The 6 week check used to be a bit of a milestone and something that new mums looked forward to. It was a chance to chat to your GP about your birth, how you were coping and to take some advice on contraception, pelvic floor and perhaps weight loss. Today, GPs are so overstretched this often does not take place. In some parts of the country you will only get a 6 week check if you ask for one. In some places you may be invited for a 6 week check and find you are in and out within 5 minutes. This may not be a big deal if you had a textbook birth and both you and the baby are doing well.
However, if you had a complicated birth, your baby is not feeding well, you are not feeling great and perhaps need some physio, then you will need more time and a more thorough consultation, and not all women seem to be getting this. If you are not invited for a 6 week check and would like to talk to someone about your birth and yourself and your baby then we would suggest that you initiate this with your GP or via your Health Visitor.
Do You Need a Debrief?
Whether you have had a traumatic birth or perhaps just a birth that did not go quite as you had planned and you would like to talk to a professional about your options for your next pregnancy then you may need some form of debriefing.
A Debriefing Session can be very useful if you have experienced
• A long and painful labour
• An emergency C Section
• An assisted delivery (forceps/ventouse)
• A severe tear or cut
• A traumatic experience of any kind during the birth
• Your baby had trouble breathing when he/she was born
You may not understand why certain things happened as they did during the birth and you might feel very disappointed when you think about the birth. Talking to a Professional about the sequence of events and why things happened can help you to feel more confident and empowered about your next birth.
How Do I Get Some Debriefing?
If you are not offered this opportunity by the NHS you can request this via your GP and you should be referred. Failing this you can look for someone to help you as a private patient. If you take this route, it would be advisable to get a proper referral from your GP, preferably with a photocopy of your hospital notes. The photocopy can be obtained , for a small charge, from your maternity unit.
It may feel a bit overwhelming to read all of this and hear about all the things that can go wrong after having a baby. We would like to reassure you that it is usually a very exciting and emotionally positive experience. However, it is good to know about all the “bad stuff” so you can be on the lookout for any of this and hopefully sort it out quickly.
Having a baby can be mentally and physically exhausting as well as exhilarating! You need to be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to do anything other than take care of yourself and your baby.
For more information on what to expect in the weeks after giving birth please do come along and sign up for our Postnatal Course.