At your six-week post-natal check, you will have the opportunity to chat through any concerns you have about your post-baby body with your doctor, including your emotional as well as your physical well-being. This appointment is also a great opportunity to introduce your baby to your doctor and make sure everything is developing well with your little one.
Your doctor will want to ensure your body is recovering as it should be from pregnancy and birth. Depending on the type of labour you experienced this could cover the following:
- Checking your tummy to ensure your uterus is shrinking back to its pre-baby size, and, if you had a Caesarean section, making sure your scar is healing well
- If you had an episiotomy when you delivered your baby, your doctor may also check that has healed as it should have done
- Ask you about any bleeding after birth and how heavy this is or if it’s still occurring
- Ask you about breastfeeding and how it’s going, any difficulties or symptoms you’re unsure of
- If you didn't have a smear test before you became pregnant, your doctor may offer to book you in for one, and, although it might be the last thing on your mind, they will also chat to you about contraception and what your options are going forward
- They might also check your urine and your blood pressure
This appointment is also a good opportunity to discuss how you are feeling, post the birth of your baby, and to check on your overall well-being. Raise any concerns you have about how you are feeling with the doctor, no matter how insignificant you think they might be.
If you have a touch of the baby blues, or if you're worried about how things are healing 'down there' post birth, don't suffer in silence or be embarrassed – be it piles, discharge or stress incontinence, they really will have heard it a hundred times before!
Your baby’s six-week check
Your baby’s six-week check is a good time for your doctor to meet your new arrival and check on their development. The doctor will check that they’re growing correctly and that their organs are developing as they should be.
Let your doctor know if you have any concerns about your little one and feel comfortable to ask any questions you like about your baby’s development, as well as your own recovery.
And remember, the six-week postnatal check isn't a deadline either. You’re not expected to feel completely normal again within this time frame but it’s a great opportunity to ask questions and find out how both you and your baby are doing.
When will my periods start again?
Periods can start again at any time.
For breastfeeding mums, they often start 5 - 6 weeks after you swap to bottle-feed or when you combine bottle-feeding with breastfeeding. If you continue breastfeeding though, your period might not re-start until you stop altogether because breastfeeding is known to interrupt the ovulation process.
It’s hard to predict when your periods will start again as it takes a while for your hormones to settle down. It might return after a month of giving birth or not for another year. Both are normal.
If you're worried, speak to your doctor and be aware that even if you're not menstruating there's still a chance you might get pregnant if you're not using contraception.
Will my periods be the same as they were before I had a baby?
It’s not unusual to find your periods are much heavier or irregular for a while, so you might want to use a combination of pads and tampons until you can work out which products are best suited to your flow.
When can I use tampons again?
As the wound found at the uterine wall may not have healed yet and your muscles are much weaker, tampons are not recommended for a little while until you’ve visited your doctor or midwife for your six-week post-natal check-up. They will advise you on when you can begin using tampons again.