Welcoming a new life into the world is a life-changing experience that comes with its own set of challenges and changes, both physical and emotional. As the journey of pregnancy ends and a new life of motherhood begins, the postpartum check-up is critical. The postpartum periods is often referred to as the “fourth trimester”, so management should be valued just as highly as the first three trimesters. It is common practice for new mothers to have a 6-week check-up with their GP or gynae, but the importance of a 6-week check-up with a physio is often overlooked. The physio postpartum check-up is crucial for ensuring optimal physical recovery, restoring strength and function, and having the appropriate education and support available regarding any postpartum concerns. The physio check-up is almost always significantly longer than the GP check-up, which allows adequate time for thorough assessment and goal setting. The physio postpartum check-up can occur from 6-weeks postpartum, but we are here to help with any other pains, niggles or concerns before this.
The Significance of Postpartum Check-up:
The postpartum check-up, typically scheduled around six weeks after delivery, is designed to assess the mother’s recovery, monitor her physical and emotional health, and provide essential guidance for the journey ahead. It also important to discuss goals and have solid plans in place for achieving these goals.
Components of a Postpartum Check-up:
The postpartum check is designed to address any and all concerns following labour and delivery and is tailored to every individual and their goals. These are some of the things we cover in our assessment:
- Pelvic floor function, including assessing the tone, strength, endurance and coordination of the muscles
- Assessing for prolapse and any compromise to nerves, muscles and fascia (connective tissue)
- Bladder function, including leakage, pain and incomplete emptying
- Bowel function, including constipation, urgency, faecal incontinence
- Sexual function and paving the path for a successful and pain-free return to sex
- Abdominal separation
- Breastfeeding concerns, including mastitis
- Any pain or niggles throughout the body
Making the Most of Your Postpartum Check-up:
- Prepare questions: Jot down any concerns or questions you have prior to the appointment to ensure we address all your worries.
- Honesty is key: Be open and honest about how you’re going. We hold a safe space for you with zero judgement. We understand that every mum is different, and we respect the importance of your choice and autonomy over your body. We are here support you, and accurate information is crucial for effective care. In the postpartum check-up there is no such thing as TMI (too much information)!
- Think about your goals: What would you like to get back to? What are your ideal outcomes postpartum? Having an understanding of your goals and the things that are most important to you helps us to help you as best as possible
The postpartum checkup serves as a vital bridge between pregnancy and postpartum life, offering mothers the chance to prioritise their physical and emotional well-being during this transformative phase. By engaging in open communication with healthcare providers and actively participating in the assessment and treatment process, mothers can pave the way for a healthier, more confident start to motherhood. The postpartum journey is unique for every woman and seeking support isn’t always top of the list in this busy period, but remember that you can’t look after everyone else if you don’t look after yourself first!
~ Lucy Hayes, Physiotherapist