It is six weeks ago that you gave birth, and baby is more than a month old. At this stage, you’re likely to have many things on your mind. Fortunately, week 6 is the week of the first postnatal check-up – an opportunity for both you and baby to be assessed and for you to ask any questions you might have.
So it’s time for a postnatal check-up?
Yes, it is just about time for your new baby’s check-up – this usually happens at some point between week 6 and week 8. This is nothing to feel nervous about. It is just a routine check on baby’s development where your GP will listen to his heart, stimulate his reflexes, and check his joints, eyes and other essentials.
You may be pleased to learn that it is not yet time for baby’s first jabs – these don’t happen until week 8.
You will also be asked a number of questions about baby’s development in order to see how he is generally and whether he has reached certain milestones – for example, smiling or gurgling. Bring your Red Book along so that everything can be recorded.
What about mum? Does she get a postnatal check-up?
Yes, the 6 week postnatal check is also an opportunity for your GP to hear about how you are getting on. Your blood pressure will be checked to ensure it has returned to normal, questions will be asked to ensure your uterus has contracted and your blood pressure will be taken.
This is also a chance for your doctor to check on your postnatal mood and mental health. Don’t worry, you are not being judged or tested; if you have any concerns, now is the chance for you to discuss them so that you can get the support you need.
Can baby really be crying this much?
There is both good news and bad news in answer to this question: crying usually peaks at around 6 weeks so it’s likely you’re at the worst of it, but it’s also likely that the worst of it is nearly over. However, if your baby is experiencing colic, things may still be pretty intense for the next few months, at which point it should begin to tail off.
Why is baby going bald?
He may have been born with a luxurious thatch, but now he is increasingly beginning to resemble Grant Mitchell. Don’t worry though; this is completely normal. Babies do lose their first hair growth, and when it grows back you could be in for a surprise as it won’t necessarily be the colour it was – it could grow back black, brown, blonde, red or ginger!
How often will baby be feeding in week 6?
Baby is not going to be feeding as frequently as in the initial weeks, and his feeding patterns may also become more predictable. However, if you are bottle feeding you may find the opposite: baby is demanding even more feeds. Check recommended feeding volume guides but don’t worry too much if your baby slightly deviates from these – every baby will have slightly different needs.
Is now a good time to begin enjoying sexual intimacy with your partner?
In theory it may now be medically ok to start having sex again. However, in practice things may not be so straightforward.
It may take you several more weeks or even months before you are ready to begin enjoying sex again. You have a new baby so there is no pressure, and it is important that your partner understands how you feel. This is not to say that you cannot enjoy physical intimacy while you wait, only that it may be a better idea to approach returning to penetrative, digital or oral sex more slowly.
It is also worth remembering that the type of birth you had will influence when you are ready to begin having sex again. If you have stitches following an episiotomy you may feel more cautious, and if you’ve had a swift, natural and uncomplicated birth you might feel less tentative. If you had a caesarean you may wish to try positions that don’t place any pressure on your scar.
If you are breastfeeding, you may have less of an interest in sex because of the lower levels of oestrogen in your body. This could also potentially increase vaginal dryness and possibly reduce clitoral sensitivity. Again, it’s important to discuss with your partner how you feel and remember that the effects of breastfeeding on your libido are only temporary.
Find out more about what to expect in week 7.