How To Ease the Discomfort That Occurs After Child Birth
In addition to taking care of that new, sweet baby of yours, you need to make sure to take care of yourself and cope with the recovery and discomfort that comes after child birth. Here are some tips to help make those aches and pains that come with postpartum recovery a little bit more bearable.
Tip: Use a peri bottle for trips to the bathroom.
“Peri bottle” stands for “perineum irrigation.” It is essentially a squirt bottle to use instead of using toilet paper after using the bathroom. With all of the swelling and bleeding taking place after delivery, using the peri bottle, filled with warm water, saves you from unnecessary pain and possible irritation from wiping with toilet paper. You’ll most likely find a peri bottle in the bathroom in your hospital room; if not, just ask your nurse—he or she will be very familiar with these. Also ask to take one home with you—it’s good to have on hand as you continue to recover at home.
Tip: Create “padsicles” to help with swelling and pain.
This is actually from Pinterest and is an amazing idea! These “padsicles” are frozen maxi pads, which work similar to ice packs, soothing the swelling and pain. The pads contain witch hazel, which is amazing at reducing inflammation and helps comfort your tender skin. There are many different variations on the “recipe” for making these pads, but this specific version calls for lavender oil and aloe vera.
Tip: Take stool softeners.
Your first bowel movement post-child birth can be a painful experience, however, taking stool softeners can help alleviate some of the discomfort. Stool softeners can be purchased over-the-counter, or your doctor may even write you a prescription. Either way, make it a practice to take one with your daily prenatal vitamins, which you’ll still be taking if breastfeeding.
Tip: Drink lots of water.
Staying hydrated and drinking lots of water has many benefits in postpartum recovery. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s essential for hydration and milk production! And, drinking that water helps prevent constipation. You want to avoid constipation postpartum, as it could result in an extremely painful bowel movement.
Tip: Ask your doctor about pain management.
One thing many new moms don’t expect is the abdominal cramps from your uterus shrinking back to its original size. Many doctors will prescribe or instruct you to take Ibuprofen or another pain reliever to help mitigate some of the pain and discomfort. Breastfeeding helps your uterus contract and shrink back to size, too.
Tip: Use ice packs to soothe engorged breasts.
As your milk comes in, you may experience engorged breasts. It takes time for your body to adjust its milk production to the amount you’ll actually need to feed your baby. Engorgement happens when your breasts are overfilled with milk. Use ice packs or cold, wet towels to help with the pain.
Tip: Seek relief for your hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal and may be internal or external (or both). Hemorrhoids are common following child birth—many moms have them. Tucks, a popular brand of hemorrhoid pads, contain witch hazel and other soothing ingredients to provide relief. Your hospital room may have these stocked in the bathroom for your use. You can also buy them at places like Target, Rite Aid or any basic pharmacy or health store. In addition to using tucks, you can get hemorrhoid relief by:
- Taking a sitz bath, which is sitting in warm water, like a bath, just up to your hips
- Using the peri bottle after a bowel movement
- Applying an ice pack
- Talking to your doctor about prescribing a topical cream or ointment
Additionally, some hospitals have inflatable cushions, like a donut. This adds a soft layer between your bottom and the chair or hospital bed, or whatever surface you’re sitting on.
Tip: Have extra supplies on hand for at-home recovery.
The hospital is well-stocked with everything you could need—ice packs, mesh underwear, extra-large pads, etc. Make your at-home recovery, especially those first few days once you’re discharged from the hospital, easier by having supplies on hand at home. Consider the following items when creating your list:
- Mesh underwear
- Extra pairs of underwear — ones you will be OK throwing away after you recover
- Large maxi pads
- Panty liners to use toward the end of your recovery and the bleeding has almost stopped
- Pain reliever (see above and speak to your doctor for his or her advice)
- Stool softeners
- Tucks pads for hemorrhoids
- Peri bottle
Tip: Take it easy.
You need to take it easy—it’s imperative to help your body recover after a major experience like child birth. Your baby is counting on you. Resting is essential to making a full recovery.
Remember that this too shall pass—postpartum recovery can be difficult, but you will find things improve over time. Be patient, get rest and always contact your doctor with any questions or concerns.
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