Your post-natal check
You usually have a post-natal check 6 weeks after you give birth. The check will usually be with your GP and is to make sure you're recovering properly after giving birth. However, in some circumstances you may need to visit the hospital for further follow up checks.
You should book your 6 week check directly with GP. The check may be at the same time as your baby’s newborn physical examination.
Your doctor will examine you and will check:
- blood loss
- healing after a tear
- your caesarean section wound
- your breasts
- your pelvic floor
- how you're feeling as part of your mental health and wellbeing
You may also want to talk to your doctor about having sex. It is important you discuss contraception at this appointment.
You should tell your doctor if you're:
- feeling sad or anxious
- experiencing a persistent low mood
- suffering with incontinence or constipation
- suffering with haemorrhoids (piles)
- having problems sleeping
- experiencing painful intercourse
6 week check up / vaccinations for baby
Resting and sleep
It's important to get as much rest and sleep as possible after having your baby to help with your recovery. Try to get extra rest during the day when your baby is sleeping.
Sleep and tiredness tips on the NHS website
Recovering after a vaginal birth, tearing and stitches
Some women experience a perineal tear, which is the area between your vagina and your anus (back passage), during a vaginal birth or
episiotomy. An episiotomy is a cut made by your obstetrician or midwife in your perineum to make the opening of your vagina wider so your baby can be born more easily.
Many tears are small and may heal on their own. Deeper tears or episiotomy cuts will need stiches to help the area heal. The area may be painful for a few days or weeks after giving birth. You should make sure the area stays clean to stop infection.
Talk to your midwife or health visitor if you have any concerns.
Assisted delivery - recovering from an episiotomy
Recovering from an episiotomy on the NHS website
Recovering after a caesarean (c-section)
Recovering from a caesarean can take longer than a vaginal delivery. You may need to stay in hospital for longer.
Recovering from a caesarean on the NHS website.
It is normal to have abdominal cramps two to three days after your baby is born. This is your womb contracting back to its pre-pregnancy size. You may want to take some pain relief to help ease the pain. Before you take any pain relief medication check with your pharmacy / doctor or midwife that it is safe to take during breastfeeding.
Your midwife and doctor will check your abdomen and womb at your post-natal checks. You should let them know if it feels sore when they check your womb as this maybe a sign of infection.
After giving birth you also need to look after yourself. Keeping healthy and active is important for post-natal recovery and may help prevent post-natal depression.
It's usually recommended to wait until your 6 week postnatal check before taking part in any high-impact exercise, such as running. However, you may start earlier if you feel fit.
If you have had a caesarean section your recovery may take longer. Speak to your doctor, midwife or health visitor.
Find out more about
keeping fit and healthy after a having a baby on the NHS website.
Giving up smoking is best for your health and your baby’s health. Passive smoking is especially dangerous for babies because of their less developed airways, lungs and immune system.
If you want help giving up smoking contact
Pelvic floor, going to the toilet and your bladder
A weakness in your bladder is common after giving birth. You may leak urine if you cough, laugh or move suddenly in the first few days or weeks after giving birth.
If you're still experiencing bladder weakness after giving birth you should talk to your doctor, midwife or health visitor. They may refer you to a physiotherapist.
You should practice pelvic floor exercises when you can to help.
Find out about
pelvic floor exercises on the NHS website.
Haemorrhoids, also called piles, are very common after giving birth and will usually reduce in the post natal period.
Find out more about
piles and treating them on the NHS website.
Bleeding after birth
After you give birth you will bleed from your vagina, this happens regardless if you have a vaginal or c-section birth. It will be heavier than a normal period so you’ll need super-absorbent sanitary towels or pants with absorbent pad built in.
Change your towels regularly to keep away infection. You should only use tampons after your six week postnatal check as they increase your chance of getting an infection.
The bleeding will decrease in the weeks following your birth. This should be minimal after 6 weeks. If you have any large blood clots you should tell your doctor or midwife.
Stress, baby blues and post-natal depression
It's completely normal to feel a bit down after giving birth, but if you're mood remains low you should speak with your Health Visitor or GP.
Find out more about