Your 6 Week Postpartum Exam

Getting Back to Normal

If all is well with your health and well-being, your doctor will likely give the all-clear sign for you to resume normal activity. Women who had vaginal deliveries can exercise again, and c-section patients can drive, lift heavy objects, and exercise as well.

And for all types of deliveries, your doctor will probably tell you it's safe to start having sex again, though it may very well be the last thing on your sleep-deprived mind. However, you'll get around to it sometime, so you'll need to have a talk about contraception. "One of the most important parts of this checkup is family planning. It's possible to become pregnant right after coming home from the hospital," says Margaret Comerford Freda, a registered nurse and certified health-education specialist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Barrier methods of birth control, such as a diaphragm, need to be checked for fit since your cervix may have changed size after pregnancy.

You may want to change birth control methods entirely; what worked for you before may not fit your new life. If you used to take the Pill, for example, you may decide to try an IUD because taking medicine may now be the last thing you want to remember to do each day. It's also wise to ask your healthcare provider about new forms of contraception. Some may have come out during your pregnancy.

Before you leave your doctor's office, be sure to take the opportunity to ask any lingering questions you may have about your new post-baby body -- and new life as a mom. Getting the answers you need will make the transition to motherhood that much smoother.

Alicia Brooks Waltman, a mother of two, is a writer in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, October 2004.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your won health or the health of others.

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