Your six-week postnatal check
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You should have your postnatal check about six weeks after your baby's birth to make sure you feel well and you are recovering properly.
Some GP surgeries do not routinely offer a postnatal check.
You can always request an appointment for a check, especially if you have any concerns. It's a good idea to make a list of questions to take along with you.
There are no set guidelines for what a postnatal check for mothers should involve. However, there are guidelines for your baby's six- to eight-week check.
This check repeats your baby's newborn physical examination. You may find that your GP combines the two checks at the same appointment.
What happens at your postnatal check
The following is usually offered, though this may vary according to where you live:
- You will be asked how you are feeling as part of a general discussion about your mental health and wellbeing.
- You will be asked if you still have any vaginal discharge and whether you have had a period since the birth.
- Your blood pressure will be checked if you had problems during pregnancy or immediately after the birth.
- You may be offered an examination to see if your stitches have healed if you had an episiotomy or caesarean section.
- If you were due for a cervical screening test while pregnant, this should be rescheduled for 12 weeks after the birth.
- You will be asked about contraception.
- If you are overweight or obese, with a BMI of 30 or more, you may be weighed. Your doctor should give you weight loss advice and guidance on healthy eating and physical activity.
Tell your doctor if...
- you are feeling sad or anxious – looking after a baby can sometimes feel overwhelming. Don't feel you have to struggle alone or put on a brave face. It's not a sign that you are a bad mother. You need to get help, as you may have postnatal depression. Your doctor or health visitor can provide help and support.
- you are having trouble holding urine or wind, or you are soiling yourself
- having sex is painful
- you're not sure if you have had two doses of the MMR vaccination – if you have not had these, your practice nurse will offer them, with a gap of at least one month between doses. You should avoid becoming pregnant for one month after having the MMR vaccination.