While caring for your little one, make sure you get the care you need, too. Here are some reasons why postpartum care matters.
Did you just give birth? Congratulations!
While you welcome your newborn into your life, remember that taking care of your own health is just as important as taking care of your child’s. By giving yourself the rest and attention you need, you’ll be better able to meet the needs of your baby.
Your postpartum checkup is a big part of being a healthy mom. See your doctor or healthcare provider between 21 and 56 days (three to eight weeks) after birth. Your doctor can help you adjust to life with your new baby and stay on track with healthy habits so that you can feel your best.
Here are some more reasons why your postpartum checkup is important for your health and your baby’s.
During your postpartum checkup, your doctor will make sure that you are recovering from your baby’s birth and healing properly. Your doctor may also give you a breast exam, measure your weight, and check your blood pressure.
If you are in any pain, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help.
If you are in extreme pain, or if pain does not lessen or gets worse, call your doctor right away. Also call your doctor if you experience heavy bleeding, discharge that smells bad, swelling, a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or tenderness in your abdomen. These may be signs of an infection, and you don’t need to wait for your scheduled postpartum visit to get them checked out.
In the days or weeks following birth, you may experience mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or sadness you can’t explain. This is normal—as many as four out of five new moms get the ‘baby blues.’ But if these feelings don’t go away, you may have a more serious condition called postpartum depression, which is also common and affects up to 10% of new moms. At your postpartum checkup, your doctor can help you work through mood changes and identify feelings of depression so that you can feel better faster.
If you think you have postpartum depression, speak to your doctor or call 1-800-LIFENET for free, 24/7 counseling. If you feel that you are in danger of harming yourself or your baby, call 9-1-1 right away.
Check out these Five Signs of Postpartum Depression to learn more.
Postpartum care extends beyond your own checkup and to your child’s. Your baby should see his or her pediatrician for well-child visits at these ages:
During well-child visits, your child will receive important preventive care, like vaccines. Your child’s doctor will also check that your child is growing at a healthy rate and reaching important developmental milestones. Learn more about What to Expect During Well-Child Visits. Also, check out these Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Child’s Doctor.
Pregnancy and birth cause a lot of changes in your body. At your postpartum checkup, you can ask your doctor about these changes and what’s best for your postpartum health. Your doctor can work with you to decide how to manage your weight or lose weight you may have gained while pregnant, what you should eat to stay healthy, and how much exercise you need.
You can also ask your doctor about safe sexual activity, birth control, breastfeeding, and more. If it helps, write down your questions ahead of time and bring them to your checkup.
Looking for even more ways to be a healthy mom? Check out these Five Things to Do for Yourself After Giving Birth.
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“Postpartum care: What to expect after a vaginal delivery,” MayoClinic.org. March 24, 2015.
“Recovering From Birth,” Womenshealth.gov. September 27, 2010.