Everything You Need to Know About a Postpartum Follow-up

While having a baby is a natural event, it’s essential to schedule your postpartum follow-up appointments to ensure you’re recovering well. You may be aware of some of the potential complications following childbirth, such as postpartum depression, but there are many other issues that your OB/GYN at Maiden Lane Medical in New York can check for and treat.

Even if you feel healthy and like the early days of motherhood are a breeze, scheduling a postpartum check-up is the best option to protect you and your baby’s health.

A young African American patient speaking with her doctor at her postpartum follow-up. Maiden Lane Medical | New York, NY

What is a postpartum follow-up?

A postpartum follow-up is an opportunity to check in with your OB/GYN after your baby is born that compliments the schedule of neonatal visits you have to monitor your baby’s health, growth, and development. In addition, your doctor checks your health and monitors your recovery from pregnancy and childbirth. Having a new baby can be physically, mentally, and emotionally overwhelming. 

Your doctor at Maiden Lane Medical Center is on hand to help you adjust to motherhood as easily as possible, whether this is your first or fifth baby.

When should I schedule my first postpartum appointment?

Generally, new moms have their first postpartum follow-up four to six weeks after delivery. However, if you have any signs of infection, poor healing, or other postpartum issues, you can schedule an appointment earlier.

What happens in a postpartum check-up?

Your postpartum check-up includes a physical exam, a mental wellness check, and a postpartum care plan. 

Physical exam

Your doctor checks your blood pressure, weight, breasts, and belly. If you had a cesarean delivery, they also examine your incision to make sure you are healing as expected. In addition, they look for signs that you are recovering as expected or for signs of an infection or other postpartum issue. 

Your doctor also performs a pelvic exam to see if your vagina, uterus, and cervix are returning to their normal size and shape. They also check to see if any labor-related tears or episiotomy incisions are healing as expected. These pelvic exams help your doctor determine when it will be safe for you to have sex again.

Mental wellness check

Your physician also asks questions about your moods, energy levels, and overall mental and emotional wellness. For example, taking care of a newborn can be stressful and interfere with your sleep and self-care. Additionally, your hormones change rapidly and dramatically following delivery, which can contribute to low energy as well as depression and anxiety symptoms. 

Postpartum care plan

You and your doctor discuss how to improve and protect your health while you recover from childbirth and adjust to the early days of motherhood. For example, you might want to talk about birth control, weight management, mental health care, and recovering from labor and delivery. You can also talk to your doctor about feeding your baby and other adjustments you need to make as a new mom.

Can I bring my baby to a postpartum check-up?

Your postpartum appointment is for you, but you can bring your baby to the appointment. You will have a series of check-ups for your baby with your pediatrician. 

Can I skip my six-week postpartum appointment?

Even if you’re feeling healthy and well after having a baby, it’s critical to check in on your recovery and overall health. 

Is the postpartum check-up necessary?

Yes, your postpartum follow-up is necessary. Many potential complications can arise after giving birth, and around 700 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications. What’s worse, three out of five of those deaths could be prevented.

What are common postpartum health issues?

One of the most common postpartum health issues is postpartum depression (PPD). Up to 20% of new mothers experience PPD, which can be severely disruptive. Other potential postpartum complications include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Incontinence or constipation
  • Breast pain

Women might develop sepsis, deep vein thrombosis, embolism, stroke, or other cardiovascular health problems on rare occasions. While these health issues are uncommon, screening for signs of disease and identifying potential issues before they affect your health is the best way to protect your overall health.

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