What to expect during your Postpartum Period:
First of all, congrats! It’s a wonderful and exciting time to be expecting a new baby. Now let’s make sure you are prepared for the postpartum care and some unfun stuff as well. No one really thinks about what recovery is like after a vaginal birth. Besides, nothing is gonna outshine the excitement and commotion over a brand new baby.
Don’t worry girl, because I’ve got your back! Welcome to the world of motherhood! I just gave birth 2 weeks ago so everything is really fresh and my mind and I am anxious to share some tips with you to help you get prepared.
I should mention that I have 6 kids (I even have twins) so I think it’s safe to claim some authority regarding natural birthing. I’ve noticed that each of my postpartum experiences have been unique and the outcome largely depends on how the delivery played out. Here are a few situations that may affect your postpartum recovery after having given natural birth.
Your doctor gives you an episiotomy (Uh-peezy-ah-tum-mee)
Yep, you probably guessed right, it sounds as bad as it feels. I’m not a big fan of the episiotomy. During my first delivery, I had one. It wasn’t something I planned even really considered but I felt helpless in the moment when my midwife turned to me and told me she was making the cut. That’s basically the gist of it, they take a pair of scissors and cut your “va-jay-jay” to help the baby come out. I guess it’s an alternative to tearing. I’m not sure what would have happened if she had not done it, but I’ll never forget lying there a full hour to get stitched up. I was really antsy, waiting to hold my baby girl again.
The after effect was six weeks of misery down there. Eventually my doctor got tired of hearing my complaints and took a hot iron-like device to burn a skin tab that was causing me perineal pain. Let’s hope you don’t have the same experience.
Tears and Stitches
It’s bound to happen, you may get a few perineal stiches after pushing a baby the size of a watermelon out your tiny exit. It’s incredible what our bodies are capable. After my first delivery with episiotomy, I had to have 1 or 2 stiches from tearing (in the same place) in subsequent pregnancies. I found the recovery to be tolerable with minimal pain in my post-care.
If you plan on having an epidural, you will no longer be able to walk to the bathroom or control your bladder since everything goes numb from the waist down. Your doctor will place a cathedar into your urethra, so you can pee into a bag next to the bed. I happened to have experienced it one time when I was delivering my twins. In my case, It wasn’t from having an epidural, the doctor thought my bladder was too full when it was time to push, so they placed a temporary cathedar and drained my bladder. I don’t know if it’s common, but I ended up with a UTI right after delivery and I suspect that was the cause.
Bleeding, pads and panties….Oh My!
I’m sure the cowardly lion would have passed out if he had seen the postpartum aftermath! After you’ve delivered your bundle of joy, someone will cart you over to your hotel suite (I mean, postpartum room). You’ll have to get used to the idea of blood dripping everywhere. It feels like a scene from Carey…. Or depending on how sensitive you are to that sort of thing. I won’t go into too much detail but if it’s your first time, you need to be mentally prepared. The good news is that the excitement over your new baby will act like rose colored glasses, so it’s not all so bad. You’ll need to be well prepared with loads of humongous pads, mesh panties and lots of other necessities.
Postpartum Care Products Checklist:
So now I will get into the meat and potatoes of this article. Here my list of must-have items specifically for you and if you are planning a vaginal delivery. Some things will be already be provided so I’ll divide into two sections: Hospital swag and Home Stash.
- Dermoplast Spray: This will leave your itchy burning lady parts feeling cool and ease the pain temporarily.
- Tucks Hemorrhoid pads: These are great to help easy discomfort from hemorroids. If you don’t end up with hems, I found that they are great for wiping too.
- Squirt/Spray bottle: It will be difficult to wipe after going to the bathroom, especially if you get stitches. If they hospital has one of those fancy squirting toilets, use that as well.
- The hospital will give you these humongous generic pads that you can layer while at the hospital. So you don’t need to bring your own. Just have some waiting at home.
Momma Tip: Anything that is not nailed down, is free for the taking. I’ve confirmed this with the nurses at my last delivery; anything that is left behind will be disposed of anyway. This includes diapers, breast pump bottles, tubes and accessories, so don’t be afraid to ask for them!
- SUPER Maxi Pads or Depends- I prefer the really thick ones without wings. It gets old fast having that extra step and with the frequent pad changes. At the beginning, you may need to stack 2 or 3 at a time! Yeah, so avoid the ones with wings okay?
- Stool Softener (not necessary, but if you get constipated, it surely helps.
- Comfy and Stretchable cotton panties. You can also go with a disposable kind that feels like regular undies, or even use Depends. There will be a lot of bleeding and pad changes for up to 6 weeks.
- Nipple Gel Pads: You cool this in the fridge and use them to help relieve any pain or discomfort from nursing. I wish I had known about this with my first baby. I was having a lot of trouble with latching and my nipples were bleeding and painful. This wasn’t the case with subsequent nurslings…so I’d recommend to first time mommys.
- Nipple cream: This is a necessity even for the pro-breast-feeders. Apply it before and after each feeding session to help soothe sore nipples.
- Nursing pads: I really like organic reusable bamboo nursing pads. You don’t wan’t to look like a wet T-shirt contestant in an embarrassing moment. Yes, even the thought of a baby, a baby’s cry, or anything remotely related to babies can cause you to “let down” and leak milk through your top!
- Postpartum belly wrap: You would be surprised at how wonderful a belly wrap feels after giving birth. Your belly may feel completely alien and jelly-like and the wrap provides a nice stable support.
- Pain killers: You’ll likely receive a prescription for a high dose of tylenol or motrin before you are discharged. You’ll likely need this to help you with breastfeeding cramps and other minor pain.
I hope this has been helpful for you. I will be adding a few more things to the list the next time my infant and twins are napping! Leave me a comment and re-pin this to help a momma out!