Giving birth is a beautiful, natural process, but it can also take quite a toll on your body. Thankfully, there are plenty of tips and products out there designed to make your recovery easier. Here is what nurses and experienced moms recommend.
Find out if your hospital offers special ice packs to new mothers, and if they don't, make your own. They are bulky, but they will help. Dermoplast pain spray helps immensely too. Line your sanitary napkin with a witch hazel pad to ease the itchiness of any stitches. Recline or lay down rather than sit straight up. It is normal to feel contractions, similar in pain to menstrual cramps, after birth. These tend to worsen with every successive pregnancy.
For the Bleeding
You will bleed for several weeks after birth. Either wear the underwear the hospital provides or your own underwear you don't care about with a giant pad. Some women opt for adult diapers. Your bleeding should gradually slow and turn from bright red to brown. Call your doctor right away if you soak a pad within an hour, you pass clots larger than a golf ball or your vaginal discharge smells foul.
For Your Breasts
Your milk probably won't come in for a day or two after birth. If your breasts are painfully full, you may pump or feed a little for relief, but be careful not to overdo it as your body produces milk on a supply and demand basis.
It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt at first. Make sure the baby is latched on correctly and use Lanolin cream to help with any cracking or bleeding. Alternate which side you feed on and wear nursing pads to catch any leaking, especially at first.
If you are not planning on breastfeeding, wear a compression bra and do not pump. Cold washcloths can help with the pain.
Using the Bathroom
Use a squirt bottle when you urinate for the first few days to relieve the stinging. If you find yourself leaking small amounts of urine throughout the day, doing Kegels can help. If you have hemorrhoids, witch hazel pads can soothe them. If your stools are hard and painful, be sure to drink plenty of water and consume enough fruits and vegetables. Your doctor may also recommend a stool softener. You may find it helpful to take a sitz bath afterward.
Rest as much as possible, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Do not drive or carry anything over 10 pounds for a week. Realize that mood swings are normal, but if you are worried you have postpartum depression, talk to your doctor right away. Worry about taking care of yourself and your baby before you worry about weight loss.
After about six weeks, you’ll check in with your healthcare provider. This is the time to discuss any symptoms still troubling you and look at your progress so far. All in all, take things at your own pace, and try to enjoy these first precious weeks after your delivery!