Postpartum Care: Perineum Healing After Delivery
Postpartum perineal care is extremely important but is often a subject that can be scary to talk about prior to delivery. Trust me, as a seasoned mother of two little ones... tearing is scary. And usually happens. And painful. Obviously.
In Ali Wong's Hard Knock Wife, the comedian refers to her own postpartum healing in some memorable jokes. She hilariously captures the strategic use of pillows. Lots of soft pillows. But let me reassure you - with the right tools and some TLC, your body will heal in the weeks and months after your delivery.
Listed below are my top five recommendations for perineal care. But most importantly of all, remember to be kind to yourself.
1. Granny Panties
Or better yet those amazing gauzy boxer short underwear that the hospital provides right after delivery. Loose cotton underwear takes the pressure off of stitches (which you might have in multiple places) and room for you to move.
2. Frozen Padsicles
Granny panties and huge-ass pads go hand in hand. You'll need both. Head to the store and find the overnight/heavy flow pads with wings. You'll want the extra padding and security that they'll stay in place. It'll make you more comfortable and protect your healing stitches.
If you're healing from a higher degree tear, frozen pads can help with the swelling and pain. In preparation for delivery, store some of these pads in the freezer so they're ready to go when you need them. Some women swear by adding witch hazel prior to freezing, but the most important thing is that they're cold.
3. Squeeze Bottle
Found at the dollar store or even the bakery section at the grocery store, a small squeeze bottle will help you stay clean after using the bathroom. Prior to doing your business, fill it with lukewarm tap water (it just feels nicer) and squeeze some water on yourself while you urinate. It will reduce any stinging. Use the remaining water to clean yourself afterward as toilet paper may pull at your stitches and cause bleeding.
4. Sitz Bath
Although not as commonly known, a sitz bath not only helps but also feels nice. For extra help with reducing swelling, add some epson salt to the warm water prior to sitting down. The higher degree the tear, the more often you should use it in those early days of healing. Make sure to clean after every use.
5. Realistic Expectations
You just had a baby. You are a super hero. Workouts, lifting heavy groceries, etc. can wait. Your body will be going through incredible changes (both emotionally and physically) - you need to let go and embrace your vulnerability. Focus on your beautiful little one and taking care of yourself. Check in with the doctor and soon enough, you'll be able to be more active and out and about.