Tips To Speed Up Postpartum Recovery
You’ve spent months planning and prepping for baby, but you might not have spent as much time planning your postpartum recovery. But don’t worry we’ve got you covered! Here are 15 ways to speed up postpartum recovery.
How Long Does It Take To Heal From Vaginal Birth?
The time it takes to recover after giving birth vaginally varies greatly. Tearing, stitches, an episiotomy, and the use of forceps or vacuum extraction can all lengthen the healing process. However, most women feel should be fully recovered by 6-8 weeks postpartum.
15 Tips To Speed Up Postpartum Recovery
Below are 15 of the best ways to speed up postpartum recovery after vaginal birth. Although, don’t worry if you didn’t give birth vaginally, a lot of these tips will help if you had a c-section as well.
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1: Get The Right Postpartum Pads
Before checking out of the hospital, grab as many pads and mesh panties from your postpartum recovery room as possible. They are much better than regular pads, and while they are not the most attractive, they rock!
The first few days postpartum you will be bleeding quite heavily, so you will go through pads quickly. Having good pads are essential!
After a few days you should be able to switch to regular pads, but for the first few days, use the pads provided from the hospital or get some good adult-sized diapers! Don’t worry they are super comfortable, come in different colors, and are more like underwear! This will help prevent any accidental leaking in the first few days!
2: Ice To Relieve Postpartum Swelling
After giving birth, your vagina will most likely suffer some swelling, bruising, and if you tore or had an episiotomy, stitches! Your vagina is going to be tender and will need some serious TLC!
Applying an ice compress or padsicle, is an easy, effective way to get immediate relief in the first 24 hours after giving birth. They even have these maxi pad-shaped disposable ice packs available if you don’t want to go the DIY padsicle route.
If you prefer to use a regular ice pack, wrap the ice pack with a soft, absorbent material and ice for 15-20 minutes per hour as needed.
Clean, washed, and conditioned pre-fold cloth diapers are super absorbent (obviously) making them perfect to wrap around an ice pack!
Make Your Own DIY Postpartum Padsicles
You will need:
- Pads (the larger the better)
- Alcohol-free Witch Hazel
- Organic Aloe Vera
- few drops of Lavender Oil
Pour the ingredients down the middle of the pad, making sure to not over saturate it (the pad should still have some absorbency). Fold the pads how they were and store them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Use as needed.
3: Postpartum Sitz Bath
A Sitz bath is a shallow bath (up to your hips) of warm water, used to heal, cleanse, reduce swelling, and ease pains.
You can also use a portable Sitz bath (which is easier to use than filling the bath) that sits over a normal-sized toilet.
You can use either warm or cold water depending on preference, but cold water has been found to provide more relief in the hour following the bath than warmer water.
Soak in the Sitz bath for about 20 minutes 2-3 times per day.
Benefits of a Sitz Bath After Giving Birth Vaginally
Taking a sitz bath helps to
- Reduce Swelling
- Clean the area (reducing the risk of infection)
- Increase blood flow (helping the area to heal and repair tissues faster)
- Heal Hemorrhoids
What To Put In a Sitz Bath
You can go with just water or you add additional ingredients to the water such as oatmeal, lavender, or Epsom salts. If you are worried about adding extras to the water, talk to your doctor first.
Oatmeal Sitz Bath
place a cup of oats in a pair of pantyhose, clean sock, or muslin bag. Place the bag inside the Sitz bath (like a tea bag) and let it steep for 5 minutes to infuse the water with all the oaty goodness.
Remove the bag from the sitz bath and soak in the bath for 20 minutes.
Epsom Salt Sitz Bath
Fill your bathtub or portable sitz bath with warm water. Add half a cup of pure organic Epsom Salts and mix until dissolved. Soak in the bath for 20 minutes.
Lavender Oil Sitz Bath
Place 2-3 drops lavender essential oil in the sitz bath and mix well. Soak in the bath for 20 minutes.
4: Witch Hazel For Postpartum Swelling
Alcohol-Free Witch hazel is another great herbal remedy that can help reduce swelling, fight bacteria, prevent infections, reduce itching and pain from hemorrhoids, help stop minor bleeding and provide hours of relief due to its astringent properties!
I like to keep witch hazel in a spray bottle and keep it near the toilet for easy application. Spray the witch hazel directly on your postpartum pads or using a cotton ball apply witch hazel right after you have finished going to the bathroom!
5: Don’t Hold It In
Going for a bowel movement after giving birth can be a bit difficult and daunting if you have an episiotomy or tear.
Make sure to eat fiber-rich foods and drink plenty of fluids to make the process easier and less painful.
Gently push out when you feel the urge, but don’t force it. Although it can be scary try not to hold it in, which will cause you to feel constipated and increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids.
Eat foods high in fiber, drink plenty of water, and use stool softeners. If you need a little help, eat some prunes, do some gentle yoga stretches and use a laxative!
If you’re having trouble going or you can feel your stool is on the harder side, use some coconut oil to lubricate the area. Coconut oil also has antibacterial and healing properties.
