Pregnant and counting down with great excitement about the arrival of your precious little baby? Congratulations! Indeed, bringing a new life into the world is a wonderful experience. Pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood are wonderful experiences that no amount of words can describe, but women who have had the experience would agree on one thing-it is no joke! The entire nine months process of your pregnancy up to the delivery of your baby, whether naturally, through C-section or with the aid of breakthrough pain medications such as epidural or spinal block, will take a hard toll on your mind and body, so you’ll need both time and care to get yourself up and running again….
Your post-partum period and recovery should be given as much care as when you were pregnant…..so while you are busy preparing for that special day when you’ll hold your precious little darling in your arms, here’s a quick reminder of a few things and products to consider, to help you recover from the whole birthing process.
Post-Delivery Essentials- Vaginal Birth:
You may have a vaginal tear or an episiotomy during delivery which may take a couple of weeks to heal. An episiotomy is an incision or cut that your doctor may make in your perineum, the area between your vagina and your anus, to prevent tearing during delivery.The incision is sewn back with dissolvable sutures right after your delivery. For you to heal on time, and without infections, it is very important to keep your perineum clean during that period. To alleviate the associated pains and discomfort, and to promote your healing, here are a few suggestions for you to try:
Sitz Bath: Use a sitz bath 2-3 times daily, for the first few days following the delivery of your baby. Sitz baths allow you to sit in warm water up to your hips and are designed to fit all standard toilets. They are very comfortable and effective in treating episiotomy, hemorrhoid, and other conditions in the anal and genital areas. To use the bath, fill it up with 6-8 inches of warm water, add some Epsom salt, witch hazel and any other natural herbs or ingredients recommended by your grandmother 🙂 or healthcare provider, and then sit on the bath for about 20 minutes. When you are done, pat your wound dry with witch hazel pads.
Sanitary Pads, Panty Liners, and Squeeze bottles: You may experience bleeding and vaginal discharge (lochia) for about 2 to 4 weeks and have occasional discharge for about 2 months. Use only pads and avoid the use of tampons during that period. As your bleeding stops, you may switch to a panty liner. Do not use toilet paper or douches, instead, spray your bottom with warm water in a squeeze bottle each time you use the bathroom. While urinating, squeeze out warm water over your vulva. Rinse the tissue between your vaginal opening and your anus (perineum) after every bowel movement. Pat dry with witch hazel pads afterwards.You may also use a topical Anesthetic Spray such as Dermoplast for additional relief from pain and itching.
Epsom Salts: These are very rich in magnesium and help promote the healing process after childbirth. When added to your sitz bath or bath water, they help you heal faster, reduce swellings, pains, aches and your risks of infections. They also help relieve stress, and improve your feeling of general well-being and relaxation. Do not use Epsom salt for a prolonged period of time without first consulting with your physician, especially if you have a kidney condition. Epsom salts are also known to help draw out toxins.
Witch Hazel, Ice Packs and Maxi Sanitary Pads: Place witch hazel pads and/or ice-pads between your sanitary pad and your vagina, to soothe and cool your wound. Witch Hazel is a safe and inexpensive post-partum must-have that provides soothing and cooling relief, as well as mild anti-inflammatory effects when applied to the skin. Witch Hazel has great astringent and anti-inflammatory properties and is great for use on swollen body parts and for the treatment of sore, painful and itching perineum, episiotomy and hemorrhoids. Wipe your sore perineum or wound with witch hazel pads, after cleaning with warm water. This would help keep away bacteria and blood, provide cooling relief to the sore area and speed up your healing. Witch Hazel can be added to your sitz bath or used as a compress. You may also place store-bought ready-to-use witch hazel pads, or DIY cotton pads soaked in witch hazel, on your maxi pad and wear directly against your skin throughout the day….don’t forget to change this from time to time though.
