Most care providers schedule a postpartum visit for their patients within six weeks after birth to make sure they’re healing properly. Don’t hesitate to call your healthcare provider sooner, though, if you have any questions or things don’t seem to be going well for you. But believe it or not, by six weeks, you’ll probably be mostly healed from the physical effects of delivery. Your postpartum bleeding will have begun to disappear, and any perineal incisions or any tearing should be healed. Bring your baby along in a carrier to your checkup if you want to—your care provider and the office staff will be happy to see her!
During this exam, your care provider will:
- Check your perineum to make sure any tearing or incisions have healed.
- Check your abdominal incision, if you’ve had a cesarean
- Examine your breasts for any lumps or other signs of a clogged duct or infection.
- Feel your stomach to make sure that your uterus has returned to its normal size
- Give you the go-ahead to resume exercising (or not). Ask if you need to restrict or modify your activities for any reason. Your care provider may also be able to suggest local postpartum exercise classes.
- Give you the go-ahead to resume sexual activity (or not).
- Discuss birth control options. Don’t leave your healthcare provider’s office without a plan to prevent pregnancy until you’re sure you are mentally and physically ready for another child. Most health care providers recommend waiting at least 9 to 12 months before trying for another baby. Note that some birth control pills aren’t recommended for breastfeeding mothers. Other options include an IUD, diaphragm, or condoms.