What to Expect at a Postpartum Checkup—And Why the Visit Matters
By Dr. Diana Ramos
Postpartum checkups with an ob-gyn are crucial to ensuring new moms stay healthy. This critical “fourth trimester”—the time of recovery after giving birth—is a chance to set the stage for a new mom’s best possible health, now and in the future.
Many moms struggle with anxiety, pain, fatigue, and other concerns in the weeks after birth. If you are having a hard time, you are not alone. Ob-gyns can help moms with these problems—don’t feel embarrassed asking for help. Care and treatment can make life better for you and your family.
Checkups can give you and your ob-gyn a complete picture of your physical, mental, and emotional health. Your ob-gyn should do a physical exam, including a pelvic exam, to ensure you’re healing well from birth.
They should also ask questions to find out if you’re having any problems new moms often struggle with. These include:
- depression, anxiety, or both
- difficulties with feeding or other newborn care
- poor sleep, fatigue, pain, or bleeding
- leaking urine or pain when you urinate
- gas and constipation
- emotional support and help with childcare, chores, transportation, and meals
- basic needs, such as food, diapers, and money for bills
Your ob-gyn should ask about your sexual health too. Together you can talk about the following:
- sex, including when it’s safe to have it and what you can do if you have pain or concerns about a lack of interest
- birth control and choosing the best method for you
- timing for future pregnancies
Postpartum checkups can help you prevent future medical problems. Pregnancy is a window into your health for the rest of your life. If you had high blood pressure while pregnant, your risk for heart disease later in life may be higher. The same is true for gestational diabetes and developing diabetes in the future. But there are many things you and your doctors can do to reduce these risks.
Ideally, you can have several postpartum checkups. Postpartum checkups were always limited to one visit, 4 to 6 weeks after birth. But it’s hard to cover everything needed to ensure mom’s health in one 30-minute visit.
That’s why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now advises that new moms connect with their ob-gyns several times during the 12 weeks after birth.
Learn how much postpartum care your insurance covers. The change to multiple postpartum checkups is still new, so your insurance may not cover more than one visit. The best time to find out what your insurance covers is before your baby is born.
Staying healthy involves ongoing ob-gyn visits, even after the postpartum period. Before your last postpartum visit, your ob-gyn should help make sure you’re set up to continue your care with routine visits. These visits can give you ongoing help with any concerns and are a chance for continued screening and prevention of future health problems.
Don’t skip your postpartum checkup. You may feel you have reasons for missing. Maybe you feel fine and don’t need another thing on your list. You may not have an easy way to get to your ob-gyn’s office. But it’s still important to seek care.
8 Parenting Goals to Start the New Year Strong
By The American Academy of Pediatrics
Helping to make your family safer, stronger, and more harmonious may not require a complete overhaul but rather a few strategic tweaks.
Here are some concrete and tangible parenting goals you can set for the year ahead.
- Get everyone up-to-date on recommended immunizations. Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, your children, and other loved ones from viruses. Call your pediatrician to ensure your children are up-to-date on all recommended immunizations, and ask any questions you may have.
- Do good digital. What are your kids watching on TV and online? Devote some time to researching age-appropriate media. Make a family media use plan, and try to prevent gaming from becoming unhealthy. Remember that screen time shouldn’t always be alone time. Understand what they are doing and be a part of it.
- Read together. Set aside some time for reading each day. Reading has so many brain-boosting benefits for kids. Reading together also strengthens that special bond between you and your child.
- Get outside more. Spending time outdoors can be a great mood booster and help families get needed physical activity and vitamin D while enjoying time in nature. Spending time outside also gives your child’s eyes a healthy screen time break. It may also help them sleep better at night.
- Keep kids riding rear-facing as long as possible, up to the limits of their car seat. This will include virtually all children under two and up to 4. If you are past the car-seat stage of parenting, congrats! If you’re still in the thick of it, check for any new car seat laws that may be going into effect in your state in the new year.
- Set aside time to cook as a family. Many families enjoy baking treats together during the holidays. Keep the fun going in the new year. Set aside special times to cook together as a family. If your child is a picky eater, this can get them more interested in trying new, healthy foods.
- Make a family disaster kit. It’s scary to think how disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, or tornados could affect our communities. Being ready is one way to be less afraid. With your children, assemble the necessary supplies if a disaster strikes.
- Mind mental health & practice self-care. When was the last time you had a checkup? Have you got proper rest? Once a baby is no longer a part of your body, it’s easy to forget that tight association between how you care for yourself and how you care for your child’s health. We also know depression and anxiety can happen to moms and dads during and after pregnancy. If this is you, you’re not alone. Help is near.
Pediatric Meet n' Greet: Upcoming Dates
February 15, 2023 and March 15, 2023 at 5:30pm
Our free monthly Meet n Greet events offer new potential patients the opportunity to meet our providers and learn about our patient-centered medical home. We will address any questions, tour our beautiful facility, and tell you about our services.
All Meet n’ Greet events have limited spacing, so reserve your spot today by calling our office at 866-595-5113.