While the birth of a baby is nothing short of a blessing, navigating through life after birth can be terrifying, especially during those first few weeks. You may find that your favorite outfit has been temporarily replaced with a stylish, multi-functional nursing vover and you’re more likely to wear nipple shields than jewelry. Postpartum changes can affect you physically and mentally and leave you feeling a wide range of emotions, many of them all at the same time. The good news is, you typically see your doctor right around your six-week postpartum and will have an opportunity to share these feelings. This appointment is a health check as well as a time for you to ask any questions you may have. I know it can be overwhelming to think of questions or topics you’d like to discuss with your doctor, so here are some starters:
Can I Resume Birth Control?
For the first six weeks, abstinence is the most commonly suggested method of contraception. This is especially true if you’re breastfeeding as this will ensure your milk supply is not affected. After the six-week mark, unless you’re hoping for another baby right away, birth control is fair game and there are plenty of options out there. Again, depending on your family planning goals, your doctor can insert an IUD which can last up to six years, but can also be removed at anytime. When taken properly, a daily contraceptive is another great option. Telemedicine companies like Hers are making it easy and convenient to order your birth control pills online and have them mailed to your home. This is especially great for new moms who want to avoid unnecessary trips to the pharmacy and spend more time snuggling their new baby!
When Can I Start Exercising Again?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while pregnant is not always easy. You are constantly fighting fatigue and let’s not forget about those insane cravings. Whether you stuck to an exercise routine throughout pregnancy or not, you may be interested in getting into some type of fitness postpartum. Depending on your delivery and how you’re feeling, your doctor may clear you for light exercise right away. This includes walking and some upper body workouts.
However, if you’ve had a C-section, it’s extremely important to wait at least six weeks as you should not be lifting anything over 10 pounds during this time. Regardless, it’s important you listen to your doctor and your body before beginning any kind of physical activity. If you’re not careful, you may end up doing more harm than good.
How Emotional is Too Emotional?
At this appointment, it’s likely your doctor will want to know how you’re bonding with your baby. While feeling a bit in over your head is normal, especially with all the new life changes happening, there are clear signs to be aware of when it comes to postpartum depression. If you’re experiencing these signs, it’s crucial you’re honest with your doctor. They can get you the help you need so you can get back to being the best mom for your new baby. This type of depression not only affects mothers, but fathers too, so know the signs and be aware for your partner as well.
Am I Ready For Intimacy?
Some women are too sore to resume physical intimacy postpartum but want to express their feelings in alternate ways. Other women feel ready just days after delivery. While the amount of time you take off from intercourse is up to you, it’s recommended that you allow your body to heal in that six-week timeframe after giving birth. The birth of a child can be traumatic for a woman both mentally and physically, so if you’re not feeling up to sex right away, it’s important that your partner respect you. No one’s timeline for healing is the same and listening to your body should be you and your partner’s first priority. However, if time goes on and you’re still feeling a lower desire for sex than before, your doctor may be able to suggest ways in which you can boost your libido and get things re-heated in the bedroom.
While these are just a few of the points you can bring up at your six-week postpartum appointment, don’t be afraid to go beyond these parameters. You know your body best and if something doesn’t feel right, chances are it may not be! Advocating for yourself will not only get you the answers you’re looking for when it comes to your health, but will also help you to be the best mom you can be to your new baby!