Postpartum care can be a trialing time for most new moms. Next, we will go over important postpartum care tips to ensure you heal faster after vaginal delivery.
Let’s face it, pregnancy was exhausting, giving birth was a major undertaking, and postpartum recovery can prove to be a bit much.
Yes, that is the price we pay for growing, carrying, and giving birth to a human. So, you my friend, are nothing less than incredible!
However, there are many things we can do on our end to speed and ease our postpartum recovery if we know what to expect after birth and how to tackle it.
So, let’s make sure that you get back to being your incredible self faster after your vaginal delivery by applying these tried and true postpartum recovery tips.
13 Postpartum Care Tips after Vaginal Delivery
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1. Use a peri bottle and cleansing sprays
I cannot stress enough how important this is.
If you have a vaginal birth you might feel like an 18-wheeler just ran over your lady friend!
Okay, maybe that was a bit graphic. But trust me, you will know exactly what I mean.
Vaginal deliveries are no strangers to possible tearing (internal, external), stretching, episiotomy, and so on.
Although the extent and degree of discomfort varies from women to women, discomfort will be almost inevitable.
Using a peri bottle will help you cleanse your perineal area without having to wipe the already irritated area.There are also cleansing sprays to help soothe and clean your perineal area.
Earth Mama Herbal Spray is a great natural alternative and an Amazon favorite as it is made with organic herbs and no parabens, butane, propellants, or artificial fragrance.
Peri bottles and cleansing sprays are a great way to keep your lady parts clean, cool, and happy.
POSTPARTUM CLEANSING CARE INSTRUCTIONS:
- Use the peri-bottle and/or cleansing spray to clean your perineal area every time you use the toilet
- Fill your peri bottle with warm water to ease discomfort
- You can opt to use the peri bottle with warm water after you urinate, and the cleansing spray after a bowel movement
2. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel pads are a MUST on every postpartum recovery care kit.
The witch hazel pads were a lifesaver after I had my son and the ONLY thing that provided some sort of perineal comfort.
After 45 minutes of pushing, a bad case of hemorrhoids, an internal tear and a few stitches, witch hazel was my saving grace.
Witch hazel pads help soothe and heal the peritoneal area and hemorrhoids faster.
Witch hazel is widely known for its ability to ease inflammation, soothe sensitive skin, and for its antiviral properties.
Try to stick to organic witch hazel pads.
Your perineal area is already compromised so ensuring you are using natural and non-toxic postpartum care products (specially while breastfeeding) is ideal.
Cool Comfort Pads from Naticare have organic witch hazel and aloe. These pads are also non-GMO, Paraben free and chemical-free.
POSTPARTUM CARE INSTRUCTIONS:
- After cleansing your perineum put a new witch hazel pad (or two) on your maxi pad with every pad change.
- You can also opt to put the witch hazel pads directly on your affected areas and then putting the maxi pad to lock it in place.
3. Tap don’t wipe
This might seem like an obvious postpartum care tip, but you’ll be surprised as to how easy it is to forget it.
When we use the toilet, we might do things on autopilot. That is why is important to remember to tap the perineal area instead of wiping it in the first few days postpartum.
Another great practice is to use cleansing water wipes, since toilet paper material tends to get stuck… well, down there.
We buy them in bulk and are a must in my house for our entire family.
POSTPARTUM CARE INSTRUCTIONS:
- Right after every perineal cleanse, ensure to tap the area dry. Many times, I wiped instead of tapping and trust me, that wasn’t pretty!
- Use water wipes as you start to heal to clean the area throughout and avoid leaving toilet paper residue.
Related: The Best Baby Natural Products List
4. Spray and numbing creams
In the first few days postpartum you might also need numbing sprays to go along with your witch hazel pads.
Your heath care provider will make an assessment and decide if you need a medicated spray to help with your perineal pain and discomfort.
Consult with your doctor if you are opting to breastfeed before using any medicated sprays.
NUMBING SPRAYS INSTRUCTIONS:
- After each perineal cleanse, spray the area few times and apply witch hazel pads on top of your maxi pads.
5. Maxi pads
Following birth your uterus will continue to expel bodily fluids.
Keep handy a good amount of maxi pads postpartum. They can go pretty fast since you should be changing your pads and cleansing the area often. Specially in the first few days.
A great maxi pad option are the Menstrual Overnight Pads (Certified Organic Cotton) by Rael. They are made with 100% organic, OCS certified, non-GMO Texas cotton grown and nurtured without the use of toxins, pesticides or synthetic chemicals.
You can should also keep disposable bed mats in bed for the first few days to prevent staining your bed sheets.
6. Ice packs
After a vaginal delivery, your perineal area will need as much tender loving care as possible.
The first few hours postpartum not only has your body undergone a major physical change, but it will commence the healing process.
That all results in swelling and discomfort as your body attempts to repair and restored damaged tissue.
ICE PACK POSTPARTUM CARE INSTRUCTIONS:
- To reduce swelling and bring soothing relief apply ice to the affected area 48 hrs following delivery or for as long as needed
- You can use an ice pack, or a frozen pea bag wrapped in a small towel or cloth
- Ensure you apply cold therapy intermittently (10 mins on-off)
- You can also use maxi pads with a built-in cold pack
7. Prevent and treat constipation
Constipation is a common postpartum issue caused by multiple factors (iron supplements, pain medication and dehydration).
If you developed hemorrhoids as a result of childbirth, incorporating a stool softener to your postpartum recovery care kit will not be a bad idea.
