JUST had a vaginal delivery?
Then you already know that the business of labor and birth is no joke!
If you’re about to deliver your baby and not really sure what childbirth is all about, then let me the one to break it bad to you – IT’S. NOT. A. JOKE.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to read up and educate yourself on how to better care for your body after you have your baby.
Because the healing process can be long and painful!
Looking after a newborn baby with little to no sleep while trying to heal, is HARD.
Tha’s why it’s essential NOT to neglect your postpartum body. I wouldn’t want you to fall into the trap of thinking it will just heal on its own. Why should you when you can help your body heal faster?
A faster postpartum recovery will give you a chance to concentrate on important things like caring for your newborn baby. Especially when you’re on your own.
There are several things you can actively do to accelerate your recovery and also make sure you recover properly.
Especially when you have experienced an episiotomy or a tear during your vaginal delivery.
The first thing you need to know about promoting healing any kind of open wound is keeping it clean.
If you DON’T keep your wound clean you have very little to no chance of healing.
Cleanliness should be at the forefront of ANY postpartum or baby care. ALWAYS!
So, with that in mind, let’s get started.
KEEP YOUR LADY BITS CLEAN AND AS DRY AS POSSIBLE
This should be your number one priority.
- Have a wash daily – One of my many favourite ways to keep clean was to have a Sitz bath. I recommend that you have one of these baths at least once a day if possible, but just double check with your doctor.
It doesn’t really matter whether you choose to have one in your bathtub or over the toilet – they’re both ok.
- Cleaning After EVERY toilet visit – Use a perineal bottle at every toilet visit – EVERY. SINGLE. ONE (I really cannot stress it enough).
I’m not talking about the homemade, ‘make-do’ kind of perineal bottle – Nah. Mamma, you need a properly made one like this one. One that will reach your lady bits AND your back bit (if you know what I mean).
- Forget about using toilet roll for a bit – it will only stick to your lady bits and stitches anyway!
you may want to use this Mama Bottom Spray – don’t worry, it’s not just for your bottom – it will help you stay fresh and clean after toileting and your Sitz Bath.
- Keep yourself as dry as possible – You want to eliminate moisture and dampness. The drier you stay, the less likely you are to get infections. Do not rub you down below to dry. Instead, after each wash or perineal spray, use an old clean towel and PAT DRY yourself before putting on your clean pad and underwear.
WEAR COMFORTABLE UNDERWEAR AND CLOTHES
The last thing you want to be when you have stitches down below is uncomfortable. You’re already uncomfortable enough as it is so don’t make things worse by wearing restrictive clothes.
Choose clothes that are comfortable to wear in the first few weeks.
Don’t be quick to jump into your skinny jeans – find something that is stretchy and is not going to chafe against your groin too much – in any case, Imagine trying to squeeze a postpartum pad in them jeans!!
Some mommies choose to wear the maternity clothes until the stitches have at least dissolved and the swelling has gone down.
I loved being in tights, to be honest. I loose top and tights are what I lived in until I felt like myself again – I don’t think anyone judged me for it. If they did – Oh well, that’s their problem.
Keep your underpants cotton – satin and polyester material has the tendency to cause chaffing and they don’t have a lot of give to them when it comes to movement. I found these worked great.
USE DOUGHNUT PILLOW WHEN SITTING
Speaking of comfort, you’ll want to make sure you have a cushion for your bottom.
Sitting on a hard chair after delivery is going to be excruciating – especially with stitches, tears and haemorrhoids. You’ll want to keep the pressure off your bottom until the swelling goes down.
A doughnut pillow is just the right thing for this. It’s designed to take the pressure off your bottom while leaving your lady bits suspended and not resting on anything.
USE YOUR PREGNANCY PILLOW WHEN SLEEPING
It’s hard enough losing sleep because you have to wake up a million times through the night to feed your baby.
It’s even harder losing sleep because your bottom is sore and you cant get into a comfortable position!
