Your body (more specifically, your birth canal) goes through a lot to deliver a baby human into this world! The damage left behind on your vagina can be nothing more than a few minor stretches or it can be severe with 4th-degree tears and worse. When you have a newborn to take care of, recovery can be pretty tricky and painstaking!
We get it, momma! We're here to help!
Here are some tips to speed up the recovery of your lady parts so you can get back to doing what you should be doing post-partum!
Spending time with your precious baby!
Tip 1: Use Ice Packs
Ice will help reduce any vaginal swelling that you will be dealing with post-partum. It also doubles down as a temporary anesthetic, cooling and numbing the area and providing relief for a short while. Just make sure that no ice is directly touching your skin or you could cause some tissue damage, not pleasant!
What to Do?
What you could do is make an 'icepack sandwich'.
- Place your ice pack directly underneath your max pad.
- Use mesh underwear as the underlying support that holds your icepack in place.
Ice packs are only effective 24-hour post-labor, so be mindful of this tip. Also, do not use an ice pack for longer than 20 minutes at one time as this can cause nerve damage, so take breaks!
Tip 2: Take Some Stool Softeners
All that pushing throughout your labor is going to have some serious implications on your bowel movements for the next couple of days. Add also the fact that your blood circulation has been diverted from your digestive system during labor and it's no wonder taking a number two is just as bad as a number one. The consequence of both is that bowel movements can become painful, difficult, and irregular.
What to Do?
In order to avoid the tension and discomfort, here is what you could do!
- Take the stool softeners your doctor will prescribe to you post-partum. There's a reason for them!
- Try to consume more fiber-rich foods just until your bowels regulate. This includes, but isn't limited to prunes, legumes, and raspberries.
Both of these can help your bowel movements pass more easily and help get your digestive system back to normal more quickly. Don't be miserable!
No matter how dreadful it might feel to poo, you should never hold it back because this can cause constipation and make things a lot more difficult!
Tip 3: Use the Bümmaa Post-Partum Pillow to Help You Sit (and Heal)
Next, it is that you avoid putting pressure onto your perineum. This will not only help speed up your overall recovery but it will have an enormous impact on your overall comfort post-partum.
As your body goes through healing, the best thing you could do to help is avoid irritating the area any further. That can be difficult to do post-partum especially considering the fact that you now also have a newborn baby to care for.
You can expect to be on your bottom for the bulk of your time in the first month as this is an essential part of your post-partum recovery (and it's not like you will have the energy or want to actually walk around). And if you’re planning on breastfeeding and/or pumping, you can expect to be sitting a lot more and far beyond just the first month. It doesn’t matter how comfortable your nursing chair might feel right now, it will feel a lot different after you deliver your baby!
What to Do?
There is only one solution to this problem!
- Invest in a good post-partum pillow! In other words, invest in the
Most first time moms don’t think about the importance of getting a support pillow because, well, they don’t know what to expect post-partum.
Benefits of the Bümmaa Post-Partum Pillow:
- You get to sit without the additional pain because nothing touches your perineum!
- The Bümmaa also encourages proper posture, reducing lower back strain. This makes sitting a whole lot more comfortable especially since you will also be dealing with post-partum contractions!
- It's cute and portable... and super light-weight! Take it with you everywhere you need it!
- The soft microfiber coverslip is removable so that you can keep it looking brand new for years to come (..or for as long as you'll be making babies)!
We can't stress the importance of making sure to use a post-partum pillow after delivery. It will really make a difference on your overall recovery.
Tip 4: Soak in A Sitz Bath
A sitz bath is a fancy way of saying a tub slightly filled with lukewarm water. Soaking your perineum in lukewarm water helps cleanse and disinfect the area preventing infection, encourages blood thus promoting quicker recovery, and helps relieve itching and pain. Additionally, sitz baths are more effective at reducing vaginal swelling than ice packs, after the 24-hour mark.
What to Do?
When it comes to sitz baths you have a couple of options.
- You could use your own bath tub. If you choose to go with this option you would first have to sterilize it with a mixture of 2 tbsp bleach to 2 quarts water. Then you would fill your bathtub with 3-4 inches of lukewarm water and submerge your perineum in the bath for about 20 minutes.
- If you prefer something a little more practical, you could purchase a small sitz bath kit which comes pre-sterilized and fits conveniently over your toilet. Similarly, you would fill this with lukewarm water and submerge your perineum for about 20 minutes.
Once you have 'bathed' your perineum, gently pat the area dry with a clean cotton towel, making sure not to irritate the area.
Make sure to sanitate your bath between uses to prevent infection. Also, ask your doctor about using a sitz bath to see if they would also recommend adding antibacterial additives to your bath.
