Your 6-week postnatal check
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.
Some GP surgeries do not routinely offer a postnatal check. You can always request an appointment for a check, especially if you have any concerns. It's a good idea to make a list of questions to take along with you.
Sometimes a mum's postnatal check is done at the same time as her baby's 6 to 8 week check.
If this happens, the healthcare professional will give your baby a full physical examination and check their responses, such as smiling and following things with their eyes.
They'll also ask you if your baby's feeding well and talk to you about recommended vaccinations.
You may find the healthcare professional carrying out the check combines the 2 checks for both you and your baby at the same appointment.
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.
Media review due: 5 April 2020
Page last reviewed: 23 April 2019
Next review due: 23 April 2022