If you don’t have on already, get a pregnancy pillow! These are Amazing. Not only do they relieve back pain, they’re also great for taking the pressure off your bottom while you sleep – That’s one thing less to worry about.
AVOID SEXUAL CONTACT UNTIL YOU’VE COMPLETELY HEALED.
Now, I know this is a bit of a tricky one because telling you to wait until you’ve completely healed before engaging in any bedroom activity is like saying trying to describe how long a piece of string is.
Everyone is different. The rule of thumb is 6 weeks, but that’s not guaranteed that YOU will be ready at the six-week mark. And it’s not to say you HAVE TO wait until the six-week mark either.
Personally, I say listen to your body. Take it slow and go for it when YOU are ready.
If you are in discomfort still, then don’t entertain it. If you feel alright and your Stitches or tears have completely healed, then go for it.
Side note: Don’t forget that your lady bits have just gone through an amazing but traumatic ordeal, don’t expect it to be or feel the same – that’s why it’s important to take things slow.
PRACTICE ABDOMINAL MASSAGES
My mother drummed this into my head like a broken record.
This woman started singing about the importance of abdominal massage way before I even entered my third trimester and honestly, I THANK her for it.
Two main reasons:
- Abdominal massages help release any lochia/blood leftover in your uterus, which is left in there can cause you a lot of problems.
- Massaging your tummy also helps to lower and shrink your uterus to its pre-pregnancy state. You can read a little more on this method here.
I found it helpful to do them when having my Sitz Bath or when lying flat on my stomach in bed.
USE POSTPARTUM GIRDLES OR STOMACH TIES
The use of postpartum Girdles in nothing new.
Women around the world have been using them for centuries – maybe even millenniums
They have just evolved over time got a little fancier, but their purpose remains the same.
I remember my grandma saying she used pieces of cloth to tie around her waist and would adjust them accordingly as time went on.
Postpartum girdles help shrink your uterus and you waist area by compressing it.
You can also use a postpartum girdle especially designed for caesarian deliveries.
TAKE THINGS SLOW AND PLENTY OF REST
Postpartum recovery takes time. Even your delivery was as natural and as quick as they come. Recovery still takes time.
So take it slow, it’s ok to walk at a snail pace. Heck, do everything at a snail’s pace!
Rushing around will only put a strain on your down below and your pelvic floor.
BUT, I don’t mean you should become a couch potato – NO! NO! NO!
GENTLE EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN YOU MUSCLES DOWN BELOW
Unless you want to pee yourself each time to sneeze or even dare to laugh, you want to make sure you do some exercises that will help strengthen your muscles – especially your pelvic ones.
Do some Kegal exercises: There are plenty of opportunities for you to do some kegel exercises.
These exercises help to strengthen the pelvic muscles
- When breastfeeding
- When relaxing, watching TV
- While laid in bed
You could also take a gentle stroll in the park with your baby – if you’re lucky enough to live in a warm, dry country.
HAVE A WELL BALANCED DIET
You knew this was coming – because exercise and a healthy diet go together like bread and butter!
Your body cells will need to renew! there will be a lot of cell replacement and regrowth.
Give your body a chance to heal properly by feeding it nutritional food – it will thank you later.
Protein will be your best friend.
Eating well will also help with your bowel movement and prevent postpartum constipation!
DON’T BE TO HARD ON YOUR SELF
You are doing well.
Your body is not the same as Suzie’s or Rachel, not even Mandy. Just because they got back into their skinny jeans after two days, it doesn’t mean that you are failing!
Embrace your postpartum body. LOVE your postpartum, this will help you look after it properly.
You have a lot going on. You have another human being to care for.
So don’t be too hard on yourself.
You will soon feel better – in your own time.
And by doing all that’s mentioned above, that time could be shorter and easier.
You should ALWAYS consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise. Do not EVER substitute your doctor’s advice for the information given in this post.
- Your Body 48 Hours Postpartum
- How to Care For Your Body Postpartum
- 7 Ways to Help Shrink Your Uterus After a Vaginal Delivery
- 8 Ways to Prevent Tearing During Childbirth