Tip 5: Try the Midwives' Padsicles
Padsicles are frozen sanitary pads usually covered in a mixture of herbs and/or aloe. They are more of a homeopathic version of post-partum care that has been passed down by midwives over the years, and for a good reason! This is the go-to post-partum treatment for many moms!
They are beneficial because they combine the ice pack and the pad eliminating the need for mesh underwear while providing added benefits.
What to Do?
There are many recipes for padsicles, however, the favorite tends to be the aloe and witch hazel padsicle.
To make them you will need:
- Sanitary Overnight Maxi Pads
- 1 Spray Bottle
- Large Freezer Plastic Bags
- Organic Aloe Vera
- Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel
- Optional: Lavender Essential Oil or Tea (whichever is accessible)
Once you have your ingredients, you can make your padsicle(s).
- Combine 4 parts witch hazel, 4 parts lavender, and 1 part aloe vera and mix it in your spray bottle.
- Open your sanitary pad without removing any of its wrappers.
- Spray your sanitary pad with a thin layer of your spray bottle solution.
- After the solution has settled, fold your sanitary pad back up and 'reseal' it.
- Repeat to make as many of these pads as you think you might need and place them into your large freezer bag(s).
- Place the plastic bags of padsicles into your freezer.
You can stock up on your padsicles while you are pregnant so that they could be ready to go when you need them!
Since padsicles are frozen, it is still recommended that you use caution and make sure that the 'ice' is not directly touching your skin and that you don't use them for longer than 20 minutes at a time to avoid both tissue and nerve damage, respectively.
Tip 6: Do the Nurses' Vagina Repair Routine
If you will be delivering at the hospital, this is the post-partum regime that you'll be introduced to instead. It offers the same type of benefits but, instead, it uses the manufactured forms of similar ingredients.
What to Do?
You shouldn't have to purchase these because they are usually given to mom at the hospital, however, just in case, you will need:
- Sanitary Overnight Maxi Pads or Disposable Mesh Underwear
- 1 Peri Bottle
- Witch Hazel Cooling Pads
- Anesthetic Spray
- Optional: Knit Underwear (recommended if you are using maxi pads as they help keep everything a little more secure)
Make sure to have these nearby your toilet because this routine revolves around your bathroom breaks.
- Before using the restroom, prepare your peri bottle by filling it with lukewarm water.
- While you pee, use your peri bottle to spray down your perineum you ease any pain caused by your acidic urine touching open wounds.
- Continue spraying after you are finished peeing to fulling cleanse the area.
- Gently pat your perineum dry to avoid causing any additional irritation.
- Spray your perineum with the anesthetic spray.
- Then get a fresh max pad or mesh underwear and line it up with 4-5 Witch Hazel cooling pads before putting it on.
- If you are using a maxi pad, you could put on knit underwear to keep it more secure.
It's a process, but it will make your post-partum recovery so much easier and quicker!
Try to change out your pads/mesh underwear every hour or so in the first weeks and every 2-3 hours until your post-partum period stops, to promote healing and recovery and to avoid infection. You will also note that consistent rotation of cooling pads, and additional anesthetic spray, also helps with your overall comfort!
Tip 7: Strengthen Your Pelvic Core with Kegels
Pregnancy and labor can cause the muscles of your pelvic floor, your urethral and anal sphincters, to stretch and weaken. These muscles control the holding back and emptying of your solid and liquid waste. A weakened pelvic floor means that bowel movements can be more difficult and that you can experience urinary incontinence or a leaking bladder. In other words, you can find yourself peeing yourself when coughing or sneezing or when performing strenuous tasks like lifting or pulling.
This is where Kegels come in. Kegel exercises are extremely easy and very effective in re-strengthening your pelvic core muscles.
What to Do?
To do Kegels you must first isolate your pelvic floor muscles. You can do so by learning what they feel like.
- Try to hold back from peeing or, in other words, "contract your urethral sphincter", next time you need to go.
- If you're successful at holding back your pee, you will have discovered what muscle you are then to practice contracting, or forcefully squeezing upward.
Essentially, Kegel exercises are variations of this contraction.
After you have isolated your pelvic floor muscle, you can start strengthening them with Kegels. Here are some of those exercises.
- Hold a contraction for at least 8-10 seconds.
- Then focus on performing 10 fast-paced contractions in a row before relaxing again.
- Repeat this three times daily for at least 15 weeks for the best results.
You can, and should, always up your repetitions when you feel more comfortable with the exercise. If you still need help isolating your pelvic floor muscles, talk to your doctor.
There you have it! Prepare in advance and take the tips to heart and you’ll have the most pain-free and quick post-partum recovery that is possible so that you can focus the rest of your energy on your baby instead! Trust us, we have been there, we know!
We hope that we could be a part of your motherhood journey! Good luck momma!