Weeks 5 – 10
Your Six-Week Check-Up
While the exhaustion and emotional demands of new motherhood are still very much present, six weeks generally marks the end of your physical recuperation. Your uterus has shrunk down to the size of your fist, the bleeding has stopped and the vivid memories of labor have (mostly) faded. If breastfeeding, things are probably starting to become easier and more integrated into your everyday routine. However, it’s important to have one last OB appointment to make sure everything is healing. Your doctor will probably:
- Make sure there isn’t unusual redness, swelling or fluid coming from any incisions – whether it’s from your c-section, episiotomy or perineum tears.
- Perform an internal exam to check your vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries for tears, bruising and growths.
- Check your breasts for blocked milk ducts, lumps or other abnormalities.
- Talk to you about how you’re holding up emotionally, like your mood swings, stress and overall happiness. You might be asked to do a quick postpartum depression screening, which will help your doctor assess whether you need further professional help. Your doctor might also be able to recommend local help, from doulas or baby nurses, to alleviate some of the overwhelming stress of new motherhood. Be honest about how you’re feeling and ask for help if you need it.
- Ask about urinary incontinence and intestinal problems, as well as follow-up on any pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes or pinched nerves.
- Give you the okay to resume normal activities like exercise, heavy lifting and yes, even sex. Even if you’re nowhere near ready for a romantic rendezvous, talk to your doctor about birth control options. As impossible as it might seem, the mood will strike one day, and unless you’re ready for another year of pregnancy and recovery, you’ll want to be protected.
Remember, if you’re still feeling down, angry and/or disconnected, you’re most likely suffering from some degree of postpartum depression. Symptoms can range from a general sadness to severely – even dangerously – depressed, but you don’t have to suffer on any level. This is a precious time in your baby’s life, and it’s important to seek help for both you and your family.