Having regular medical care during your pregnancy – known as prenatal care – is important because it gives your provider an opportunity to look after you and your pregnancy, and to catch any complications early, when they're easiest to treat.
That care should continue after your baby is born. Both you and your baby need to be seen by health care providers. A pediatrician sees your baby regularly to check on their health, give vaccines, and so on. And you continue to visit your doctor or midwife for postpartum care, which is also known as postnatal care.
At Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology, our team of care providers makes sure you get the postpartum care you need. Why is it so important? Here, we explain the type of care you receive and why you should be sure to keep your postpartum care appointments.
Your post-pregnancy body
Your body experiences many changes during pregnancy. After you have your baby, your care team keeps an eye on you as you recover from pregnancy.
Having regular postpartum care is important because it allows us to watch for problems that may occur and to help you take care of your post-pregnancy body.
Here are some of the things we address during your postpartum care appointments:
Your body takes at least 6-8 weeks to heal after delivery, and longer if you had a difficult birth or certain pregnancy complications. .
Abdominal or vaginal pain
Your provider checks to make sure your uterus and birth canal are returning to normal, and to ensure that any incisions you received are healing properly.
Because of hormonal changes, many women get a case of the blues after giving birth. But a type of more serious clinical depression, known as postpartum depression, occurs after 15% of births. Your provider asks you about your mood during postpartum visits and gives treatment recommendations if you are depressed.
Be sure to tell us if you’re feeling sad, anxious, or angry, or if you are thinking of hurting yourself or your baby. Depression is a medical issue that can be successfully treated.
Although breastfeeding is natural, that doesn't mean it always goes smoothly. Be sure to tell us if you're having trouble with breastfeeding, or if your breasts or nipples feel painful, sore, or inflamed. Your provider may refer you to a breastfeeding coach for help.
Constipation and hemorrhoids
Unfortunately, both constipation and hemorrhoids are fairly common in postpartum women. If you have them, your provider gives you advice on how to manage and relieve them.
Bleeding and vaginal discharge
Some bleeding and discharge are normal, but too much can be a sign of a medical problem. Call us right away if you experience heavy bleeding.
Weight loss, exercise, and nutrition
Although you're probably in a hurry to get back to your prepregnancy weight, it's not good to lose your baby weight too quickly. During your postpartum visits, your provider advises you on weight loss and answers questions about your postpregnancy eating and exercise plan.
If you have any health conditions that require medications, your provider makes sure that you’re taking the types and doses that are right for you now that you've had your baby.
Sex and birth control
Your provider will talk with you about when it’s safe to start having sex again. They will also explain your birth control options and recommend a birth control method that aligns with your health and your family planning needs.
If you intend to get pregnant again, your provider talks with you about how long you should wait to conceive.
The best care for your postpregnancy body
Our providers at Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology want to help you have the best possible postpartum health. Schedule an appointment with us by calling our office in Albany, New York, or using our convenient contact form.