We hear a lot about how tough pregnancy can be on the body, but we talk less about what happens to your body after vaginal delivery. We’ve put together tips to help you to heal.
Maybe this is obvious, but it’s also the easiest tip to not follow. You have a completely new person to take care of—and if this is your first it can be even more daunting trying to learn how to become a mom.
An adrenaline-fueled panic triggered by your newborn screaming for the last 20 minutes can make resting impossible. But make sure you take the time you need to get some sleep and heal. This may mean getting extra support and sleeping when your baby sleeps, whenever that may be.
2. Use the Sitz Bath
Even though the human body is designed to allow a fully-formed being to come out of it doesn’t mean it isn’t going to hurt.
If you were given an episiotomy, or experienced tearing, you’re going to need to keep your stitches clean. If you did not receive any sutures, your vulva is still likely to be swollen and tender (and let’s not even mention what pushing a baby out does to your rear end). A sitz bath will help keep your undercarriage clean and the soak will be soothing to those exceptionally ouchy bits below.
3. Wear Extra Maxi Pads
After nine months of period-free bliss, post-birth bleeding can be very heavy. We’ve already mentioned how tender things down there could be, so a little extra padding won’t hurt. Putting two pads side-by-side, or overlapping pads from front-to-back, will give you extra coverage and protection. You can also make “pad-sicles” by wetting some pads with aloe vera and witch hazel and freezing.
4. Wear Those Mesh Undies
OK, they’re ugly and ridiculous, but unless you have a large supply of cotton undies that you don’t plan on ever wearing again, those babies will come in handy. You can’t use tampons for at least six weeks after giving birth, and even if you double up on your pads you’re still most likely to experience occasional overflow.
Take a few extra pairs from the hospital and use them the first week home. Bonus points when you realize you can throw them out instead of adding to the laundry pile.
5. Hover or Lean
Did we mention that you’re going to be sore “down there”?
If you find that sitting on the toilet causes your pelvic floor to become achy, try hovering over the seat like you’re in a public restroom, or, lean to one side. Finding a comfortable position for those first few days post-partum is a necessity.
6. Ice Packs are Good
If you had a hospital birth, there’s a chance that your recovery nurse has already brought you some ice packs. Whether you sit on them or you tuck one in your undies, ice is going to help soothe the swelling and tenderness.
Never leave ice on for longer than 15 minutes, and make sure you have a protective layer of fabric between your sensitive skin and the pack.
7. Wipe with Medicated Pads
Witch Hazel is the active ingredient in hemorrhoid pads, and that means they are going to soothe and cool your lady parts. If you’re one of the many, many women who has developed hemorrhoids during pregnancy or childbirth you’re going to want to have these on hands to help with the pain back there–but they’re also approved for use on vaginal tissue. Use these pads to wipe every time you go those first few weeks–your bottom will thank you for it.
8. Start Moderate Exercise
Rigorous workouts will be off-limits for at least a few months after delivery. In the meantime, you can start mild-moderate exercise, like walking.
Moderate exercise helps in fighting gas and constipation and also increases blood circulation. Mild exercise also helps in toning and strengthening your muscles.
Not to mention, exercise helps lift your mood and resist stress. A lot of new moms become overwhelmed in the first few months, this is a great way to help combat it.
9. Use A Soothing Spray
You can use the numbing spray after birth to soothe the tender area in the perineum. Various sprays are available over the counter, and you can use any after consulting your doctor.
10. Do Kegel Exercises
Your pelvic floor will be weakened after delivery, so you’ll want to start doing kegel exercises as soon as you feel ready.
This is especially true if you are worried about your sexual health and wonder how to regain strength after delivery.
Kegel exercises are an effective way of bringing your vagina back to shape and also in getting a better bladder control. You can start the exercise whenever you feel comfortable.
To start the exercise first, you should empty your bladder. Then tighten the pelvic floor muscle and hold it for 3-5 seconds. Relax the muscles after that. Repeat these ten times. The main advantage of this exercise is that you can do it any time and in any place.
Go easy on yourself if you can’t do ten. Do as many as you can and you will slowly regain strength.