6 Real Tips on Caring for Your Body After Vaginal Birth
There is something so magical about the few weeks before you're about to give birth — the anticipation about your new bundle, what labor will be like, and the getting on to the next phase of your life (i.e., raising a child).
Just like any huge event, preparation before the big moment can go a long way, and that's so true for birth as well. You've probably read up on what to expect during labor, but make sure you're taking time to get a little peek into what healing after birth will be like as well.
When I was giving birth to my first child almost nine years ago, I didn't take time to read up on the “after.” Yes, I went to childbirth class, but I was so worried about the labor part that I forgot everything about the postpartum healing.
I didn't have a great birth. It was filled with a lot of complications and interventions, and because of that, healing was not easy for me. If you're about to give birth, here are six real tips on how to care for your body after a vaginal birth. They should help you have an easier postpartum healing.
Stock up on Epsom salts
If you've been given the OK from your doctor to bathe, adding Epsom salts can aid in comfort and healing. After my first birth, which resulted in a whole lot of stitches, an episiotomy, and tearing, taking Epsom baths a few times a day helped me heal faster and made me feel a whole lot better, too. It's similar to a sitz bath, but a whole lot larger. If you don't have the OK to bathe, ask about a sitz bath!
Freeze your pads
After any sort of injury, you probably know that using ice can help reduce swelling and control pain. Well, the same is true for your body after a vaginal birth. You can use any ol' ice, but there are better ways to aid healing, and that comes in the form of your feminine pads, some water, and witch hazel.
Invest in disposable underwear
I didn't discover the disposable underwear until my third birth, and once I did, I was sad that I didn't know about them sooner. Some hospitals give them out to women after birth, or you can buy them, but either way, this product makes the whole “after” easier. You don't have to worry about staining your underwear, it's soft enough for even a rough vaginal delivery, and they're surprisingly comfortable.
Take the prescribed over-the-counter medications
After my first birth, I left with an instruction sheet from my doctor that had advice like making sure I took medication like ibuprofen, stool softener, and acetaminophen — and I just shrugged off the advice. A few days later, I was so angry with myself because those medications would have stopped complications from happening and, well, I should have known!
If your doctor suggests taking some medications, even if they're over the counter, be sure you ask questions and take them. Yes, that stool softener is going to be needed even if you drink gallons of extra water.
Use a peri-bottle
After birth, the lady bits are probably sore even if you've had a relatively uncomplicated delivery and even more so if you needed some interventions. Because of this, going to the washroom can be painful as well, and that's why you need to use a peri-bottle. It's basically just a squirt bottle that you fill with warm water and spray on your sore spots when you're using the washroom. It helps neutralize the sting and gently cleans the area at the same time.
Pat dry, don't wipe!
It doesn't matter what premium toilet paper you've bought, hoping it will not cause undue pain, it will. Using the washroom after a vaginal birth is no picnic, and it's even more challenging after any interventions like needing an episiotomy or having a forceps or vacuum delivery.
So avoid wiping after using the washroom, and instead pat your lady parts dry and use that peri-bottle I mentioned. If you've got swollen areas or stitches, the toilet paper is not going to feel great, so avoid it where you can.
What are your tips for caring for your body after vaginal birth? Share in the comments!