A postpartum appointment after a loss is used to make sure that you are recovering from the birth. Your provider may talk with you about how you feel physically, discuss genetic test results, birth control options, and if and when you might want to try again. This can be a difficult conversation. But having a good support person can make this an easier time.
What should I expect?
Depending upon the type of loss, your obstetrical team may or may not have been a part of your birth. Medical records about your delivery will be given to them but this may not occur in a timely manner. This delay could mean that you are the first to tell your medical provider and the office staff about your loss. If you have the ability to schedule your appointment, ask to have your appointment in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid waiting rooms with several other pregnant women. You can also ask to go back to a room instead of sitting in the waiting room. You will have an exam that may include a blood pressure and weight check. You may also be asked to give a urine sample. If you had stitches or a C-section, your provider will check them. Be prepared to discuss how you are feeling, any discomfort or pain that you may have, and any warning signs to seek medical attention. Your results from genetic testing may also be discussed during this appointment if you had them done in the hospital. This will likely be the first appointment and/or first time seeing your medical provider since delivery. Remember that it is ok to have a flood of emotions. Acknowledge your loss and those emotions. This is a part of the process and it helps your provider to give the care that is specific to you.
A few tips from other moms
- Be prepared for the doctors to not ask about the loss of your baby or how you are dealing with it. Tell them how you are dealing with it. Share if you are not dealing well or need additional support.
- Don’t go alone.
- Be prepared to have a pregnancy test done.
- The office staff probably doesn’t know about your loss. So, they may ask you questions about how’s the baby. This hurts and in most cases the staff never want to cause you pain.
- Some doctors want to know when you want to try again for another child. You may want to talk about this and it also may make you feel upset when you have just experienced a loss.
- You may have questions that financial counselors can help navigate about paying bills. Ask them if you can wait on having that conversation until after you have had time to process everything.
How do I care for myself at home?
Here are a few things to remember about healing and care at home after delivery:
- Use pads instead of tampons for the bloody flow that may last several weeks after delivery while gradually tapering off.
- Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve), to ease cramps. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Ease soreness of hemorrhoids and the area between your vagina and rectum with ice compresses or witch hazel pads.
- Ease constipation by drinking lots of fluid and eating high-fiber foods. Ask your doctor about over-the-counter stool softeners such as Colace (docusate sodium).
- Cleanse yourself with a gentle squeeze of warm water from a bottle instead of wiping with toilet paper.
- Take a sitz bath in warm water several times a day.
- Talk to your doctor about how to ease discomfort from your milk coming in.
- Ask your doctor about when it is okay to have sex. Many doctors recommend waiting about 4 to 6 weeks. This gives your body time to heal.
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