6th Week Postpartum Checkup: What Happens, Importance & Tips

Written by Shreeja pillai • 

What Happens At The 6th Week Postpartum Checkup?

The OB visit six weeks after you have delivered the baby is a routine check-up to assess how you and the newborn are doing. It is the first doctor’s visit postpartum.

MomJunction tells you what happens at six weeks postpartum checkup and why you must not skip it.

What Is The Importance Of The Sixth Week Postpartum Check Up?

The sixth-week postpartum checkup lets the doctor evaluate how you are recovering, physically and emotionally, after childbirth.

Also, this checkup is a must if you have had a C-section or any complications during delivery, and to discuss any concerns such as post-delivery pains and aches. The doctor also gets an opportunity to meet your baby. Another important aspect to discuss is the contraception to delay and plan your next pregnancy.

What Will The Doctor Discuss With You During The Visit?

The process might differ with each doctor. However, the main areas covered during the discussion include:

  1. General well being: The doctor will check your weight and blood pressure. You will be asked about how you have been feeling during the initial few weeks after delivery. The doctor can raise a discussion on the complications (if any) that you had during the delivery or events at delivery.
  1. Blood tests: The doctor may recommend them to rule out problems like anemia if you had lost a considerable amount of blood during the delivery. They may also advise a glucose tolerance test if you have had gestational diabetesThe doctor may advise your on the long-term risk of you developing other medical conditions such as essential hypertension (high blood pressure), and type-2 diabetes depending on the medical issues during your last pregnancy. You may be able to adopt more directed healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of any long-term health issues.
  1. Incisions: If you had an episiotomy (tear made in the vagina during delivery) or a C-section, the doctor will check how the wound is healing.
  1. Pelvic examination: The doctor will check for any signs of infection, such as tenderness in the uterus, and symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, urinary incontinence, perineal pain, occasional bleeding or lochia (a discharge after the delivery). An internal pelvic exam can check the muscle tone of the vagina and if the uterus has shrunk properly. The doctor may suggest a cervical smear test in due course. It is preferable to wait for 12 weeks after delivery for the test.
  1. Breast examination: The doctor will check for any symptoms of breast pain and blocked milk ducts that may feel like little knots. If such ducts are present, then the area will turn red and you might develop symptoms such as body ache and fever.
  1. Feeding: The doctor may ask if you are breastfeeding and facing any issues with it.
  1. Mental well-being: The doctor may ask how you are coping with motherhood and check for the signs of depression such as anxiety, stress and sleep disturbances.
  1. Birth control: The doctor explains various birth control options. If you plan on using a diaphragm then let the doctor know about it. A diaphragm is a dome-shaped contraceptive device made of silicone or rubber. It is filled with a cream or a spermicidal jelly and inserted into the vagina. The doctor can help insert one into the vagina during the checkup session and train you on how to use it.
  1. Immunization injections: The doctor may suggest you take vaccinations for tetanus, pertussis booster shot, diphtheria, rubella or chickenpox vaccine (if not taken before pregnancy), or a flu shot.

A postpartum checkup gives you an opportunity to ask several questions to the doctor. So, do you have a list of questions ready?

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Here are a few questions that you can ask your doctor during the first postpartum visit:

  1. Were there any delivery issues that I should know about?
  2. How can I deal with the postpartum pain?
  3. Can I start having sex?
  4. Why is breastfeeding important?
  5. Will taking any medication affect my child during breastfeeding?
  6. What can I do to get relief from constipation?
  7. What is the best type of birth control for me?
  8. When can I resume my exercise regimes?

You might want to get back into shape through exercise and diet. Keep reading as we tell you more about it.

Diet, Nutrition, And Exercise Planner To Follow Six Weeks Postpartum

During your scheduled visit, the doctor may give you a diet, nutrition, and exercise planner for you to get back on track (1, 2).

Diet, nutrition, exerciseThings to do
Weight loss
  • Dieting soon after pregnancy can lead to bone mineral density loss.
  • Take healthy food rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Eat five meals a day.
  • Consume 1,500-1,800 calories a day. If you are breastfeeding, take 300-500 calories more.
  • Drink a lot of fluids.
  • Never stay hungry.
  • Be patient with weight loss.
  • Follow a well-balanced diet.
  • Take additional vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure that you are getting proper nutritional supply.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetable, and whole grains.
  • Eat low-fat and fat-free dairy products as well as low-fat meats.
  • Take calcium supplements such as Calcium Soft Chews, Oc-Cal, Caltrate, Viactiv, or Tums with meals.

(Note: 400-800 IU of vitamin D helps absorb calcium)

  • Moderate physical exercises can be resumed in a few weeks after delivery.
  • Exercising helps strengthen the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles and reduces urinary incontinence. Initial pelvic floor exercises should be under direct supervision to perform adequately and appropriately. Commonly practiced pelvic floor exercise might be more harmful if it puts extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles (valsalva maneuver).
  • However, it is better to consult the doctor to know the right time to start working out and how much to begin with.
  • Weight-bearing exercises like cycling and walking can strengthen the bones.
  • Kegel exercise: contract and relax the pelvic muscles for 10 seconds each. Repeat the exercise for 15 minutes and do at least four times a day.
  • Breastfeed before exercising as it makes you feel more comfortable.

Taking care of your little one can be exciting and tiring at the same time. Therefore, your body needs rest and energy.

Tips To Stay Happy And Healthy

Here are some tips to follow after your delivery:

  • Give your body enough rest while you take care of your baby. Try to sleep when your baby is asleep.
  • Eat food at regular intervals.
  • If you have another child, then arrange a nanny for them.
  • Let someone stay with you for a few weeks post-delivery to help you.
  • If you feel tired, take a short walk inside the house.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it normal to bleed six weeks after delivery?

Usually, the bleeding stops by six weeks when the womb goes back to its pre-pregnant size and women may experience light spotting. If you experience a heavy bleeding, let your doctor know about it.

2. What can I do to decrease the pain in the perineum?

Put a frozen pad or an ice pack at the perineum to get relief from the pain. Medicines like ibuprofen also provide relief. In the case of a C-section, the doctor might prescribe stronger medications.

The 6th-week postpartum checkup is usually the first checkup after delivery and assesses the well-being of the mother and infant. In addition, any post-delivery difficulties, especially after a C-section birth or delivery complications, are discussed. The doctor may also recommend tests to detect issues, such as anemia and diabetes, you may have had during pregnancy. In addition, a pelvic examination checks for any signs of infection, the vagina’s muscle tone, and whether the uterus has shrunk. This checkup helps the doctor understand how your body is adapting to motherhood and allows them to suggest how to make the transition comfortable.

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