Why your own first medical exam after having a baby is as important as your newborn's
Exercise, nutrition and weight Don’t even think about losing weight before six weeks postpartum. But because research shows that women who haven’t lost their pregnancy weight by six months after giving birth are more likely to become overweight or obese in the future, this visit is a good opportunity to look ahead, talk with your doctor about nutrition and exercise and get the green light to resume working out. Ferrara helps her breastfeeding patients come up with a weight-loss plan that makes sure the baby still gets adequate nutrition.
Your feelings This visit is a perfect opportunity to ask any questions that may be nagging at you. If you’re very sad, anxious or irritable and the feelings don’t go away within a few weeks, speak up. Don’t dismiss them as “baby blues”; you might be suffering from postpartum depression, which requires treatment. If you have no desire for sex and your partner is pressuring you, be sure to discuss the situation with your doctor. You also may want to talk about stretch marks, breast changes, scars, weight gain and other body-image issues. If your doctor dismisses your concerns, makes you feel uncomfortable or doesn’t take the time to listen, ask to speak with a nurse instead.
Do NOT ignore
Don’t wait until your scheduled postpartum checkup to report any of the following:
Fever above 100.4° F
Nausea and vomiting
Pain or burning during urination
Bleeding that increases or is heavier than a normal menstrual period
Severe pain in your lower abdomen
Pain, swelling or tenderness in your legs
Red streaks on your breasts or painful new lumps
Redness, discharge or pain from an episiotomy, perineal tear or abdominal incision that doesn’t subside or that worsens
Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Source: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth (2000).