Jun 15 2009

Ideas to help with your childbirth recovery

WARNING: This post is for pregnant ladies. It contains lots of TMI that’s “too much information,” Grandma, but I’m sharing it in the hopes that it’ll help someone. If you’re squeamish about childbirth things, don’t read it! Instead, go to this web site.

Ah, recovering from childbirth. We touched on the topic in my Bradley childbirth class, and I remember reading about it in one of my pregnancy books. Still, I didn’t quite process the effect childbirth would have on my body for a few weeks after delivery.
I was so focused on learning about how to get the baby out and how to parent a newborn that I neglected to really learn about what would happen to me.
My experience is unique to me. Other moms might have an easier or harder recovery time. You might not tear, really! I’d like to share what worked for me and what I plan to do next time in the hopes that it can be of some benefit to you. Please don’t let this post scare you from childbirth! It really isn’t that bad — it’s uncomfortable and painful at times but you’ll be fine. It’s just, there are things you can really do to make yourself more comfortable and I want to share my bag of tricks with you.
Normally, I don’t spend much money collecting things to pamper myself. The post-partum period is one exception well worth making.
TMI warning: When I gave birth, I had a second-degree tear. My midwife stitched me up, though apparently she didn’t do it right. I healed wrong and scar tissue developed. I had surgery on Friday to repair me. It was called a perinoplasty. Lovely, right? Anyway, I’m experiencing some of the similar discomforts of the initial childbirth recovery, though not quite as bad.
If you’re giving birth at a hospital, be sure to ask during the tour what freebies they’ll give you to make your recovery easier. That way, you’ll know what you will still need to buy.
When she heard I needed surgery, one of my friends gave me this postpartum recovery kit. It has helped so much! I’ve used all of it. Loved the tea, the sprays, balm, and bath herbs. The bottom spray and balm has been just as effective as the medical-grade stuff I received from the hospital, but its made from natural ingredients which is nice.
You can get the same kit a little cheaper from Amazon.com, and you can get free shipping. Here’s my affiliate link for it if you wanna use that.
  • Donut pillow – Oh, my aching tookus! After you send a human through your birth canal, you’re going to be sore! And swollen! And tender! Putting pressure on your bum can really hurt for those first days and on the car ride home. Get a donut pillow from the pharmacy and bring it with you to the hospital. I didn’t have one, but boy do I wish I did! I had one for my surgery recovery and it was worth every dollar of that $20 it cost.
  • Sitz bath — Your hospital might send you home with one. It’s a handy little bowl that fits inside the toilet seat. You fill it with hot (or cold) water. It has a bag for you to put more water in, and you can add more water as the water in the bowl changes temperature. You’ll sit in it for 20 mins or so per day, several times per day to make your perineum feel better. It’s nice! If you don’t have one, you can try using your regular bath tub. Be sure to get the OK from your health care provider.
  • Peri bottle — Also from the hospital. A peri bottle is simply a small water bottle. Fill it with warm water and squirt it on your perineum as you go potty. It’ll take away some discomfort (especially if you had a urine cathether — UGH!). It’ll also help rinse away some lochia, which is the blood and clots that you’ll lose after giving birth. It helps to keep you clean. Just dab some toilet paper to dry yourself. Don’t even bother trying to wipe right away.
  • Colace — A stool softener. I requested a Colace while in the hospital because I was terrified of going poop. It made that first poop as a mom much easier. You won’t bust through your stitches (I think…) but it kinda feels like you’re going to, so a gentle stool softener (not laxitive) can help. Ask your doc.
  • Dermoplast — My hospital gave me a can of Dermoplast, which is a spray designed to alleviate itching, burning and general pain. Its cool mist did feel good, though it made the air smell terrible. Toxic, even. A possibile alternative is the Earth Mama Bottom Spray, which is made from natural ingredients. I’m using that for my surgery recovery and I love it. It has a nice fragrance of cucumber.
  • Bottom balm — After spraying, you might find comfort with some bottom balm, also from Earth Mama. It’s cooling and soothing. I’m using this now, too.
  • Tucks pads — Some women deal with hemmerhoids. The hospital might send you some Tucks pads but if not, you can make your own with some witch hazel.
  • Mesh undies — Your hospital will probably hand you some mesh undies. They’ll probably pop a pair on you without you even realizing it, while you’re cudding your baby. These things are so handy! Since they’re disposable, you don’t have to worry about ruining your underwear. They will hold your pads and cold packs.
  • Ice packs — Some hospitals will have cold packs that are specialy designed for the perineum. Be sure to get some to take home with you. They’re cool enough to help with swelling, but not so cold as to give you frostbite. Put it straight on your perineum and put a heavy-duty pad under.
  • Maxi pads — In the first few days, you’ll need the huge hospital-grade maxi pads. You’ll be bleeding a lot. Fear not. Change em every time you go to the bathroom. You’ll probably want to have some long pads with wings when it’s time to step down in absorbancy. After maybe two weeks of that, you might switch to a lighter pad or a pantiliner. I think I bled for about four weeks, though it wasn’t much after maybe that first week.
  • Exercise ball — I loved my exercise ball while pregnant, and doncha know it’s handy for the post-partum time. If you don’t have a donut pillow or want to sit somewhere else, the exercise ball can still support your weight without putting too much pressure on your bottom. Bonus: Hold a fussy baby, sit on the ball and bounce! Calms em once in awhile.
  • Rice socks — Rice socks are handy for just about anything. I used warm ones on my boobs when I was painfully engorged with milk.
  • Lanolin — Helps with cracked and itchy nipples. You won’t need a huge tube, and hopefully you won’t need to use it for long. Other uses for lanolin: lip balm, baby rash soother/preventer.
Maybe you won’t need some of these things. Maybe other products/tools will be on your list. If so, tell me! Post a comment and help a lady out. And if you’ve had a c-section, please share what special things you did to help your recovery. I’ve heard holding a pillow against your belly can help, but other than that I have no clue.
One final thing: Your body is going to undergo RAPID hormonal changes as soon as your baby is born. You might feel weird, or develop some ‘baby blues.’ This is extremely normal. If you feel overwhemed, talk with your husband, mom, health care provider, or friend. We’re here for you!

