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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Postpartum Recovery | Taking Care of Down There

Postpartum Recovery

I'm going to talk about lady parts in this post, so click around to something else if the thought of that grosses you out or if you feel people should just keep certain things to themselves.  I, for one, wish more women would talk about the hard parts of life right after having a baby.  It's not just hugs and kisses on a cute little newborns sweet, chubby cheeks.  There's pain, and excretions and grossness involved.  It's not fun, it's not pretty and during the process it's truly the part of having a baby that makes you not want to have a baby again.  Not the birth itself, no, because your adrenaline (and drugs if you opted in) are in effect during delivery.  It's the time afterwards when your body must be gently cared for as you attempt to heal and recover from the beautiful, yet traumatic experience of giving life.

As for me, when Madison was born I had a hard time recovering because I tried to take too much on too soon. I also had a tear in my perineum (the area between the anus and the scrotum or vulva).  This go round I knew to take it easy, yet with it being my second time at it I was able to tell when I was ready to take on more.  I also had a tear the second time around and it was worse than the first.  With that said, healing down there took lots of attention and plenty of time.

Below I share a few tips to help you care for your perineum if you have a tear.

1.  Stock up on Must-Have Products


Before I even went to the hospital I bought all of the items listed below myself and packed them in my labor-delivery bag.  The hospital will provide you with these items; however, if you purchase them yourself that's one less thing to have added to your hospital bill at an inflated price.

  • Dermoplast - A spray that's used in the vaginal area to numb it to help with pain.
  • Tucks Medicated Pads - Hemorrhoidal pads with witch hazel that helps to soothe irritation, pain, burning and itchiness. 
  • Depends, Maxi Pads, Panty Liners - I used the Depends at first as it was easier to keep everything contained throughout the day and especially at night.  I then switched to pads as the bleeding became lighter and then to panty liners once I was spotting only.
  • Perineal Spray Bottles - I had three that I kept in rotation, filled with water to spray off my vaginal area every time I went to the bathroom. Every single time.
  • Perineal Cold/Ice Packs - I didn't buy these and just used the ones that were at the hospital while there.  I didn't see a need for these after leaving the hospital but you may feel differently.

2.  Take Your Medication

With the birth of my first I called myself being a superwoman thinking I didn't really need the medicine.  With the birth of Morgan, I recognized my need for pain medicine and took them as prescribed, weaning myself off as soon as I felt ready.  Also, you'll be offered a stool softener in the hospital. Take it! And take the prescription for it too or ask what's recommended so that you can grab it when you're at the pharmacy.  Trust me.  Take it.

3.  Pat Dry (No Wiping)

I'm sure you know that there will be no full on wiping for a while down yonder. Since you're going to be spraying yourself with water after each visit know that it will help to wash most things away.  Afterwards, pat yourself dry to keep from irritating any stitches, sore areas or causing further irritation.

4.  Don't Hold It

You absolutely must poop as soon as you have the urge no matter how scared you are, and you will be scared.  It's not going to be comfortable, my friends. but the stool softener I mentioned earlier does help.  Listen, if you hold it you'll only get backed up or constipated and it'll be worst than if you'd just done it already.  Ask me how I know. You know how I know.  So save yourself added pain and frustration and get it out. 

5.  Shower or Bathe Daily (see Sitz Bath below)

#MajorKeyAlert:  Make time to shower or bathe every single day. Every. Single. Day!  I know what you're thinking, "of course, I'll shower or bathe every day", but you'll find that your day can get away from you when you're in the throws of taking care of a newborn, especially if this is your first child.  So yeah, this needs to be said.

Showering is your best option during the first few days after giving birth.  Once you're up for sitting in the tub, baths can be very soothing.  Not only is it imperative that you keep your vaginal area clean every day and throughout the day, it's also good in that it gives you a chance to steal away by yourself and do something for yourself.  Really, it truly does make you feel better each day, not just down there, but in general.  So again, make time to do it.

Sitz Bath 

A Sitz Bath can offer so much relief from pain, irritation and soreness. I suggest doing them in the bathtub (versus the one you can buy that allows you to just submerge your bottom in the tub you place over the toilet - but whatever floats your boat).  To make your own Sitz bath check out these two pins:

6.  Go Bare Bottom

Seriously, let that area breathe! No, you can't do this right away. But eventually you'll stop bleeding and will be able to go commando a bit while you're at home continuing to recover.  Just try it.

7.  Stay Off Your Bottom (as much as possible)

Some women are not only dealing with perineal pain but they also develop hemorrhoids. Sleeping or lying on your side, not sitting/standing for long periods of time and sitting on soft cushions or donut pillows can help to relieve some of the pressure down there.  So whenever you can, stay off of your bottom until you start to feel more comfortable.

Extra Tip - There may be irritation/itching around the labia/vulva due to the stretching that occurs in that area due to birth.  The irritation and itching will feel like you've gotten a yeast infection in just that section but it's likely that it's just your body working to heal from the stretching.  Applying Dermoplast to that area in particular can help to control the irritation in addition to keeping it clean and dry.

Last but not least, rest! Nothing promotes healing like the act of resting. Give yourself and your body time to restore itself after such a beautiful yet traumatic bodily experience. Relax when you can, sleep when baby naps, and truly focus on recovering. Remember that when you take care of yourself you're better able to take care of others.

So try to relax, soak in each moment with your baby and take care of yourself, mama!

Be Intentional,
Photo by Natasha Smith Photography
This post contains affiliate links (disclosure policy).
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8 comments

  1. These are all spot on tips! The ice packs were my best friend for like a week after delivery. And the huge granny panties are the perfect pair to have in your hospital bag because if you happen to have a C section, you won't want to wear your cute hip huggers.

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  2. Im about to deliver my second one in 2 months so this is a great reminder

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  3. Happy Parenting to you! Such great tips and with a C-Section ice packs and cotton swabs are necessary.

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  4. I know plenty of people who have had children. You are the very first person that has mentioned some of these things to me...and that shocks me! You're right. No one talks about these things as much as the birthing process. Now that I know, I can take that into consideration whenever I start thinking about having children!

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  5. Great great tips! New Mommas will thank you as they are searching online trying to find answers and tips like these. Great post!

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  6. Great tips! I didn't need any medication after my second, but I needed it fully for two weeks after my first! SO different each time.

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  7. Oh these tips are SO on point!! Thankfully I was lucky enough not to tear with any of my four (just minor "skid marks" as they're called!) But, what that area goes through is still traumatic!! I'm glad you're sharing this information because too many new mamas just aren't well prepared, which makes it so much worse.

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  8. THANK you for writing this post. My doctor failed to do an episiotomy, and I tore SOO bad. It took 45 minutes for him to stitch me up. I still have pain to this day. This is definitely a blog post that needed to be written.

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