Curious about what happens at your six-week check-up and if it’s even worth going? Well, the answer is yes, and this article explains why.
As a new mom, there are understandably many different questions you probably have about your baby and all things postpartum.
It’s common practice to have a six-week postpartum check-up with your OB or midwife to see how you’re recovering and adjusting to life with the baby and to address any questions or concerns.
We will review everything to – ideally – expect at your six-week check-up so you feel as prepared and supported as possible.
Editor’s Note: We fully understand many, many six-week postpartum appointments will not look like this, but we hope this article aims to help educate and inform you of what you are entitled to ask for and request from your care team.
What to expect at your six-week postpartum appointment
Your six-week appointment with your healthcare provider helps ensure that you’re healing correctly after giving birth, whether you gave birth vaginally or by c-section, and that you and your little one are adjusting well to life together.
Your OB or midwife should talk to you about how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally since giving birth. It’s critical that you are open and honest about your experiences, as they can’t help if they don’t know.
You should tell them if you’ve had any complications or concerns since having your baby, such as difficulty breastfeeding, unusual pain, or heavy bleeding.
You should also expect a physical exam at this appointment to help determine how you’re recovering and ensure there are no complications such as infections. If your doctor does not initiate one, it is okay to ask if it is something you’d like done.
At the end of your exam, you should have the chance to discuss anything else that came up during the check-up, what to do if you experience any new symptoms, go over your postpartum plan, and book your next appointment.
This appointment is an important opportunity to receive some guidance and answers as you navigate this new chapter in your life.
You can and should ask your healthcare provider all the questions that you may have at this six-week check-up – they’re here to help keep you and your baby healthy.
What does a postpartum check-up consist of?
During a postpartum visit, there are several routine things you can expect to happen to make sure you’re recovering and adjusting well.
Your healthcare provider will review all the basics, such as checking your vital signs and asking you about any symptoms you may be experiencing since giving birth, like heavy bleeding, unusual pain, and anything regarding your mental health.
Likely, your provider will also do a pelvic exam, especially if you had a vaginal birth, to check if your uterus has contracted back to its pre-pregnancy size and position and to see how you’re healing if you had a tear or episiotomy.
If you had a c-section, they will check your abdomen and incision site to see how it’s healing up and ensure there’s no concern.
They will also ask you about how you’re sleeping (probably not too great) and your overall mood and do a breast exam if you’re breastfeeding to ensure everything looks okay and there are no signs of infection.
During this visit, your healthcare provider might also review your birth control options since you can typically start having sex again around the six-week postpartum mark (but only if you’re physically and mentally ready).
Read next: No Interest in Sex After Having a Baby? Here’s How to Ease Back In (If You Want)
They should review all your questions about recovery, breastfeeding, or caring for your baby and offer helpful resources to help you adjust to this new role even more. If you aren’t getting the experience you want from your appointment, don’t hesitate to speak up and advocate for the care you deserve.
The most important aspect is that you and your family feel healthy and supported, and going to this six-week postpartum check-up is one of the best ways to promote that.
Do you get a pap smear at a postpartum visit?
Pap smears are integral to women’s healthcare, so your healthcare provider will likely perform one when you go in for your six-week check-up. A pap smear at this appointment helps your provider ensure that no irregularities have emerged since giving birth.
They will also be able to see if your uterus has returned to its pre-pregnancy size, and if you had any tears during childbirth, they would look at those to certify they’re healing well.
Getting a pelvic exam and pap smear at this six-week check-up is essential in allowing your provider to grasp your overall health and healing process fully.
Can I skip my six-week postpartum appointment?
Your six-week postpartum check-up is vital to your postpartum recovery, so you should not consider skipping it. This appointment is your primary one after you give birth, and it allows your provider to get a comprehensive overview of your physical, mental, and emotional health.
It’s also crucial for you as the patient since this is a prime opportunity to bring up the questions or concerns that you will more than likely have.
You might think this six-week appointment might not be necessary, but it truly is. Even if you feel wonderful and well-adjusted, having this check-up is still crucial to ensure you’re indeed recovering well and there are no concerns.
Pregnancy and childbirth bring about a ton of changes to pretty much every aspect of your life, so going to this postpartum appointment is absolutely in your best interest.
Prioritizing postpartum health with a six-week check-up
As a mom to a new baby, you must prioritize your postpartum health and well-being.
The six-week postpartum check-up serves as an opportunity to check in with your body after it’s been through so much, address any concerns or issues you may be experiencing, and receive guidance and assistance as you recover and adjust to life with your baby.
This appointment helps set the foundation for a healthy and supported postpartum journey and allows your provider to understand your recovery comprehensively.
Remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your little one, and you are doing something vital for yourself and your family by scheduling and attending this six-week check-up.
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Founded by new mom and self-care author Carley Schweet, Hello Postpartum aims to help fill in the gaps in postpartum care and support. At Hello Postpartum, we aim to create an accessible community where everyone can access postpartum education, research-backed articles, and support tools.