Most women will have a scheduled 6-week check up with their health professional after giving birth. During the appointment various things may or may not get covered so I have created this list as a starting point for my clients and it’s proved so helpful that I wanted to share it with you too!
Sadly, almost all of these topics were not covered with the women I have spoken to and that’s something we need to change. It’s often a lack of time and availability on behalf of the health care professional so consider making two appointments – one for your bub/bubs and one for you.
Things that need to be covered at your 6 week postnatal check-up:
- Check delivery area healing (if you feel comfortable with it, get them to have a look to check scar, stitches etc)
- Check your abdomen to make sure your uterus has returned to normal size
- Discuss blood loss/have you stopped bleeding?
- Talk about the 4th trimester and what your body needs during this time
- Checking your nutritional needs and potential supplements to support you
- Birth reflection and trauma – do you need additional help or support in this area?
- Talk about sleep and the effects of lack of sleep
- Ask any questions around breastfeeding including talking about any challenges
- Discuss mental health/PnD/Anxiety and KNOW where and HOW to get the right support for you even if that means booking in another appointment to go through a mental health plan or questionnaire
- Discuss any of your medication needs and if you need changes here (if applicable)
- Bring up any pelvic floor symptoms such as incontinence/pain/sexual function/bladder habits and checking for abdominal separation (you may need to see a Women’s Health Physio for this to be assessed comprehensively)
- Exercise – discuss your options/training history – this check-up is not an all clear to return to pre-pregnancy fitness regimes until you have seen a Women’s Health Physiotherapist who can assess your Pelvic Floor and Core and you have found a MumSafe Trainer to work with for advice.
A women’s health physio appointment is vital in your pathway to recovery as they specialise in all things related to the pelvic floor and core area – which has just gone through a great deal during pregnancy and birth!
- Blood Tests for yourself – it makes sense to have a full blood screen post pregnancy and birth – basic things like iron, vit D, Vitamin B, thyroid function etc
- Discuss if you might need referrals to EP/PHYSIO/COUNCILLOR/PSYCHOLOGIST?
- Immunisations for baby and your options
- Contraception options and discussing having sex for the first time post-partum
- Discuss your menstrual cycle and what to expect
- Cervical screen test (when was your last test?)
- Discuss hair loss (if any) and any other symptoms you are concerned about
- What referrals to other practitioners may help support you more at this time? Remembering that getting a referral at this appointment may also assist you financially as well with the option to bulk bill or get part payment back – talk to your health care provider about this.
I know that this appears to be a detailed list but really, it’s quite broad. If you leave your appointment with any questions or concerns please ask for another time or follow-up. Find your voice and ask for what you need!
Just a quick reminder that pelvic floor symptoms are COMMON but NOT NORMAL. If something isn’t feeling right anymore – GO BACK to the health professional and seek help.
Something else to consider, will it help you to outsource a few tasks this week? Could it help you to say YES or NO to something? Being clear about your needs is hugely beneficial for your recovery.
AND REMEMBER, find the joy in your family bubble as you navigate this early transition into motherhood, learn to embrace it, not resist it.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Dr Seuss.
Here are some links for further support (some services may be available through a mental health plan or with Medicare support):
- PANDA https://panda.org.au
- PANDA have a useful checklist list for new parents etc https://panda.org.au/checklists/new-mums
- COPE Centre of Perinatal Excellence https://www.cope.org.au
For available support under Medicare for perinatal mental health check out this link:
- EAT FOR HEALTH https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au
- AUSTRALIAN BREAST FEEDING ASSOCIATION https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au
- Australasian Birth Trauma Association (ABTA) https://www.birthtrauma.org.au/where-to-start/
Emotional health and wellbeing and taking a Mental Health Checklist online at
- FIND A WOMENS HEALTH PHYSIO HERE https://mumsafe.com.au/physios/
- FIND A MUMSAFE TRAINER HERE https://mumsafe.com.au/trainers/