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In addition to checking you physically, the doctor will also assess your emotional and mental health. Many women feel extremely tired in these early weeks, as night feedings and constant demands begin to take their toll. However, if you are feeling low, overly tired, or depressed a lot of the time, you may be suffering from postpartum depression, so it's important not to ignore these symptoms. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling; he will be able to offer support and refer you to experts in treating depression.
Your doctor will advise you on healthy eating and lifestyle measures. If you smoke, you'll be given information about support groups in your local area to help you stop smoking.
If you are breast-feeding, you may not have a period for a while after giving birth. Although this means you are less likely to conceive, you can still ovulate, so you shouldn't assume that you don't need to use contraception. The doctor or nurse will discuss contraception and sexual health with you and may recommend the progesterone-only pill, which can be prescribed from 21 days if you're breast-feeding.
If you decided to bottle-feed, you will probably have had your first period prior to this checkup and so certainly could become pregnant again. Although your doctor will have already discussed contraception with you, this will be addressed again at your six-week checkup. The doctor or nurse will want to check that you have contraceptive measures in place; if not, he or she will offer you guidance and advice.
Yes, plenty of women feel this way and many wait to resume sex until after their postpartum checkup. During this checkup, the doctor or nurse will be able to confirm that your incision has healed, and offer reassurance about resuming sex. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with having sex before this checkup as long as you have stopped bleeding. When you do have sex, you may need to use a lubricant (KY jelly), particularly if you're breast-feeding since your hormones can cause some vaginal dryness.
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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