Postpartum recovery was a very difficult time in my life. I had no idea the toll birth would have on my body. During pregnancy, I knew labor and delivery was going to be difficult and trying, but I honestly didn’t put very much thought into the process of healing afterward.
Those first few weeks were filled with aches and pains, general weakness, sleep deprivation and so much crying (from both me and my baby.) I wanted to enjoy my new little one so badly, but it was difficult with every thing I had going on physically.
The second time I was much better prepared! Here are the tools that will help you heal faster postpartum and help decrease your pain substantially!
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Table of Contents
Helping your body heal faster
During labor and delivery, your body undergoes a tremendous amount of change and often times, damage. Sometimes it’s vaginal tearing, hemorrhoids or even a c-section incision. The good news is that the body is amazing at healing itself. It just needs the right tools to be efficient. This is why it’s so important to eat a nourishing diet and continue taking your prenatal vitamins.
Also make sure you are getting enough vitamin C and zinc. Both of these vitamins are essential to wound healing.
Prevent Postpartum Depression
DHA is on my top priority list of must haves for new moms, ideally started in early pregnancy. If your nursing, the nutrient is essential for your babies brain and eye development. DHA is a fatty acid thought to help prevent postpartum depression too, an issue far too many women struggle with after having a baby. To read the science behind DHA, pregnancy and PPD you can check it out here.
You want a supplement that is high in DHA and EPA. To break it down a bit, DHA is an Omega 3. Many of the Omega 3 supplements only contain DHA. You want a supplement that also contains DHA & EPA.
EPA levels are under constant demand and low EPA levels in adolescents and adults correlates strongly with development of mental health issues, including depression, dyslexia and dyspraxia, heart problems, joint and bone conditions, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as MS and Parkinson’s. (source)
I like Nordic Naturals, these ones are specifically designed for the postpartum period and the doses are high enough to help stabilize postpartum moods.
They are also specially formulated with specific types of fish that are less likely to be contaminated with mercury.
Using Your PeriBottle The Right Way
Most hospital and birth centers with send you home with a peri-bottle. This thing is awesome, and one of the most important items you will need postpartum. When you use the bathroom after delivery, it’s going to be very painful, unless you have your handy dandy peri-bottle!
The thing is, so many new moms do not take advantage of how useful these little things can be. One thing you don’t want to do, is to fill it with cold water and start squirting while you pee. I did this a few times, and holy moly it caused so much pain. The cold water “shocked” the damaged areas and caused strange painful muscle contractions.
Instead, always fill with warm fluid. It will be so relieving, and you’ll be able to pee in peace. What I did was keep a crock pot filled with my “herbal bath tea” (see below) and put that into my bottle before I went into the bathroom. It helped ease the pain, and I really feel that it helped me keep my stitches clean and my wounds healing faster.
(New Mom Tip: After you heal, keep this bottle. Its so stinkin useful for washing babies hair without getting water in their eyes!)
Postpartum Herbal Bath
This is definitely my favorite item on this list. A postpartum herbal bath can be incredibly soothing and so helpful to speed up healing. I only know this because my Midwife had brought this to my house my second day postpartum. I had been having a very difficult time. I was sore everywhere, I had torn pretty extensively, I was experiencing breast pain, hemorrhoids, weakness, exhaustion and the craziest emotional rollercoaster of my life.
But after she left, I ran a hot bath and poured in the big pot of herbal tea she had given me. The second I got into that bath, everything slipped away. I could tell it was exactly what my body had needed. That 20 minutes of healing “me” time was exactly what I needed to function better.
Not only that but the blend of herbs work together to speed up tissue healing. It may sound crazy that leaves and flower petals can help wounds heal, but it’s not. Actually, many of the medications on the market are derived from parts of plants that are known to heal.
You can get an awesome premade Organic bath mix here. It contains herbs that are safe for postpartum mothers and can help decrease swelling, ease pain and help the body to regenerate faster.
This mix is made more specifically for sitz baths, but it’s great to put into your peri-bottle with warm water to rinse off each time you urinate.
Is it safe to bath with stitches?
So, I had stitches for 10 days. My midwife’s rule of thumb for bathing postpartum is, no stitches bathe as much as you want. With stitches, bathe only once a day and limit it to 20-30 minutes. (But I could shower as often as I liked.)
Witch hazel is used to help decrease pain, inflammation and swelling. This is why it’s often the main ingredient in so many hemorrhoid relief products. You can get witch hazel and cotton pads to keep in the bathroom to help with any hemorrhoid issues that may pop up. It’s also useful for vaginal healing as well as it will relieve some of the pain and swelling here too.
When choosing a Witch Hazel, don’t go with the cheapest brand. I made this mistake. It has a lot of alcohol in it. Instead, opt for a brand like this, that is alcohol-free. Because that alcohol can burn!
Of course, you could always just go with good old Tucks pads.
One way to really help speed up vaginal healing is to let your underbites air out! Depending on how much bleeding you have postpartum, you may want to try to let your lady parts breathe. I bled for weeks. This led me to wearing pads, for weeks. Basically, I ended up with the equivalent of an adult diaper rash. (Talk about painful! I will never look at my babies diaper rash the same, my heart aches for them if I see one popping up.)
This could have been avoided if I took the time to lay in bed, and actually air out. You can lay a towel underneath you, and even cover up with a blanket. This is best done after bathing. Mostly, just do your best to avoid constant moisture 24/7.
By the way, your pad quality is important find the best pads to wear postpartum here.
Other Useful Items:
♥ Electric Heat Pad: Very useful to ease sore muscles, such as back or other general aches and pains. It’s also helpful for easing cramping during periods.
♥ Peri Ice Pack Pads: I personally hated ice packs for vaginal healing, however, these things were so relieving when I did end up with very bad skin irritation due to the maternity pads. (A friend had given me the ones she hadn’t used.)
♥ Peri-Spray: This stuff is raved about by over a thousand women on Amazon. I didn’t know to try this stuff, but if I ever have another baby, I’ll be trying this stuff out.
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