Here are a few other ideas to help prevent and relieve constipation.
CONSTIPATION POSTPARTUM CARE INSTRUCTIONS:
- Consider going short walks in your early postpartum day (if ok with your doctor)
- Increasing high fiber foods (pear, apples, avocados, lentils, quinoa)
- Drinking plenty of water
- Use Colace if needed
8. Postpartum Belly Bands
Using a postpartum belly bands helps keep things in place as your belly shrinks back to size.
They also aid with postpartum discomfort, swelling, and circulation by means of compression.
Two common and popular options are:
9. Sitz Baths
Sitz baths are another great postpartum care kit product essential.
It not only helps cleanse the perineum, but it relieves itching, irritation, and minor pain.
In addition, the warm water used along the sitz baths help increase blood flow to the perineal area which can promote faster healing.
Making a sitz bath part of your postpartum care routine is essential to faster postpartum healing.
Sitz Baths Soak (organic) from Purasoothe is a great choice.
It is made of organic lavender, coconut and sweet almond oils, organic vitamin E, witch hazel, and organic frankincense which promote healing and relief discomfort naturally.
Always ensure is ok with your doctor to do sitz baths postpartum.
POSTPARTUM SITZ BATH INSTRUCTIONS:
- Fill the tub with a 3-4 inches of warm water (make sure the tub is clean)
- Add the sitz bath soak
- Soak for a few minutes (15 to 20 minutes)
- Tap dry
If you opt for the Sitz bath kit, follow the same process. The difference is that you will be soaking your perineal area in a basin placed in your toilet seat instead of the tub.
You can repeat this process 2-3 a day as needed.
10. Take care of you breasts
The are a lot of remedies out there for postpartum perineal healing and comfort relief.
However, breast discomfort, engorgement, and even pain can also prove to be quite the challenge postpartum.
If you opt to breastfeed, the first few days/weeks your body will start producing more and more milk to meet the demands of your growing baby.
Until your body starts to regulate the supply your baby needs, you might feel your breast full, warm, achy, and even tingly (during “let-down” as the baby sucks).
POSTPARTUM BREAST CARE INSTRUCTIONS:
- Take a warm shower and slowly message your breast to hand express excess milk
- After the shower feed baby or pump to decompress breasts
- Apply cold compresses to your breasts after feedings for 10 minutes at a time (cold can reduce swelling and inflammation)
You can still experience some of these symptoms if you aren’t breastfeeding. Therefore, applying the same techniques will also help.
If your breasts become extremely engorged, painful, you are unable to feed baby, and/or you develop a fever… contact your healthcare provider.
11. Kegel Exercises
As if all the above weren’t enough to deal with, postpartum incontinence can also be an issue.
But, don’t worry. There is something you can do to help with that.
Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and help with incontinence after birth.
So, what is a Kegel exercise? Think for a second if you really have to pee but have to hold it instead. The contraction that happens in our efforts to hold the urine in place is a Kegel.
We tend to do this contraction on demand, but we can also do it voluntarily to increase the strength and endurance of our pelvic floor muscles.
POSTPARTUM KEGEL EXERCISE INSTRUCTIONS:
Here are the instructions Sutter Health recommends you follow:
- Gently tighten and then relax the muscles of your perineum (you can do this lying down or sitting)
- Start with 2-3 seconds per tightening, then 5-10 seconds
- End by holding your contraction for 20 seconds
- Begin with 2-3 contractions per session and build up to holding 5 contractions several times per day
12. Opt for a good postpartum nutrition
After giving birth your body undergoes many changes.
Eating colorful produce, healthy proteins, fats, and certain grains will provide you energy, help you combat anemia and accelerate wound healing.
Here are a few examples:
- Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli)
- Vitamin C packed fruits (berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, and pineapples)
- Healthy proteins (organic eggs, organic chicken, grass-fed beef and wild salmon)
- Whole and sprouted grains (rice, quinoa, oats)
- Nutsand seeds (almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts)
- Healthy oils (olive and coconut)
- Legumes (black beans and chickpeas)
Some women continue taking their prenatal vitamins for a few weeks postpartum as additional supplement, especially if they will be breastfeeding.
Ask your healthcare provider if he/she recommends you continue taking dietary supplements postpartum.
I would also like to add that there is no shame in opting for that frozen lasagna aunt Tracie dropped off 2 days ago. Sometimes, in the early postpartum recovery days the goal is also to survive the newborn phase!
13. Walk it out
It is important to note that although exercise might be off-limits for the first few weeks postpartum, being active is important.
Walking postpartum can help prevent clots from forming (particularly if you had a c-section). Walking can also help ease and prevent constipation and guard against baby blues.
POSTPARTUM CARE INSTRUCTIONS:
- Walk around your neighborhood
- Walk around the house
- Remember to stay hydrated
The postpartum recovery period can feel daunting and overwhelming.
After all, not only do you have to care for yourself and all of the aforementioned postpartum challenges, but you must also take care of a newborn baby.
By following these postpartum care tips and instructions you can help speed up the postpartum recovery process after a vaginal delivery and get back to feeling like yourself sooner.
Remember that postpartum recovery is a phase, and that it too shall pass.
The most important thing to remember is that you must take care of yourself so that you can take care of baby.
Happy mamma, happy baby.
See you in the next phase of motherhood. 😊
What postpartum care tips are you thinking of implementing after your vaginal delivery?