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How To Take Care Of Your Vagina After Giving Birth

birth wilmington north carolina

Vaginal healing after childbirth is something we need to be prepared to care for after the births of our babies. Understanding that our bodies can respond differently to labor and birth than anyone we talk to is the first step in some healthy mental postpartum preparation.

Where does your mind go when you think of postpartum recovery?

Is it the bliss of finally being able to smell your baby’s intoxicating, oxytocin filled little baby head? Umm...yes actually, yes it is.

Is it finally being able to sleep on your stomach? Yeah, that too.

Maybe you’re looking forward to burning up the sheets with your partner without your ‘make room for Jesus’ baby belly in the way. I hear you!

Becoming a mom does not make us any less woman or reduce our needs as a woman and with that comes concern for some very important areas of our body that we would love to know are still taken care of..and taken care of well.

Men are not the only people who want to make sure their reproductive organs are working well and in tip top shape. When pushing a live human baby out of our vaginas, we have legit concern for our ladybits.

As a Certified Labor and Postpartum & Infant Care Doula, as well as a Certified Childbirth Educator, I talk to many women and I know the topic of what our vaginas are about to endure is thought of way more than it’s actually brought up.

But I’m not speaking to you as a professional today. I thought I’d talk to you from my experience as a mom of five. I have had five vaginal births. As we share often with our clients, every birth and every baby is different. This. This is so true.

Included in the mix of my five births there have been hours of pushing, tearing, and fetal ejection reflex. These variations of normal can leave you with some need for more healing than we may have expected. Perineum healing can be intense and painful.

Postpartum recovery varies for everyone and some women may recover quicker and easier than others. So I’m coming to you from the times in my experiences that I didn’t feel so great during recovery and I want to share what helped!

With the experience of hours of pushing to deliver our first son, which is normal, I ended up with what felt like a bruised, well...everything! My butt was so sore! I didn’t even want to share my boppy pillow with him! I wanted it ALL for myself. I was happy to sit in one spot all day and all evening on that C shaped butt cloud.

Couple that cushion with an ice pack and ibuprofen and I was managing alright given the circumstances. So if you find yourself with a pretty sore bottom, pick up an extra boppy so you have one to cradle your baby during feeding sessions and one to

After my births that ended with tearing due to our subsequent children exiting as rapid as they could, I found myself with a burning, stinging, tender, don't-want-to-go-to-the-restroom-anymore-than-I-have-to, bottom.

During these postpartum recoveries I found the most helpful routine was to keep a bottle of witch hazel, witch hazel cleansing pads, the peri bottle the hospital gives you, a couple wash cloths (not your nice ones!), your pads and mesh panties in a basket within reach by the toilet.

Here's a simple outline of my restroom routine after childbirth. {Who would've thought I'd put this on the internet one day?}

1. I would make sure I had all my items in the basket near the toilet. Then I would turn on the water and once the water was really warm, I would fill the peri bottle and wet my wash cloth. (Don't use the nice cloths for this)

2. I'd then sit to take care of business. The entire time my urine stream was flowing, I was also spraying myself with the peri bottle and would time it so I never ran out of water! This greatly reduced any stinging.

3. Then I would pat myself dry with the toilet paper and grab my wet wash cloth and hold it to my perineum for a more soothing and comforting cleaning option.

4. Once I was dry and clean (ish), I mean there is a decent amount of postpartum bleeding (lochia), I would grab a new pad, stick it to my fish net undies and squirt a generous amount of witch hazel on the pad.

5. THEN for even better measure, I would add the witch hazel cleaning pads (you can order some or use the ones from the hospital) right on top of my pad in like the shape of a snowman, ha! Then if you need, put an icepack on the outside of your pad for 15-20 minutes for some extra comfort.

The witch hazel is an astringent that helps our skin contract and heal. The other benefits of the witch hazel are that it is cooling and soothing for itchy or inflamed skin. You can always throw the witch hazel pads in the fridge for even more relief!

When planning for babies our list always tends to keep growing, so simple is better. I've gathered a lot of ingredients to make the padsicles that include aloe and essential oil and I've really found the simple set up I shared with you to work best for me.

The aloe made me feel like I had a mess in my pants and let's just say putting a frozen pad (think basically an ice cube) right on your vulva and healing perineum did more harm than good. I could only stand how cold it was with my underwear in between me and the pad as a protective barrier. Then what good did it do?

As experienced doulas we have talked to many women and heard what has worked for them as well as what we have figured out to help our own transitions as mothers. Having someone full of information that can help ease your transition is never a bad idea and you can have just that with one of Wilmington Coastal Doulas Labor Doulas.

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