You should have your postnatal check about six weeks after your baby's birth to make sure that you feel well and are recovering properly.
You may be offered an appointment to go back to the hospital or midwifery unit where you gave birth, but otherwise you should see your GP. It's time to introduce your baby to your GP as the new member of the family.
It's also a good opportunity to ask any questions and sort out any problems you may have. You may want to make a list of questions to take along with you so that you don't forget what you want to ask.
You can also ask the doctor about contraception. You may wish to choose a different method from the one you previously used, especially if your pregnancy was not planned. The doctor or nurse can help you decide which method is right for you now.
What happens at your postnatal check
- you will be weighed and can get weight loss advice if you need it (find out about healthy diet and fitness after the birth)
- your urine will be tested to make sure your kidneys are working properly and that you haven't got an infection
- your blood pressure will be checked
- you may be offered an examination to see if your stitches have healed (if you had any), and that all the muscles used during labour and delivery are returning to normal
- your breasts probably won't be examined unless you have a particular concern about them
- your doctor may discuss carrying out a cervical screening test (smear test) with you if you have not had one in the past three years – the test won't usually take place until three months after delivery
- if you are not immune to rubella (German measles) and were not given an immunisation before you left hospital, you will be offered one now – you should avoid becoming pregnant for one month after this immunisation
- you will be asked if you still have any vaginal discharge and whether you have had a period since the birth
Tell your doctor if
- you are having trouble holding urine or wind, or you are soiling yourself
- having sex is painful
- you are feeling very tired, low or depressed
- you are worried about anything