The six-week post-birth checkup is desperately failing new mums.


If there’s one thing that we desperately need to support new mums with it’s navigating the postpartum period. For many mums, the six week check-up is there only access point between giving birth (and let’s face it being pushed out of hospital far too quickly) and adjusting to the fourth trimester. It’s also the final point in aftercare; before mum and baby are essentially left to make it on their own. Yet, despite this, many new mums are simply neglected and rushed through the six week check-up.

I was thinking this morning about how I now have a two-year-old but my body is still completely changed by pregnancy-I don’t think I’ve lost any baby weight; my periods are completely different and about 100 hundred other reasons that are too many to list here.

I still remember my post-baby 6-week checkup in a pre-covid time. Nobody asked about my mental health (which was pretty terrible at this point) or my c-section scar which was so sore and raised. All they did was try to get me back on contraceptive-I told them the resentfulness I felt when my husband snored next to me whilst baby screamed was enough contraception for me.

I remember seeing a doctor at five months and asking him when I’d stop feeling exhausted and when I could stop wearing high-waisted giant knickers because everything tugged on my scar.

He reminded me that I had major abdominal surgery and that we send women off from these surgeries every single day without any aftercare.

After spending my whole pregnancy with excellent care, a flurry of specialist appointments and scans and every angle and possibility explored it felt pretty shit to realise that once Jude was here, it was only the baby they really cared about.

We need to do so much more to support new mums and the care shouldn’t stop the second we’ve given birth. I spoke to lots of new mums who told me the same thing.

Hannah from @hannah_hubbleday said: ‘I remember thinking my stitches hadn’t healed properly, but was close to the six-week post-birth checkup so assumed they’d look then. There was absolutely no mention of looking at anything on me & I was too embarrassed and tired to ask. I remember crying on the way home feeling like nobody cared and that it was a box-ticking exercise. Seeing as my Husband had also been deployed, the pushiness over contraceptives just added salt to the wounds.

Mother holding six-week old baby.

Shireen who runs about life with endometriosis said: ‘I was really forced onto contraception at 6 weeks despite the fact I hadn’t been on any for almost three years. I was essentially infertile and could only carry a baby via IVF. My health visitor at the time was amazing (unfortunately she moved away and then I had an absolutely awful health visitor) and would rush around to see me when I was bawling my eyes out down the phone to her, but medical personnel couldn’t give a toss.

Lily from @lilyslittlelearners who recently gave birth said: ‘I haven’t been given a six-week post-birth checkup. My baby is now 10 weeks and has had an eight-week check, but there was no ask of my health. I’m struggling. My scar is still so sore and raised. I feel super run down and so tired no matter how much sleep I get. There are so many appointments through pregnancy and for the first week of baby’s life, and then it’s expected that you should be totally fine as if you’re not important.

Six-week old baby.

Emma from said: ‘After a five-minute chat about me I was told ‘we really need to move on and talk about the baby now’… Brilliant! Thank you!”

Annabelle Devitt said: ‘My doctor made me bleed badly with an examination referred to me because ‘I wasn’t healing quickly’. I was rushed out with a rough paper towel in my knickers and a crying baby. She told me I needed to leave as the ten minutes were up so I didn’t even have time to put him in his pram. She was really rough and made me bleed really badly. My episiotomy had come open and got infected. I eventually got a referral to see an obstetrician who was horrified and said it wouldn’t heal naturally so she cut and restitched me three months post-partum. The worst thing is, is I think I’m one of the lucky ones. A lot of women are left with tearing that hasn’t healed. Women are so badly failed’.

Newborn baby.

Betsan De Renesse, who runs an online pre and postnatal fitness rehab website called The Glow Method at home said: ‘I was refused a six-week post-birth check up post c-section. Apparently my Doctors don’t offer it. The care is shocking! Due to a mix up over the bank holiday I also didn’t get to see a midwife… I even googled when to remove my c-section dressing!’

Carla Corigilano said: ‘I had a baby in December via c-section. I had to chase the six-week post-birth checkup so many times. It eventually ended up being in person, but at the same time as my baby’s 8 week check so they only asked me four questions while they were checking over the baby. Apart from the midwife one day after my c-section, no one has ever checked my scar’.

C-section birth.

Another woman I spoke to who preferred to remain anonymous said: ‘Mine wasn’t recent, but it was awful. I’d had a traumatic birthing experience that ended in an emergency c-section. I was physically, mentally and emotionally broken. I was struggling. Each midwife who came to see me told me I was letting my daughter down because I was topping her up with formula. They told me I looked tired but never offered help or support. At my six-week post-birth checkup they didn’t check my scar or ask about my parenting experiences so far. They kept asking me if I was depressed to which I replies no. Their version of delving further into matters was to ask if I was sure, and that was it. My appointment lasted a total of five minutes! Years later I discovered I had broken tubes caused by an infection from the c-section. It basically caused infertility and we couldn’t have a second child. Something they could have probably picked up on through a thorough examination or at the very least checking my notes’.

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