As medical professionals who deliver antenatal care, obstetricians are experts on all things related to pregnancy. Because of this, you may assume that your obstetric care ends after your hospital stay following your baby's delivery. However, there are some instances where you may need to see your obstetrician following your little one's arrival.
You want to discuss future pregnancies
If you don't want this pregnancy to be your last and you have a reason to want to discuss your plans, talking to an obstetric specialist is worthwhile. This is especially the case if you previously struggled with falling pregnant. The doctor you talk to can provide advice on lifestyle changes that may increase your chances of falling pregnant, or they can discuss any concerns you have about the safety of future pregnancies.
Discussing future pregnancies can also be reassuring when you encountered problems during your most recent one. For example, pre-eclampsia, placental problems and gestational diabetes often result in anxiety. Your obstetric specialist will discuss these anxieties with you and help you decide on a safe course of action for your next pregnancy.
You'd like to talk about contraceptive choices
When you want to control your fertility or if you decide you don't want any more children, talking over your contraceptive choices is wise. The immediate post-birth period is often awash with rumours surrounding what will and won't result in pregnancy. Despite some common misconceptions, breastfeeding isn't a dependable contraceptive.
Your obstetrician is also the best person to help you find a contraceptive method that works with your plans and your body. If you have experience with types you like or dislike, they can direct you accordingly. Similarly, if you're looking for a long-acting method, they'll help you there too.
You need someone to check on a tear or episiotomy wound
Around 15.1% of Australian women require an episiotomy and some may encounter birth tears. Most wounds will heal with few problems, but if you notice anything unusual, it's worth discussing the matter with an obstetric specialist. Pain that won't go away, unusual smells and swelling that isn't reducing are all reasons to discuss your wound. Your OB may prescribe antibiotics and/or painkillers to help you move through the healing process.
Overall, an OB continues to help women return to their pre-pregnancy state throughout the few weeks that follow their birth. In addition to providing medical advice and assistance, they're excellent at delivering reassurance.