Considering women have been giving birth since the beginning of time, the sheer amount of things we only learn about having a baby by actually having a baby is staggering! We should talk more about our experiences with childbirth and the aftermath more openly and honestly. It would save so many women from a lot of mental anguish and physical pain, especially when it comes to caring for their postpartum bodies.
Had my cousin not been honest with me about her experiences, I wouldn’t have known to have Preparation-H ready and waiting when I got home from the hospital. Had my honorary big sis not given me the real tea, I may have thought my regular underwear and pads were going to cut it after giving birth and would have been sadly mistaken. So I want to do my part and share a few tips regarding caring for your lady parts that you’ll find useful if you plan to give birth or help care for someone who has given birth recently.
TLC For Your Postpartum Lady Bits
This list is in no way exhaustive but I hope it at least sets you down the right path for your postpartum journey!
Do not wipe. Squirt.
They typically give you a peri-bottle at the hospital. “Peri” is short for perineum, the area between the vagina and anus that really needs gentle handling after you labor and/or push a baby out of your lady bits. Its purpose is to allow you to squirt yourself clean when you use the restroom because wiping can be extremely painful and damaging to your healing private parts. It’s really important to cleanse with water often to prevent infection. When you’re done, squirt more warm water everywhere to be sure everything is nice and clean and then use a big wad of toilet paper to PAT dry.
Pro-Tip: squirt WARM water (you might think cool water will make your painful parts feel better…it will not) while peeing to neutralize any stinging you might experience. Here’s a great article with lots of information about peri-bottles!
Depend on Depends.
My cousin and I like to think we coined that little phrase because honey, we love us some Depends (you can watch our super informative video about what babies really do to your body here)! Depends are essentially adult diapers so you might think we’re crazy for being such fervent fans but hear me out. After giving birth, you may bleed vaginally for several days or even weeks. We’ve learned that they really do a great job of going on easy like underwear and soaking up the blood like a giant pad does. And they manage to still be relatively comfy! Grab a couple boxes of disposable pull-up underwear before giving birth and stick a few in your hospital bag.
Witch Hazel helps with the new arrivals that pop out along with baby.
If you’re unfamiliar, witch hazel is a natural astringent that can be used for a number of things from skincare, to cleansing and soothing small skin irritations or cuts. And in this case, witch hazel is invaluable for healing your lady bits during those early postpartum days. Pushing a baby out can also cause hemorrhoids to pop out of your anus. They are inflamed, sometimes bleed, sting, and make the already challenging task of pooping after giving birth damn near impossible. Hemorrhoid pads not only feel good (especially if you keep them in the freezer) when you put them right up against your hemorrhoids, witch hazel’s astringent properties also help keep everything clean down under and help heal your injured skin.
After cleansing with water, fold a hemorrhoid pad and stick it right between your butt cheeks to enjoy all of its’ soothing goodness. Leave it there for about 20 minutes or up to a couple hours. I’d also recommend applying some Preparation-H to your hemorrhoids with a q-tip after removing your hemorrhoidal pad. Prep-H will help shrink your hemorrhoids and also have a cooling, soothing effect.
Hope these tips are helpful. This is my first time sharing postpartum lady bits insights, but it certainly won’t be the last. And if you’ve got some helpful tips or questions, leave a comment below; let’s keep the conversation going!
Editor’s Note: This post originally published on AbundantlyTiny.com by contributor Taina.
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Taina Nixon is a Christian, lifelong public health professional, and a grade-A sister-friend. Most people call her Tai. She loves to laugh and spend quality time with her loved ones, especially her husband, and her baby boy. She's obsessed with all things rose gold, and spends way too much time watching political dramas. She's been oversharing on the internet for over a decade. As a public health professional, she knows how important it is to have other women to talk to & relate shared experiences of self development, career choices, friendship, dating, marriage, and motherhood. All women need and deserve a tribe of other like-minded women with whom they can do life! See more of her work on AbundantlyTiny.com.