Your 6 Week Postpartum Exam

Your Incision & Your Uterus

Most doctors and midwives have a laundry list of areas that need special attention after you give birth. That list includes the following:

1. Your Incision. If you had an episiotomy or a tear during a vaginal delivery, "checking that incision is the first thing on your doctor's list," says Siobhan Dolan, MD, assistant medical director of the March of Dimes in White Plains, New York. "I thought that was going to be the worst part," says Dara Milton of Sarasota, Florida. "But my episiotomy was healing well, so it was painless." Most incision problems occur within 10 days of giving birth, according to Tekoa King, a certified nurse-midwife in San Francisco. If at any time postpartum you notice unusual redness, pain, or fluid coming from an incision, contact your doctor.

If you've had a c-section, you'll probably have a preliminary incision checkup at around two weeks and another at six weeks.

2. Your Uterus, Ovaries, and Cervix. Expect yet another pelvic exam, but this one has a twist -- your doctor is making sure that your reproductive organs are returning to their prepregnancy state (amazingly, your uterus should shrink back to the size of a fist). She'll also check your uterus for signs of infection, such as tenderness. And since this checkup counts for your annual exam, your doctor will feel your ovaries for growths and perform a Pap smear to check for abnormal cervical cells.

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