Best Postpartum Vaginal Recovery Tips
For months you’ve been planning for your baby and have ticked off and bought all the things your little one will need, but there is one vital list you need for you mom! The Postpartum Vaginal Healing Guide Checklist!
This article is for those who gave birth vaginally as I don’t have experience with recovering from c-sections, although some of the tips help no matter how you gave birth! 🙂
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Prefer watching to reading? Check out the video below!
1. The Right 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!
I personally made the mistake of just bringing regular pads to the hospital when I gave birth to my son and soon realized they were pretty useless…
Heavy bleeding and large clots can leak out of regular pads too easily, even if you do double up and overlap them! Use the mesh panties, ladies!
Also, things can take a while to readjust down there, so there can be leakage from both the front and back… for the first week, rock those mesh panties, if you run out use adult diapers, certainly not glamorous but wow do they make a difference.
Once your out of the mesh panties, make sure to wear 100% cotton underwear, you want all natural around your nether region, no synthetic materials!
2. Reduce Swelling With Ice
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!
You will need:
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. Sitz Bath
So firstly what is a Sitz bath? and how do you make it or take it?
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 teabag) and let it steep for 5 minutes to infuse the water with the all the oaty goodness. Remove bag from 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 bath for 20 minutes.
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4. Use Witch Hazel
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!
How to Use Witch Hazel Postpartum
You can either buy witch hazel pads or make your own by pouring some witch hazel on a pad and freezing it. You can also spray witch hazel directly to the area.
5. Ease Pooping After Giving Birth
When I first had my son I was terrified to poop! Just the idea alone sent shivers down my spine… I thought my stitches would all rip out if I pushed too hard, I think I was more scared than actually giving birth!
Going to the bathroom doesn’t have to be scary though, I promise! Make sure you go when you need to go, do not hold it in… it will only make things worse, trust me on that one!
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 your 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. Do Your Kegels
Keep doing your Kegels, they help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and will help with bladder control issues postpartum.
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 hair dryer and put it on the cold setting. Open your legs, aiming the hair dryer around 6 to 8 inches away and blow dry for up to 2 minutes.
8. 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 to cool.
Once cool remove the bag, squeezing out most of the water. Place the tea bag on top of a pad to hold it in place and prevent staining your underwear.
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. Use a Peri Bottle
As mentioned in #5 you will want to avoid using toilet paper to wipe and dry your nether regions. It can feel like sandpaper and you certainly don’t want to be pulling pieces of toilet paper off from around your stitches! Even blotting can be tender. 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.
11. Take Ibuprofen
Ibuprofen can reduce pain, reduce cramping and even help with postpartum bleeding. It’s also is safe to take while nursing, but it’s always best to consult your doctor first.
12. Healthy Diet
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.
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.
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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.
15. Use a Donut Pillow
Having a sore va-jay-jay is not fun. Take some of the weight and pressure off your tender region by sitting on a donut pillow.
Not only will a donut pillow help support your back, but it will also provide relief by keeping your delicate area away from hard surfaces!
Have you got any tips not mentioned here? let me know in the comments!