5 Responses to “Ideas to help with your childbirth recovery”

  1. I second the sitz bath! It was soo awesome! And kinda funny but it gave me a little “alone time”. Time when no one would bother me or ask me anything. Ahhh, 20 minutes of free time! So nice. :)
    The other products sound great. I’ll invest in a few of those after my next birth.
    A nifty trick my nurses did was to open up a small diaper and stuff it with ice then attached tape to put in my underwear. Sooo nice. I never had any official “down there” ice packs, but the diapers worked great.
    Also, for leaving the hospital I brought a pair of cute maternity jeans, hahahah, not happening. Make sure to bring several pairs of comfy lounge pants, as you might get stains on a pair or two. You don’t want anything tight for a while.

    Stacys last blog post..Sugar…what I’ve learned this week

  2. it’s funny how one hospital differs from the other too. With both I had 2nd degree tearing. After Lexi I hurt SO BAD. they gave me a Sitz bath thing, I hated it. it did nothing :( in fact it was so uncomfortable to use I never really used it. I was in a lot of pain for days after her. With Caylee however, I felt great! I don’t know what the difference was. The hospital didn’t send me home with a sitz bath, if they did I didn’t use it cuz of my experience with Lexi. But they sent me home with witch Hazel pads, which were awesome, and that Dermoplast spray, which I actually only used once, in the hospital, it burned so bad I never used it again!

    Oh, and those Mesh Undies! LOVE THEM!! I washed mine out and wore them for a week after (they gave me like 4 pairs) They are great. in fact I didn’t even bring any underwear to the hospital when I had Caylee because I was excited about the Mesh ones. ha ha.

    I didn’t know you could use that lanolin cream for diaper rash or lip balm. I might have to break mine out. I’ve had a tube since Lexi and haven’t had to deal with the cracked nipples thankfully!!

    I have an exercise ball this time around and I’m anxious to use it when I get big, during labor and after giving birth. I’ve sat on while on my computer for the last 6 months or so and it’s been nice.

    Jess last blog post..Wedding pictures

  3. Love this post! Thanks for all the information, Kacie. They just don’t teach you all of this stuff before you have a baby…you’re supposed to just learn “on the job,” I guess. Not what I want at all!

    I like being prepared. I’m sure I’ll have more questions for you as the next few weeks pass.

    Sally Anns last blog post..34 weeks—it’s raining; it’s pouring; it’s shower time!

  4. Bring big comfy slippers. I hardly had any swelling while pregnant…afterwards was another story. I ended up walking around the hospital in my socks, which is NOT a good idea, considering needles, etc. A large full-coverage sports bra is also on my list for next time. Those formula ice packs are still useful if you’re nursing, just tuck ’em in that sports bra when you think you’re gonna pop.

  5. Hi Kacie! I posted a similar list of helps on my blog a few months ago, but I had a c-section (after 23 hours of labor with pitocin), so I found that I didn’t have to deal with the bottom issues (except for some light bleeding).

    A friend of mine had a level 3 episiotomy. She told me that if she had known beforehand the pain that she would have dealt with that she would have opted for a c-section. : )

    Here’s my post on c-section recovery: http://comeapart2.blogspot.com/2009/04/my-favorite-things-c-section-edition.html

    Christys last blog post..nn404 Not FoundnnnNot FoundnThe requested document was not found on this server.nnnnWeb Server at comluv.comnnnnnn

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