What to expect at your postpartum check-up
Clinically reviewed by: Optum National Clinical Review Team
Getting your postpartum check-up is an important part of your post-delivery health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that new mothers schedule their first postpartum visit within the first 3 weeks after giving birth.1 Additionally postpartum care should be an ongoing process, as needed, between you and your doctor.1 As a new mother, you may experience conditions or complications and it’s critical that your doctor is aware to diagnose and treat you accordingly.2,3 Postpartum check-ups are also a way to help you lead a healthy future with your baby.
During postpartum visit, you can expect to have a typical physical examination and a pelvic exam.1,2 Your doctor will check to your breasts, blood pressure and weight.1 If a C-Section or vaginal tear (to help get the baby out) occurred, your doctor will ensure that your incision is healing properly.1
Your doctor can address and help manage conditions (i.e., high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, thyroid disorders, and kidney disease) developed during pregnancy. You should also make your doctor aware if you are experiencing the following:
- Physical or emotional symptoms2
- Problems with breastfeeding2
- Childcare support2
Also, a discussion on sexual activities going forward is important. Your doctor can help you figure when it is medically safe to begin having sex again. They can also address any concerns such as having issues with pain or lack of interest during sex, and when you can begin to think about any future pregnancies.1
Birth control discussions
At this visit, your doctor will discuss the timing of future pregnancies with you. Many experts recommend waiting 18 months before planning to have another baby and getting on birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies.4 Getting pregnant too soon can increase your risk of future premature birth.2 Choosing the right birth control for you will depend on a number of factors:
- Timing: Depending on the birth control, you may have a small waiting period or you can begin immediately.
- Breastfeeding: While all methods are considered safe to use during breastfeeding, there are some that may need to wait until after the first weeks before starting.5
- Effectiveness: There are some birth control methods that may be less effective right after giving birth.5
There are a number of options available, including:
- Birth control pills4,5
- Combined hormonal methods (pills, ring, patch)5
- Implants and intrauterine devices (IUD)4,5
- Injectable birth control5
Discussions about your recent labor and delivery
You may want to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your delivery and labor. Your doctor can help you understand how your recent labor and delivery could possibly impact any future pregnancies and births.
Mental health discussions
Postpartum depression (PPD),” is a very serious issue, and when it occurs within 1 year post-birth, but is usually seen within three weeks postpartum.6 If you have developed a feeling of intense sadness or anxiety that interferes with your daily life, you may have PPD.6 It’s best to contact your doctor, if you have any of these feelings, who can help diagnose and develop a treatment plan.
With that said, your doctor will evaluate you for any mental health issues following the birth of your child. The doctor will inquire as to how you are bonding with your newest family addition and discuss your many emotions at this office visit. You should be candid when speaking with your doctor, sharing any feelings of anxiety, depression, fear or nervousness.2,3 Your doctor will be able to develop a treatment plan that is right for you, which may include medications as well as talk therapy.6
We are here for you
At Optum Medical Care, our dedicated team of doctors, nurses and specialists take pride in our top-of-the-line breastfeeding classes offered to all our valued patients. Patients can feel right at home with our staff, asking any questions they may have and sharing any concerns.
The information featured in this site is general in nature. The site provides health information designed to complement your personal health management. It does not provide medical advice or health services and is not meant to replace professional advice or imply coverage of specific clinical services or products. The inclusion of links to other web sites does not imply any endorsement of the material on such websites.
- Optimizing Postpartum Care. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2018/05/optimizing-postpartum-care. Updated 2021. Accessed May 31, 2023.
- Your postpartum checkups. https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/postpartum/your-postpartum-checkups. Last reviewed July 2018. Accessed May 31, 2023.
- What to Expect at a Postpartum Checkup—And Why the Visit Matters. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/experts-and-stories/the-latest/what-to-expect-at-a-postpartum-checkup-and-why-the-visit-matters. Last reviewed February 2022. Accessed May 31, 2023.
- Birth control. https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/planning-baby/birth-control. Last reviewed August 2019. Accessed May 31, 2023.
- Postpartum Birth Control. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/postpartum-birth-control. Last updated April 2023. Accessed May 31, 2021.
- Postpartum Depression. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/postpartum-depression. Last updated December 2021. Accessed May 31, 2023.
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