You should have your postnatal check 6 to 8 weeks after your baby's birth to make sure you feel well and are recovering properly.
Your GP surgery is required to offer and provide you with a postnatal check following changes made in April 2020. You can request an appointment for a check yourself, especially if you have any concerns. It's a good idea to make a list of questions to take along with you.
Your postnatal check should be done with a GP. It can be done immediately before or after your baby's 6 to 8 week check. But it can also be done at a separate time if you would like it to be.
You can read more about what happens at your baby's 6 to 8 week check.
What happens at your postnatal check
The following is usually offered, though this may vary according to where you live:
- You'll be asked how you're feeling as part of a general discussion about your mental health and wellbeing.
- You'll be asked if you still have any vaginal discharge and whether you have had a period since the birth.
- Your blood pressure will be checked if you had problems during pregnancy or immediately after the birth.
- You may be offered an examination to see if your stitches have healed if you had an episiotomy or caesarean section.
- If you were due for a cervical screening test while pregnant, this should be rescheduled for 12 weeks after the birth.
- You'll be asked about contraception.
- If you're overweight or obese, with a BMI of 30 or more, you may be weighed. Your doctor should give you weight loss advice and guidance on healthy eating and physical activity.
Tell your doctor if...
- you're feeling sad or anxious – looking after a baby can sometimes feel overwhelming. Do not feel you have to struggle alone or put on a brave face. It's not a sign that you're a bad mother. You need to get help, as you may have postnatal depression. Your doctor or health visitor can provide help and support.
- you're having trouble holding in your pee or wind, or you're soiling yourself with poo
- having sex is painful
- you're not sure if you have had 2 doses of the MMR vaccination – if you have not had these, your practice nurse will offer them with a gap of at least 1 month between doses. You should avoid becoming pregnant for 1 month after having the MMR vaccination.
Video: what healthcare will we get from the NHS after birth?
In this video, a health visitor explains the care and professional support you will get after the birth.
Media review due: 5 April 2023