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The importance of postpartum care

Postpartum care, or care you get after your child is born, is key in helping you stay healthy right after your pregnancy, but it’s about more than just caring for yourself right after you deliver your child. It can also help improve your overall health long after your pregnancy and make sure you have healthy pregnancies in the future.

doctor with pregnant patientAccording to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), mothers should have an initial postpartum checkup within three weeks of giving birth, with ongoing care as needed. Within 12 weeks of giving birth, you should have a postpartum assessment to look at your overall health, including your physical and mental health.

What to expect during a postpartum checkup

March of Dimes recommends talking with your doctor about a postpartum care plan before you deliver your baby to make sure you have a smooth transition. During a postpartum checkup, your doctor will want to get a full picture of your health. Here are some things you can expect to talk about during these visits.

A physical exam

Your doctor will want to do a physical exam to make sure you are recovering well from labor and delivery. The exam will also help your doctor catch any health issues early, such as any lasting bleeding, low iron levels, infections or blood pressure changes.

Additionally, you will want to make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations to help keep yourself and your baby healthy.

Your physical health

Your doctor will ask you about your diet, sleeping habits and fatigue. It’s normal to feel tired and stressed after giving birth, as your baby will need a lot of attention and care. Talk to your doctor if you are having any issues staying healthy. Your doctor can help by offering you ideas about how you can manage your own health while taking care of your new baby.

Your mental health

Your doctor will check in with you on your mental wellbeing. Be open and honest with your doctor about how you are feeling. Long-term feelings of sadness, worry or lack of energy and motivation can point to signs of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a kind of depression that some women experience after having a baby. According to the Office of Women’s Health, 1 in 9 new mothers have postpartum depression, making it a common issue many women may face. If you have symptoms of postpartum depression, it’s a good idea to meet with your doctor and talk about how you can take care of your mental health.

Your baby’s health

Your doctor will ask you about your baby’s growth to make sure your baby is healthy. Your doctor may also discuss when your baby should start getting certain vaccines to stay healthy and avoid disease.

If you have any questions about your baby’s health, including concerns about breast/bottle feeding, be sure to write them down so you can bring them to your visit.

Any pregnancy issues

Your doctor may talk about any problems you had during your pregnancy and how you can prevent health problems in future pregnancies. For example, if you had a premature birth, you have a higher risk of having a premature birth in another pregnancy. If you plan to have more children, talk to your doctor about what you can do to prevent health risks in any future pregnancies.

Even if you aren’t planning to have more children, problems you had during your pregnancy may affect your health in the future. For example, if you had high blood pressure while you were pregnant, your risk of heart disease may be higher. Talk to your doctor about ways to lower your risk of health issues after pregnancy. 

Need a doctor for your child?

Use our Find Care tool to search for a doctor for your child. Log in to your account at or log in to the Blue Cross of Idaho member app and select Find Care. From there you can filter your search by location, specialty and more.

Download the Blue Cross of Idaho member app in the App Store or Google Play.