6: Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Postpartum
Keep doing your Kegels, they help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and will help with bladder control issues postpartum.
If you’re not sure how to do them don’t worry Kegels are easy! All you have to do is imagine you are trying to stop your urine mid-stream. Hold that contraction for two seconds and then release. Do this 10-20 times in a row 2-3 times per day, five days a week.
Kegels are a great way to tighten up your pelvic floor muscles, but if you are still having trouble with bladder control or leaks postpartum, ask your doctor about other exercises or devices that can help.
7: Use A Hairdryer
You will probably want to avoid any rubbing for the first few days. If you choose to use toilet paper, blot and don’t wipe. Alternatively, you can use your hairdryer!
After using the toilet, peri bottle, or taking a Sitz bath, grab your hairdryer and put it on the cold setting. Open your legs, aim the hairdryer around 6 to 8 inches away, and blow-dry for up to 2 minutes.
8: Soothe Yourself With Black Tea
Another great way to speed up postpartum recovery is to use black tea! Black tea has anti-inflammatory properties which can help soothe and ease any perineal pain. Steep a black tea bag in a cup of boiling water and allow it to cool completely.
Once cool remove the bag, squeezing out most of the water. Place the cold tea bag on top of a pad to hold it in place and prevent staining your underwear.
9: Easily Relieve Postpartum Itching and Pain
Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray relieves pain and itching fast and can easily be sprayed on after using the bathroom or when needed. It helps to cool and numb your tender private parts fast.
If you prefer the DIY route, you can also make your own healing spray.
Fill a spray bottle half full with alcohol-free witch hazel, add 3-5 tablespoons of pure organic aloe vera gel, and add up to 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Shake well before each use and spray.
10: Spray Don’t Wipe
The first few days postpartum you will likely feel tender. Don’t wipe with toilet paper, instead, use a Peri Bottle.
So what is a peri bottle?
A Peri bottle is basically a plastic squirt bottle.
You fill it with water and squirt it over your perineal area to clean. In addition, a peri bottle can be used to decrease sensitivity and pain while urinating by squirting the water simultaneously around your vagina while you pee.
If you don’t have a peri bottle and choose to use regular toilet paper, just remember to blot and not wipe!
11: Diet To Speed Up Postpartum Recovery
While it may be tempting and convenient to order take-outs, now is the time to really fuel your body with the good stuff. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and try to eat as clean as possible.
In addition, drink plenty of water and eat lots of fiber and protein-rich foods as well, to keep everything regular and to help with healing.
12: Take Pain Meds
There is no need to suffer, if you are in pain or feeling extra sore don’t be afraid to take something to relieve the pain. But always check with your doctor first, especially if nursing!
Check with your doctor which pain medication is best for you and take it as prescribed. Ibuprofen is a good option as it helps to reduce inflammation and pain.
13: Speed Up Postpartum Recovery With Rest
Although obvious, this tip is usually the hardest to accomplish. You’re excited to learn and get to know your new baby, you’ve got visitors knocking on the door every 20 minutes, and when you do get a moment to yourself, the baby wakes up screaming.
It’s not easy to get the proper rest you need, but your body needs it! You will recover much faster by not pushing yourself. Every second you get alone or while the baby sleeps REST!
Ask a family member or friend to prepare lunch, don’t worry about the dishes, etc. rest, rest, and then try and rest some more. Mentally and physically you will need it.
14: Ask For Help
You will most likely have a stream of family and friends visiting after giving birth and take advantage of it. Now is not the time to play host!
Don’t be shy to ask someone to walk the dog, prepare some food, or even watch the baby for 40 minutes so you can take a quick nap.
Asking for help postpartum is not a sign of weakness, it is smart. The more rested and relaxed you are the faster your recovery will be.
15: Use a Donut Pillow
A donut pillow is a great way to help relieve some of the discomforts you may be feeling postpartum. It helps to take the pressure off your tailbone and perineal area.
Speed Up Postpartum Recovery Conclusion
Postpartum recovery can be tough, but there are ways to make it easier. From making healthy diet choices and using a donut pillow for tailbone pain relief, to taking medication when needed and asking for help from friends and family members – taking the time to implement these 15 tips will pay off with an easier postpartum period. Speed up your own recovery by incorporating some of our recommendations in this article!
Sunday 11th of November 2018
Tucks pads are also extremely helpful. Store brand works just as well and has the same ingredients/ quality as the name brand and is a lot more friendly to the wallet PLUS has an option for a bigger container. (Walmart carries these over the counter) These and the perineal ice packs are a life saver! (CVS online.. in- store if you get lucky, or amazon) Ladies need to know not to forget to always have a second set of postpartum supplies on hand just in case you leave the house. You might think you won't need that perineal bottle or extra set of mesh panties right up until you sit there crying because you do. Use that new cute diaper bag for your supplies as well as baby's. And always remember you are a beautiful badass new mom with the best job to do.
Sunday 11th of November 2018
Thanks Katy great advice! :)