Ice Packs: Ice packs provide great relieve right in the few hours right after delivery, especially when sitting down. Medline OB-Pad Cold Packs, TendHer Perineal Ice Packs and SmartChoices Feme Pad have been specifically designed for post-partum uses. Medline OB-Pad Cold Packs are highly absorbent and should be applied intermittently for 36-48 hours after delivery. They should be stored at room temperature, and not in the freezer. To use, twist the pad until you hear a pop and then remove the cover and shake. The pads are disposable, so use for 15-25 min and discard afterwards. TendHer Perineal Ice Packs are made of soft-touch, medical-grade film for maximum soothing. The pads are made from all natural vegetarian ingredients and are perfectly sized for coverage and tucking in your underwear. They are re-usable for at least 4 weeks after opening. The feme Pad by SmartChoices was developed by a mother and experienced nurse midwife, to provide instant relief from vaginal irritations and inflamed hemorrhoids that may be caused by pregnancy and childbirth. The pack contains two soft, flexible thermal gel pads with storage bag and ten disposable gauze covers. Avoid the use of cold packs for too long. They are best in the first 48 hours, to reduce bleeding, swelling and for relief. You may switch to hot packs, hot water bottles or just your sitz bath afterwards.
Post-Partum Belt: Using a postpartum belt, or belly binding as some would call it, will help compress and shrink your tummy and uterus to your pre-pregnancy size, faster. The belts can be used for either c-section or virginal birth recovery, depending on the type you buy. For c-section deliveries, the belts help hold incisions intact. Some belts are also designed to help shrink your hips. The best time to use one, however, must be right after delivery, and for at least 8weeks post-partum, while you still have the hormone called Relaxin in your system. Relaxin is produced by the ovary and the placenta during pregnancy and it helps in preparing your body for childbirth, by relaxing the ligaments in your pelvis, and softening and widening your cervix
Stool Softener: Make sure to get a stool softener before your due date and take it as prescribed by the manufacturer, once you have given birth, at the hospital. Chances are you would be constipated if you do not use a softener. For your own good, use a softener for a few days, to avoid the nightmare of a heavy duty poop stuck up somewhere 🙂 🙂
Kegel Exercise:To do your kegel exercise, simply tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re stopping your stream of urine. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions. Try this for five seconds at a time, five times in a row, at least three times a day.
Plan to rest: Your body has done an amazing job of bringing a new life into the world, give it time to recover naturally. This is very critical to your recovery and you’ll need to plan ahead before that day comes, especially if you have other kids. Ask for help when you need one, and don’t try to do everything by yourself. If no help is available, let EVERYTHING wait! If you have older kids, let your husband or someone else help take care of them…If you must, get a maid/nanny or have a relative come over to help out while you recover. Plan ahead for meals that can last you and your family for at least 2 weeks after your delivery, do as much cleaning and organization as possible, before your delivery date.
Baby Blues: It is not uncommon to experience fatigue, mood swings, irritability, sadness or anxiety right after childbirth but the feelings usually subside within a week or two. If you find yourself having any of these feelings, try as much as possible to share those feelings with your husband or loved ones. Do not hesitate to contact your health care provider if you don’t feel better, if the feelings get worse, or if you cannot take care of yourself and your baby.
First six weeks: Delay sexual intercourse for about 6 weeks, until your health care provider okays it. Avoid long trips or travels within the first 6 weeks. Make frequent stops to walk around to stretch if this cannot be avoided.Contact your doctor immediately if your pain gets worse, the wound becomes hot, swollen, painful or brings out a pus-like discharge. These may be signs of an infection. Continue taking your prenatals if you are breastfeeding and for as long as you are breastfeeding.
- Wear pads instead of tampons, if you experience vaginal bleeding
- DO not lift anything heavier than your baby, and avoid all strenuous activities or exercises for 6 weeks, when your doctor okays it.
- To support your belly and decrease your pain, hold a pillow over your incision when you cough.
- Pat your incision dry after every shower.
- Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any increased redness, increased pain, or pus-like discharge from the incision site. These may be signs of an infection.
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