The 6 week postpartum blood test: What is it and why is it important?

Written by Alana Mulhall

The lack of postpartum care:

In Australia, women typically have anywhere between 8-15 antenatal appointments. However, within the Australian Healthcare system it is only recommended for women to have 1 postpartum visit (at 6 weeks postpartum).

This alone shows the huge gap in our healthcare system and why so many Mothers are not getting the support and education they need during this critical time.

Shannon from Mothers Mylk stands with her newborn Hunter looking into the mirror.

What is postpartum:

The term “postpartum” is misused referring only to the first 6-12 weeks following the birth of your baby. Please don’t be fooled by this misconception, it takes approximately 6 weeks for the uterus to shrink back down to its pre-pregnancy size, not to fully recover from pregnancy and birth. It will take much longer to continue to adapt to changes within your family dynamics, hormonal changes (starting or stopping breastfeeding), identify shifts and so much more.

Now you can understand just how much change is still occurring AFTER 6 weeks postpartum, which is why we recommend placing a large focus on how you can support your body and mind to adapt to these changes.  

Blood tests:

One of the underlying principles of Naturopathy is ‘prevention is better than a cure’ - Meaning if we can thoroughly and holistically assess your health in the early postpartum period (or even start in pregnancy), we are more likely to be able to work toward preventing the development of conditions like thyroid conditions, postpartum depletion, iron deficiency anaemia and in some cases even postpartum depression!  

The first step to thriving through motherhood and supporting your health is to have some standard blood testing done. The reason for this is because pregnancy places such a huge demand on the body we want to make sure there are no underlying pathologies or nutritional deficiencies.

Each Mama is unique and depending on past medical history, health during pregnancy and lifestyle factors may require different testing. Some of the most important and common blood tests to have at 6 weeks postpartum include:

  • Full blood count (FBC)
  • Electrolyte/Liver function Test (E/LFT)
  • Thyroid profile (including antibodies if there has been a personal or family medical history of thyroid conditions)
  • Cholesterol profile
  • Iron studies
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D (if not assessed in pregnancy)
  • Folate

Other important check ups:

Another important consideration 6-12 weeks after birth is having a check in with a pelvic floor physiotherapist. TPelvic floor physios are specifically trained to assess the pelvic floor and check for concerns like strength, prolapse, weakness, tightness and much more! This applies to both vaginal and caesarean deliveries!

Seeing a pelvic floor physio early in your recovery can assist with ensuring you are recommencing the correct type of exercise to support your ongoing recovery.

Depending on your medical history and transition into motherhood, checking in with a psychologist or counsellor can also be helpful. Due to the large changes that are occurring within hormones, relationships, and identity it can be helpful to have some tools to support you to adapt. There is absolutely no shame in this and the more tools a Mama has, the better! Alternatively PANDA has resources to provide further information on mental health changes during the postpartum period.

Looking for more Mama?

Take the Postpartum Depletion Quiz

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Naturopath session

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Looking for more Mama?

Take the Postpartum
Depletion Quiz

Book an online
Naturopath session

Clinician Recommended Products

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