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Questions to Ask at Your 6-Week Postpartum Checkup

Questions to Ask at Your 6-Week Postpartum Checkup

Six weeks after you give birth, you're due for a postpartum checkup. Here's what to expect—and what to ask your doctor.

Medically reviewed by a board-certified pediatrician

After you give birth, it's your baby who needs regular checkups. But at the 6-week mark, it's time for mom to have a doctor's appointment, too. The 6-week postpartum checkup may be the first time a doctor will check in on how you're adjusting to motherhood — or you may go in more frequently, depending on your healthcare provider.1 Your doctor will perform a physical exam to see how your body is recovering, and they'll also check in to see how you're doing emotionally.  

Even though you're busy taking care of your new baby, this appointment is one you really don't want to miss. While you may be focused on the well-being of your baby, your physical and mental health are important, too. Think of it as your "fourth trimester" check-in. So set an alarm on your phone's calendar, then read on to learn what to expect during your first postpartum visit—and the questions to ask while you're there.

How is my body recovering from childbirth?

During the physical exam, your doctor will do an external exam and possibly an internal pelvic exam. They'll examine your vagina in case of an episiotomy or tear. Or, if you had a c-section, they'll look at how your incision is healing. Your doctor may also examine your uterus to ensure that it's returned to its pre-pregnancy size, and since this counts as your annual exam, they may also perform a Pap smear to check for abnormal cervical cells.

Is my range of emotions healthy?

In the days after childbirth, when hormones are changing rapidly, many new mothers feel the "baby blues." Those typically go away on their own, but if you're feeling persistently sad, fearful, hopeless, numb, or panicky, tell your healthcare provider. Up to one in seven new mothers experience postpartum depression (PPD) or postpartum anxiety (PPA), and effective treatments are available—so don't suffer in silence.2   

Do I need any medications, therapies, or treatments?

Some new mothers find that they really begin to feel like themselves after six weeks, while others need a little more support. Your doctor can help you understand whether medications, therapies, or treatments can help you. For example, some women may experience bladder leakage after childbirth, in which case pelvic floor physical therapy can strengthen those muscles.  

Am I ready to have sex again after childbirth?

The 6-week postpartum appointment is typically when your doctor will give the green light for sexual activity. If they don't, ask what else needs to happen before you can have sex again. And don't forget to ask about contraception options if you're not ready to be pregnant again! If you're experiencing vaginal dryness, lower libido, or other challenges, don't be shy about bringing those up. Your doctor can advise you on ways to enjoy intimacy again.3

What kind of exercise can I do?

Some exercises are appropriate to do shortly after your baby is born, but others—think weightlifting and intense running—can be too much for a body recovering from birth. Tell your doctor about your fitness hopes to find out when you can resume regular workouts. 

How can I make breastfeeding easier?

If you're breastfeeding and running into challenges—anything from sore nipples to a blocked milk duct—ask for help. Your doctor may provide pointers, examine your breasts, or connect you with a lactation counselor to make things go smoothly. 

Your 6-week postpartum appointment is an opportunity to care for your body and mind—and get guidance on feeling your best as a mother and a person. Still have questions about recovering from childbirth? This postpartum guide should help.

1 ACOG Redesigns Postpartum Care

2 What is postpartum depression & anxiety?

3 Optimizing Postpartum Care