The first routine postpartum visit takes usually place 4-8 weeks after delivery. Postpartum visits are different from patient to patient depending on the type of delivery and any complications from it.
At the postpartum visit, doctors generally do the following:
- Breast exam
- Abdominal exam to make sure the uterus is returning back to normal.
- Look on the outside of the perineum, particularly if stitches had to be used and make sure the cervix is back where it should be.
- Questions are asked about urination, bowel movements and other issues.
- Look for signs of postpartum depression.
- Complete the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Quiz with the patient to check for postpartum depression.
- Birth control options are also discussed during this visit if it has not been discussed during the prenatal visits.
- If the mother is considering tubal ligation, consent for the surgery should be signed well before the delivery date.
The average interval between a normal vaginal delivery and the postpartum checkup is six weeks. Moms who have delivered via C-section often follow a different schedule. Most doctors request to see their C-section patients about two weeks after the operation. This visit is intended to inspect the wound for infection and proper healing, remove any exposed stitches, staples or steri-strips if necessary and address any questions or issues the patient may have. Then they usually return for a full postpartum exam four to six weeks later provided there are no more complications like an infection.
Your first postpartum visit is crucial to ensuring good health and recovery from birth, so make sure to make a prompt appointment.