In the past, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommended that women visit their obstetricians or maternal care provider for a checkup within the first 6 weeks after giving birth. ACOG has since made a significant change to its guidelines for postpartum care – that it should be an ongoing process and not merely a one-time appointment. ACOG now recommends that women see their obstetrician within 3 weeks after giving birth. This should be followed up with ongoing care as necessary and concluded with a comprehensive visit no later than 12 weeks after giving birth.
So what’s the purpose of this expert recommendation? Why do you need to see your obstetrician when you’ve already given birth? The information below can help you make sense of this.
“The Fourth Trimester”
The “fourth trimester,” coined by Dr. Harvey Karp, is what obstetricians and pediatricians call the 12-week period immediately after childbirth. You may not have heard of it, but you and your baby will go through it. It is essentially a way of describing the time when you and your baby adjust to your new lives.
Your appointment with your obstetrician during this time is an opportunity for them to ensure you are recovering well – physically and emotionally – from your pregnancy and childbirth.
What to Expect During Postpartum Checkups with Your Obstetrician
Depending on your type of delivery (i.e., vaginal or C-section), your doctor will check your abdominal or perineal incision, vital signs, and breasts, among others.
Your obstetrician will likely discuss certain things during your postpartum appointment. These include the following
- Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding
- Bleeding and discharge
- What your overall mood is – Be sure to mention if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm.
- Sleep patterns – both for your baby’s and yours
- When to resume sexual activity
- Your birth control options
- Hydration and nutrition
- Return to activities and work
In addition, your obstetrician will encourage you to enlist the help of your loved ones. Get light exercise daily and avoid strenuous activity, such as heavy lifting or gym workouts, until you’re given the go-ahead. Most of all, take time for yourself so you can be the best parent to your new little one.
Signs You Should Call Your Obstetrician Right Away
Don’t wait to speak to your OB/GYN if you are experiencing any of the following problems during your postpartum period:
- Persistent heavy bleeding
- Fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Bad headache or extreme shortness of breath
- Severe pain or one that is getting worse
- Foul-smelling discharge
Obstetrician in Wooster, OH
If you’re a resident of Wooster, Ohio, and looking for a highly qualified, compassionate, and nurturing obstetrician with whom you can work hand in hand before, during, and after pregnancy, visit us here at the Women’s Pavilion in Wooster Community Hospital.
We’ll be with you every step of your pregnancy right through the end of your postpartum period to ensure you are healthy, happy, and equipped to take on the toughest but the most rewarding job in the world – being a mother.
To learn more about our obstetric care services or to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified obstetricians, contact (330) 202-5550 now. We will be honored to serve you and your family!