Follow-up Care after Delivery
The first six weeks of being a mom are encompassed with a whirlwind of physical and emotional changes, that is why follow-up care is essential. So many changes occur to your body in a short period of time; therefore, some women find it comforting to touch base with their doctor in order to get an expert's opinion on what is going on with their body.
Normally your first postpartum check-up is done in 4-6 weeks after giving birth; however, with some moms, especially those that had cesarean birth or pregnancy health conditions such as preeclampsia, they need to attend postpartum check-ups. It is important to bring a list of questions and concerns that you might have with your check-up to ask your doctor.
Your doctor will answer the questions and do the following:
- An annual check-up
This check-up counts as your annual gynaecological visit. It may include a breast check for lumps and masses, checking the milk ducts whether they are blocked or not, and a pelvic exam including a pap smear. A physical check will also be done, which includes weight and blood pressure checks. For moms that are breastfeeding, it is important to ask about nutrition in order to determine the need for supplements like calcium and iron. If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a glucose test will be done to check your blood sugar, and dietary changes or medication may be prescribed to help treat the condition.
- Examine your post-pregnancy body
Your uterus will be checked to see if it is close to its pre-pregnancy dimensions. The shrinking process of the uterus takes approximately two months. If you had cesarean childbirth, your doctor will check the incision to ensure that it is healing correctly. During pregnancy, the thyroid gland works overtime producing hormones and can be oversized, which may result in the development of a condition called postpartum thyroiditis. It can cause symptoms of an overactive thyroid, such as nervousness and insomnia, which may last several months. Therefore, the doctor will examine your thyroid gland for signs of thyroiditis and prescribe medication to treat the condition.
- Mental health
Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety are common mental health problems that are treatable. Your doctor will ask about your mood, your bonding sessions with your baby, and whether you feel overwhelmed or anxious about motherhood. It is important to answer all questioned truthfully so that your doctor can suggest concrete means of help.