Your health after birth
Pregnancy and childbirth put a great strain on your body and it will take time to recover, particularly if you have had a difficult labour or a caesarean section. You may have been ill after having your baby, or you may suffer from a common range of minor ailments and infections that affect new mothers. Your hospital or public health nurse will be able to supply you with details of local postnatal exercise classes.
If you have had a normal delivery, you will have a postnatal check-up after 6 weeks. This is usually carried out either by your GP or your obstetrician. Your GP or obstetrician will discuss any health problems with you and may examine your wound if you had a caesarean section or a tear. They can also advise you on options for contraception. If you are due a cervical smear they may schedule a smear for 3 months after the birth.
Your postnatal check may also include:
- checking your blood pressure, particularity if you had high blood pressure during or after your pregnancy
- weighing you – if your body mass index (BMI) is high, your doctor will give you some advice on ways to reduce this
Your postnatal check and your baby's 6 week check can be done by your GP during the same appointment.
For some women, breastfeeding is established easily, but others find it takes longer to get comfortable. Some find that the demands of a young baby and a new lifestyle make them feel low and, sometimes depressed. This is quite normal after having a baby and help is available.
You can find information on healthy eating during and after pregnancy on the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute website.