December 23, 2021

A Guide to Your 6-Week Postpartum Check Up

Tips and discussion topics for your first postpartum check up to make the most of your recovery.


woman carrying carseat

A Guide to Your 6-Week Postpartum Check Up

Navigating the early postpartum days can be challenging, and at times, overwhelming. Sleep deprivation, hormonal fluctuations, and major changes to your body only skim the surface of what you may be experiencing. When you add all of this on top of trying to care for a new life, simply brushing your teeth and changing out of your pajamas can feel like a huge accomplishment! You may compare yourself to others and even wonder if your own postpartum experiences are “normal”. You may have questions about your healing such as, “Should my incision to still hurt?”, “Does everyone leak when they sneeze after having a baby?”, or “Am I the only one who is nervous to have sex for the first time postpartum?” Fortunately, most women will have a postpartum visit before or right around the 6-week mark, and this is the time to get some of your questions answered. Often, this visit is viewed as a necessity to get the “all clear” from your OB to return to activities like exercise and intercourse; however, it can also be a great opportunity for understanding your birth experience and healing process.

Let’s talk about a few topics which you may want to discuss at your postpartum appointment.

Review Your Labor and Birth

Do you have any lingering questions that you did not have a chance to ask at the time of birth? Were there any concerns about your delivery that you want to discuss?

Now is a good time to talk about your labor and delivery experience with your provider. You may have played your birth experience over and over in your head or you may not have thought about it at all since your little one entered the world. It is great to have a birth plan prior to delivery, but as you may know, labor does not always follow this plan. Your experience may not be what you had imagined, and this can be hard to process emotionally as well as physically. Sometimes, talking through this experience with your provider can be helpful. In addition, you may have questions about what interventions were chosen and why or how later births may be affected. This is the perfect time to get your questions answered.

Discuss Persistent Symptoms

This visit is also the time to discuss any lingering physical symptoms you may have and to check in on your healing process. Your body goes through a number of physical changes during pregnancy and childbirth and can often feel unrecognizable. It is no wonder we have questions about what is normal and what is not. You may have heard of terms like diastasis recti and pelvic organ prolapse on social media or from friends and family, and you may be wondering if you are experiencing any of these things. If you have concerns, this is the perfect time to have your doctor perform an assessment. Here are some questions that you can ask to get the conversations started.

  • Can you examine my abdominal wall for diastasis recti?

  • How is my pelvic floor strength and coordination?

  • How has my scar (perineal or caesarian) healed? How is the tissue mobility?

  • Do I have a pelvic organ prolapse?

  • Is pain normal during my postpartum exam or with intercourse? What can I do about vaginal dryness postpartum?

This is also the time to bring up any other symptoms you may be having such as leakage (urinary or fecal), pelvic pressure, prolonged postpartum bleeding, or any pain that you are experiencing including abdominal, low back, pelvic, and hip pain.

Mental Health Check In

The postpartum period can bring on vast array of emotions. Your doctor will most likely inquire how you have been feeling emotionally and how you are adjusting to the new demands of motherhood. Make sure to discuss any concerns you may be having including increased anxiety, depression, exhaustion or other overwhelming emotions. Sometimes, it can be hard to decipher between the typical “baby blues” or something more, and your doctor can help you navigate these emotions and recommend additional resources if needed.

Future Issues/Concerns

You may want to ask your doctor if you are due for any standard routine tests such as a pap smear or blood work or if you need any additional follow up postpartum visits. Birth control may also be another topic that you wish to discuss at this time. In addition, you may want to inquire about the length of time your doctor recommends you wait to get pregnant again or if they have any recommendations for future pregnancies.

Pelvic Floor PT Recommendation

Finally, ask if your MD can point you in the direction of a skilled pelvic floor physical therapist. A physical therapist will perform a thorough exam to assess your muscle function and coordination and help guide you through your healing process in order to return to the activities you love safely. Scheduling a postpartum visit can be instrumental in identifying the cause of any symptoms you may be experiencing or in prevention of future pelvic floor dysfunctions.

While babies will have multiple doctor’s appointments over their first year of life, new mothers will most often only have one. Hopefully, this post will guide you in making the most of your postpartum visit, encourage you to seek answers to your concerns and pursue the care you need to heal, whether physical or emotional.

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Interested in more tips on how to prevent or overcome Pelvic Floor Problems?
Download this free guide for some simple, do-able, totally-not-weird tips to take better care of your down there.
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Ashley Holstein PT, DPT is a native of New Orleans and attended Mount Carmel Academy. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Kinesiology from Louisiana State University and went on to receive her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2013 from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Originally starting her physical therapy career in orthopedics, she developed a passion for pelvic health physical therapy when pregnant with her daughter and transitioned to this specialty full-time. Ashley is certified in dry needling and is also an adjunct professor with Delgado’s Physical Therapist Assistant program. Ashley enjoys reading, attending festivals, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

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