Postnatal Check

Young father playing with his daughter inside with toys

Most healthy women don’t have any major health issues following the birth of their baby. However it is recommended that you have a health check 6–8 weeks after giving birth to make sure that your body has physically recovered from the pregnancy, labour and delivery. It is also a good time for you to ask any questions you might have following the birth.

If any physical or emotional issues arise before the postnatal checkup, don’t delay seeking advice.

Young father playing with his daughter inside with toys

The doctor or midwife will probably ask you questions like:

  • Are you still bleeding?
  • Do you have any vaginal discharge?
  • Do you have any problems with incontinence? i.e. do you leak any urine or faeces that you are unaware of or can’t control? Don’t be embarrassed to speak up, as this is common after pregnancy and childbirth, and can be successfully treated.
  • Do you have any problems with feeding, managing the baby, or any concerns about yourself or the baby?

What to expect at the checkup

  • Your blood pressure and weight are usually checked.
  • If you had stitches or tears, the doctor or midwife will check to see that the perineal area is healing.
  • If you had a caesarean your incision will be checked. It is normal for it to feel a little numb over the site for a few months as the nerve endings recover.
  • You may also have an internal examination. This is a great opportunity to have a Pap smear test if you haven’t had one for a while.
  • The midwife or doctor will also ask you about your emotional wellbeing and may even ask you to complete a questionnaire. Try to be honest with your responses as there are many people they can refer you to for help. They understand the demands of parenting.
Young father playing with his daughter inside with toys

If any physical or emotional issues arise before the postnatal checkup, don’t delay seeking advice. Make contact promptly with your doctor, midwife or Child and Family Health Nurse.

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