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What To Expect From My First Post-Partum Checkup

Chief Editor | Published on February 16, 2023

It might seem like a lot of time has passed since your very first prenatal appointment, but now that you’ve had your baby, you will need to visit your gynaecologist at least one more time. In Singapore, your doctor will probably schedule a post-partum (also known as postnatal) check-up between 4 to 6 weeks after you deliver your baby via vaginal birth. If you had a caesarean section or a more complicated birth, or any health issues, you may be asked to come in earlier.

What’s The Purpose Of A Post-Partum Checkup?

It’s mainly to check on your physical recovery from both the pregnancy and the delivery, to see how you are coping emotionally with your new baby and the changes it incorporates, and to answer any pressing questions you may have or problems you may be facing.

What Will Happen During The Physical Examination?

  • Your weight and blood pressure will be taken.
  • If you had gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, your ability to process glucose will be tested via an oral glucose tolerance test, to ensure that it’s back to normal.
  • Your doctor will examine your abdomen to check if your muscle tone is returning; and if you had a caesarean section, to ensure that the wound is healing well.
  • Your breasts will also be examined to ensure there are no lumps, abnormal discharge, clogged ducts or mastitis. According to obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Tan Thiam Chye, your doctor will ask if you are facing any breastfeeding issues, such as difficulties with latching on or if you are concerned about not having enough breast milk.
  • A pap smear will be performed to check if your cervix has any abnormal cell changes.
  • If you were anaemic during your pregnancy, a blood test will be done to determine your blood cell count.

“There are supplements that can be used to enhance breastfeeding and consultations with lactation nurses can also be arranged.”

Dr Tan Thiam Chye, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Topics That Your Doctor May Discuss With You

  • Birth control — it’s important to note that you can start ovulating before your first period, even if you’re breastfeeding, which means that you can get pregnant again soon after having your baby. Using contraception is advisable because it’s best to wait at least 12-18 months between pregnancies so that your body can rest and recuperate.
  • You may be asked how you are coping with your newborn, how you are dealing with being a new parent and the state of your support systems (for example, help from family and friends). This is to see if you are suffering or susceptible to postnatal depression.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor any questions you may have on sex, such as if it’s okay to resume your sex life. Dr Tan notes that many couples find it difficult to resume their sex life after having a baby for many different reasons including sexual dysfunctions such as having a dry vagina after delivery, resulting in painful sex. In such cases, lubricants are usually recommended.

Other Things To Take Note Of

  • Feel free to ask any pressing questions you may have — make a list of these questions beforehand so they don’t slip your mind.
  • Do contact your doctor for a consultation if you have symptoms such as heavy bleeding, engorged breasts, pain or are suffering from the baby blues.
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