Jun 15 2009
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!