WHAT TO ASK AT YOUR 6 WEEK CHECK UP
When working with postnatal ladies, one of the first things we are taught to ask is if you’ve been given the ‘OK’ to exercise by your GP or healthcare provider… However, after almost a decade serving you lovely bunch, I’ve noticed that after your 6 week check sadly most of you come away feeling slightly disheartened and somewhat abandoned.
It seems that more often than not the mum’s check up is nothing more than a quick question about your mental health and what contraception you’re using, tacked onto the back of your babies 6 week check. Sound familiar? Well it should definitely not be this way!
What many mamas don’t realise is that they should have a postnatal check 6-8 weeks after birth too – in fact your GP surgery is now required to offer you this. If they haven’t please do still request an appointment – especially if you have any concerns.
Some surgeries will do a mum’s postnatal check at the same time as her baby’s, so it’s always work asking when you book your appointment.
At Planet Mama we strongly recommend that you should arrange for a postnatal check up and not push your health to the side.
Remember happy healthy mama = happy health bubba. The aim of this appointment is to review your physical and mental health. It’s a time to discuss the events of your birth and plan for the future and your recovery roadmap.Lettie – Planet Mama
A recent BMJ article was published to standardize the checks and advice that GP’s give out to new mama’s but it never hurts to go prepared. Read on for a list of question you might be asked, as well as ones you can take with you so you can feel empowered at your check up:
- The Dr should ask you how you are feeling. If you’re feeling supported by the people around you, and getting the rest you need to recover. If you are struggling to get out and about then voice this to your Dr and they can arrange help if needed.
- You’ll be asked about your general mood and if you’ve been feeling super low. Be super honest; if you have been feeling overwhelmed and down let them know. I hear lots of people say that they said they were ok when they weren’t as they thought they were supposed to feel bad but that’s not the case.
- Now is the time to talk about the birth itself and it’s the perfect opportunity to ask for a de-brief consultation with a midwife or obstetrician if you have unanswered questions.
- The Dr should ask how you are physically feeling and be 100% honest. If you are experiencing any pain that is so unbearable that it affects day to day activities it should be brought up with your GP. Don’t suffer in silence.
- If you’re struggling with feeding talk about it. Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, the doctor can signpost you to people who may help.
- If you had any stitches let them know how they’re healing. If there is any discomfort or pain ask them to check it. You can also ask if you can start scar massage at this stage of your scars healing.
- Your lochia (PP bleeding) should have stopped by your 6 week check so make sure you mention if it hasn’t. It can sometimes go on for longer but it’s definitely worth mentioning it.
- If you’re leaking or have a dragging sensation in your vagina make sure you mention it to your GP as they can refer you to a specialist women’s health physio.
- If you have ongoing constipation, faecal incontinence or haemorrhoids, don’t be embarrassed – speak up – they’ve seen and heard it all before!
- Sex! They will most likely ask you about sex and this is often VERY far from your mind! But it never hurts to be prepared for their questions about sex and contraception.
- If you had any pregnancy conditions such as gestational diabetes, make sure to ask about any follow up tests and appointments.
- Ask your doctor to check for any Diastasis recti and assess how it’s healing.
- Discuss your plans to exercise and what you want to get back to. Remember everyone’s journey back to exercise is different. There is no right or wrong way, and if possible invest in your health and get a full Mummy MOT or Postnatal Check up with a Women’s Health Physio so you know where you’re starting from. You can find a directory of help HERE through the NHS Squeezy App.
We know this can all feel overwhelming, and we’ve noticed that often women ‘don’t want to make a fuss’ or think this checkup is just about their baby. But please make yourself a priority, and if it helps print off this list of questions to work through when you are there. Just in case you’ve forgotten: happy mum = happy baby. If you have any questions or queries get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.