Even though my experience with a vaginal delivery was nearly nine years ago, I vividly remember the things that made postpartum recovery easier. During the recovery period, in addition to being exhausted, I experienced so many things, such as bleeding and cramping, sore perineum, constipation, and more. At the time, to deal with these things, my obstetrician and mom recommended products they thought would be helpful. I am happy for their recommendations because it definitely helped make my postpartum recovery after vaginal birth smoother.
Here is a list of tried and true products from my personal experience that can help make your postpartum recovery after vaginal delivery smoother.
After pushing a whole human out of your vagina, you will not want to use rough tissue to wipe. In fact, it isn’t recommended, which is why the hospital will provide you with a peri bottle. The bottle is used after each trip to the bathroom to cleanse the area with warm water. It helps keep you fresh and prevent the area from getting infected. Make sure you take home the one they give to you at the hospital, as well as have an extra one at home. People swear by this angled bottle.
Witch Hazel Pads
These are great for wiping and placing in your underwear (over a pad). Because after experiencing a vaginal delivery, down there will be sore, especially if you have hemorrhoids or an episiotomy. You can make your own or buy Tucks medicated pads which will help provide relief from any discomfort experienced from hemorrhoids or tears.
Speaking of discomfort from hemorrhoids and episiotomies, in addition to the witch hazel pads, it was recommended to use hemorrhoid cream/ointment. I was told to squeeze a good amount of the cream/ointment on top of the witch hazel pad and then place the ointment topped pad onto my menstrual pad. Listen, this was the best advice ever!
Before leaving the hospital, the nurses make you pass stool. Because I had an episiotomy, this was, for me, probably the scariest part of postpartum recovery. I was scared I was going to tear in half and open my stitches. In order to make the first post-delivery poop go a little bit more smoothly, use a stool softener. This time around, I plan on just bringing cans of prune juice with me to the hospital to drink right after.
Last time I gave birth, my obstetrician drilled in my head that I needed to get compression panties and not “…try to be cute” with my bikini underwear. Compression panties are great postpartum because they help shrink the uterus, reduce swelling and flatten the post-pregnancy belly. Hello, “snapback”.
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Menstrual Underwear/Overnight Pads
After you give birth you will experience bleeding. This bleeding, called lochia, can be experienced up to six weeks postpartum. In the beginning, it can be heavy, and then it wains off. To prevent any accidents you will want to wear heavy-duty pads. People complain about the ones provided by the hospital because they can be bulky and/or rough. However, incontinence panties are an excellent alternative. There’s some on the market that are actually cute as far as these things go, and are not bulky.
Disposable Nursing Pads
Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, your breasts will become engorged and leak. To prevent leaking milk from ruining your clothes and experiencing an embarrassing wet mark, use disposable nursing pads. If you are planning on breastfeeding, invest in washable nursing pads.
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The last time I gave birth, I experienced swelling of my ankles and feet. This, I was told due to all of the fluids pumped into me during my induction and labor. Had I known then what I now know, I would have packed a pair of compression socks to help prevent the swelling I experienced.
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Keeping hydrated is essential during postpartum recovery. It helps restore balance and help you to regain energy. Remember your body just went through 280 days (or more) of an increase in hormones, and then hours of labor and delivery. Increasing your intake of water and electrolyte-rich fluids can help speed recovery as well as help in having a healthy milk supply if breastfeeding. I like to use electrolyte packets because they’re great to stash anywhere and tote along when you’re on the go.
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Make sure you have a basket in each bathroom that is filled with the following items for postpartum recovery:
- Peri bottle
- Witch Hazel Pads
- Hemorrhoid cream/ointment
- Menstrual pads
For moms who have had a vaginal delivery, what were some of your postpartum must-haves?
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