Postpartum: First 6 Weeks After Childbirth (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Your doctor will want to see you for a checkup 2 to 6 weeks after delivery. This visit allows for your doctor or midwife to check on your recovery from childbirth and see how you are doing emotionally. You may have a pelvic exam to make sure that you are healing well. If you had a C-section, your doctor will check your incision.
Your doctor or midwife will talk with you about birth control and find out how you're doing with breast-feeding. He or she also will ask about your moods and check you for signs of postpartum depression.
This visit is also a good time to talk to your doctor about anything you are concerned or curious about.
Health and Nutrition
It is easy to get too tired and overwhelmed during the first weeks after childbirth. Take it easy on yourself. Get rest whenever you can, accept help from others, and eat well and drink plenty of fluids.
Like pregnancy, the newborn period can be a time of excitement, joy, and exhaustion. You may look at your wondrous little baby and feel happy. You may also be overwhelmed by your new sleep hours and new responsibilities. Make time to rest.
Sexuality, fertility, and birth control
Your body needs at least 4 to 6 weeks to heal after the trauma of childbirth. Avoid sexual intercourse and putting anything in your vagina (including tampons) until you have stopped bleeding. Your doctor will let you when it's okay to have intercourse.
Your menstrual cycle—and your ability to become pregnant again—will return at your body's own pace. Remember that you can ovulate and get pregnant during the month before your first menstrual period, as early as 3 weeks after childbirth. If you don't want to become pregnant right away, use birth control even if you are breast-feeding.
Most methods of birth control are safe and effective after delivery. But in the first couple of weeks after delivery or if you are breast-feeding, it's best to use a method that doesn't contain estrogen. Talk to your doctor about which type is best for you. For more information, see the topic Birth Control.
Eating a variety of healthy food is important to help you keep your energy and lose extra weight you gained during your pregnancy. Eat healthy foods so you have more energy, make good breast milk, and lose extra baby pounds.
For more information on eating well, see the topic Healthy Eating.
Exercise helps you feel good and helps your body get back to its prepregnancy shape. In general, you can start exercising 4 to 6 weeks after delivery. But check with your doctor before you start exercising, especially if you had a cesarean birth (C-section).
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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