As you prepare to head in for your six-week postpartum check-up, you may be feeling a bit nervous (Is everything healing right down there? Do I look normal?) and maybe even a bit excited to resume, ahem, activities.
And while your OB/GYN will make sure that you are physically healed and prepped on the right birth control plan, there are a few more questions you should consider asking at your check-up.
Take it from these experienced moms and be sure to get the most out of your postpartum check-up, because we all know it’s easy to let those important questions slip your mind when you’re busy taking care of a baby!
What’s the best way to exercise my core?
Most doctors give women the all-clear to exercise as normally, but don’t provide a lot of information on how specifically to address the problem areas that pregnancy can cause, especially in the abdominal area.
“I wish I had asked for more guidance/information about diastasis recti,” says Elizabeth Ann Waggoner. “I feel as if this is a problem and annoyance for many moms but is rarely mentioned.”
Diastasis recti, when your abdominal muscles remain separated, is a very real medical condition that can be caused by pregnancy. Unfortunately, diastasis recti can actually be worsened with many traditional core exercises, such as planks and crunches, so it could be helpful to ask your doctor for any resources that he/she knows of, such as physical therapists to diagnose and help you treat the condition if it happens to you.
How can I talk to my partner about breastfeeding and sex?
Your partner may be excited to get things moving in the bedroom again, but if you’re breastfeeding, it may be helpful to understand that it’s totally normal if you experience some sort of lowered sex drive. The hormone responsible for your body’s ability to milk, called prolactin, is also a hormone that physically lowers your sex drive.
So on top of dealing with exhaustion, body changes and the stress of, you know, caring for another human being dependent on you to live, you also have your own body working against your sex drive. It’s normal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your partner will understand it fully, so have a conversation with your provider about how to best approach having the talk.
Who should I turn to if I think I have postpartum depression?
While your OB/GYN may be able to point you in the right direction and potentially screen for the first signs of postpartum depression, he or she is most likely not specifically trained to treat and diagnose the full spectrum of mood disorders that a postpartum woman can experience.
“All the articles say talk to your provider, but the problem is that most of them don’t have the proper mental health training,” explains Dr. Pec Indman, EdD, MFT, a women’s mental health expert. “I really encourage people to be good consumers and get the information themselves if they can.”
Symptoms for postpartum depression can occur up to a year after you give birth, so even if you’re feeling mentally strong at your six-week check-up, you could develop depression later. And if that happens, it’s best to have a plan in place of whom to call to get the help you need, so be sure to ask your provider for any resources he or she knows of while you’re in the office.
Could my exhaustion be something more?
Every doctor on earth will expect a new mother with a newborn to say that she is feeling tired, right? But don’t be so quick to write off your tiredness. If you’re feeling overwhelmingly exhausted and experiencing other symptoms, such as irritability, mood swings, and low energy levels, it could actually be your thyroid.
Pregnancy can sometimes mess up the hormone levels in your thyroid and cause hypothyroidism.
“A friend of mine ended up having hypothyroidism after pregnancy,” comments Ty Schmidt, a mom of two. “I remember still feeling so exhausted at six weeks postpartum. I was happy as a clam but just so tired. Obviously I was taking care of a newborn, but I remember asking my doctor if it was normal…it was a legitimate concern.”
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TapGenes Takeaway: We know you’re tired, so let us help you get prepared for your postpartum check-up!