet your new arrival and check that everything is developing well with them.
They will check that they’re growing correctly and that their organs are developing as they should be. They will also look for general signs of well-being including if your baby is smiling and if they can focus and follow objects with their eyes.
This is a really good opportunity to let your healthcare professional know if you have any concerns about your little one and you should feel comfortable asking any questions you like about your baby’s development and your own recovery.
The six week postnatal check isn't a deadline either, you’re not expected to feel completely normal again within this time frame but it’s a great opportunity to ask questions and find out how you’re both doing.