It’s hard to step back and take care of yourself, especially when your life has been upended with the introduction of a newest member.
Let’s talk about those scary few days immediately after you’ve given birth. People passed my newborn from pillar to post, but no one talked about the vaginal stitches and the perineal exercises.
Here’s the low down on the bits that others might feel too squeamish to tell you.
** disclaimer ** This article is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice.
before the event:
1. Raspberry leaf tea – it supposedly helps strengthen your uterine muscles to help with contractions. I don’t know if it works, but I had a good labour and I drank it religiously.
2. Stock up on Maternity Pads.
3. Did you know that they sell special ice packs for ‘down there’?
4. Stock up on paracetamol, just in case! (Don’t forget to speak to your doctor before taking any un-prescribed medicines)
5. You’ll need big granny knickers, the kind that can hold a massive maternity pad in place.
after the event:
1. Do not fear the episiotomy, sometimes these things happen.
2. There are degrees of tears. First and second-degree tears require stitches from a midwife but third and fourth require a doctor.
3. Even if you don’t need stitches, you’ll feel a bit bruised and stretched for a little while. You will bounce back; the vagina is an amazing thing.
4. Breastfeeding will help to contract your uterus back to its normal size.
5. But you may feel cramps.
6. It may hurt to get up and hold your baby, don’t be afraid to ask for a bit of help!
7. Get ready for the most painful wee in your life.
8. * VAGINA HACK * Grab a bottle full of water and pour it over the area as you wee. It will dilute the acidity and help it to hurt less.
9. Don’t use any fancy wash products until your stitches have healed.
10. * VAGINA HACK * I left post-it notes around the house to remind me to do my perineal exercises.
11. Pelvic floor exercises WILL help with your bladder control.
12. Apparently, 40% of women have some sort of incontinence as a result of childbirth – EEK! If you’re worried ask your midwife or GP. Don’t suffer in silence; you are not alone. Trust me.
13. Fresh air can be the best thing for recovering stitches.
14. It will be a minimum of six weeks before you can even entertain the idea of sex.
15. Midwives will come and they WILL ask to see your stitches, just to make sure you’re healing alright. The invasion does not end once the baby is born.
16. You may be dryer ‘down there’ than normal, it’s due to an excess of hormones and is completely normal.
17. Mandatory maternity leave is a thing for a reason, your body has been through the ringer. Don’t feel like you must be superwoman.
18. Your body was built for this. Everything will settle down in time.
for the c-section ladies:
1. Special C-Section pants can be great for extra support, if you are using a Bellyband, make sure that it’s a gentle support one.
2. BUT you must also allow your incision to breath.
3. Try to avoid waistbands that will rub against your incision as this can slow healing.
4. You have had major surgery, allow yourself time to recover.
5. You’ll still need the maternity pads.
6. And you’ll still be able to breastfeed.
7. You might still feel a bit tender down there, because of the pressure of baby on your cervix before your C-section. This will get better before you know it!
Hope my little bit of TMI didn’t scare you all too badly! If there is anything that I forgot to mention, don’t forget to put it in the comments!