When Should I See My Obstetrician?
You should see your obstetrician 6 to 8 weeks after delivery as part of your routine maternity care. This is an opportunity to review and discuss the pregnancy and birth. Particularly if things were more complicated than expected. Or if your birth preferences had to change and you had a different birth from the one you’d hoped for.
What Will the Obstetrician Ask Me About?
Your obstetrician will ask you about your physical wellbeing. This will include:
- Whether your periods have returned,
- Your caesarean or episiotomy scars if appropriate
- Your contraceptive needs
- Continence issues that may be occurring
If your cervical (Pap) smear is due your doctor will do this for you. You would like to use an IUD (contraceptive coil)? Your obstetrician can usually fit this for you at the post-natal appointment.
Your doctor will ask about how the baby is getting on and any problems with breastfeeding. It is important to remember that your obstetrician is concerned with your welfare. Any concerns about your baby must be directed to your paediatrician.
Your obstetrician will ask about problems with continence. Some women experience leaking of urine, wind or even bowel motions after delivery. They may need to refer you on to a specialist for help with this.
Why Does My Obstetrician Ask About My Mental Health?
Your obstetrician will also be concerned about your mental health. They will make enquiries about how you are coping with your baby and your new family situation. Mental health problems are very common and the time after a baby has been born is no different. It is estimated that 12% or women experience depression in pregnancy and up to 13 % have anxiety. This rises after birth to 15-20% (1 in 5 to 6) women experiencing depression or anxiety in the first year after their baby is born. The symptoms of mental health problems include:
- Feeling down, depressed or hopeless,
- Having little interest or pleasure in things that you usually enjoy,
- Feeling anxious, nervous or on edge
- Not being able to stop worrying about things.
Some women need extra support after having a baby and some may need medication. Your GP or obstetrician will help you with this and it’s important to be open and honest with them.