Tip 3 – Apply ice packs
Cool compresses help reduce swelling associated with tears and pain. If you find that your labia are swollen, but not irritated, this can be normal and due to excess fluid. Ice will not help that swelling, but it can help swelling associated with tears and stitches.
You can also get “instant” prepackaged perineal cool compresses. that do not require a freezer and activate when bent in half. But simply putting some water in a maxi pad and then freezing also makes a great cool compress.
Tip 4 – Poo carefully
Pregnancy, birth, the postnatal period and your newborn can lead to lots of thoughts about poo! Prior to pregnancy it is likely something that rarely took much of your thoughts. Many women are very anxious about their first postnatal bowel movement, and it can be extremely uncomfortable, while for others it’s all about the anxiety.
Depending on how birth went, and if you are using pain medications, constipation can contribute to postnatal discomfort. This can be exacerbated by high strength iron tablets (as the excess iron will come out in your poo, making it turn black and making you constipated too). So staying well hydrated and eating foods naturally high in fibre and using any stool softeners recommended by care providers can help you get past the first few postnatal movements.
Even if you are anxious, do not try to avoid using the bathroom when necessary. Holding it can make constipation and discomfort worse. For most, the anticipation is worse than actually going.
Tip 5 – Give yourself plenty of rest time
Giving birth is a momentous task, and one worthy of lots and lots of rest to recover and replenish yourself. Really try to listen to your body, do not simply try to “get back to normal” as soon as possible. Take all the help offered – this is such an important time. If you are using the stairs too often, or if walking or lifting causes more perineal discomfort, then do really listen to your body and rest. It really is a several week recovery for this area, be gentle with yourself.
In the early days and weeks mamas should be focused on feeding, bonding and resting. The more you rest, the more opportunity you give your body to heal.
Most women find their perineum heals well within the initial postnatal period. Many women do not report a lot of pain, just discomfort as things heal. Postnatal healing isn’t something to fear, but it does help to be prepared to help minimize discomfort and speed up healing. It is a great thing to be well prepared for your baby’s bottom, just don’t forget to care for yours too!
Originally published HERE.
Susan Bradley is the founder of For Modern Mothers, dedicated to helping you have a positive pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood. My aim is that I simply want to help you feel better in body, heart and mind, by learning amazing skills and practical techniques which really support you on your journey to motherhood and beyond. I do this though teaching Pregnancy Yoga, Hypnobirthing & Complete Birth preparation courses, Mum & Baby Yoga, and Baby Massage classes, workshops and private lessons – in and around York, UK. You can find me online at www.formodernmothers.com and on Facebook www.facebook.com/formodernmothers.