23 October 2010

Postpartum Care

This is just a basic FYI for anyone who may end up with stitches due to tearing or an episiotomy. After a med-free birth that required several stitches [I didn't want to know how many at the time and now S says he thinks it was 8], I did not expect the most painful/ uncomfortable part to be the recovery period. These were the basic things that helped me a lot:

Maxi pads:
For the first few days, I put a couple of tablespoons of water in several of them and put them in the freezer. It was almost as good as the ice packs they gave me in the hospital.

Witch hazel pads:
The CVS brand had the highest percentage of witch hazel but you can also use tucks or something similar. I didn't put them in the refrigerator but I have read some posts online that it helps. Wiping with them and even putting them in my underwear over the maxi pad helped with my discomfort. If you can find pure witch hazel, just get that and use it on the maxi pads instead of water.

These are great for when the bleeding slows down. 

I didn't want to take any medication at all. I made it until day 4-5 when I had some discomfort with breastfeeding [more specifically, my armpits were completely swollen and very sore- I didn't realize that was going to happen!] and it made a big difference.

Something soft to sit on:
I actually used my nursing pillow for a couple of days but I know they sell "donut" rings for this purpose as well.

Peri bottle:
This thing was my best friend for the first week. I was pretty freaked out about having had stitches so I may have been overly careful but warm water helped so much at the beginning. When planning our house we're going to build, I always told S that we had to have bidets in the bathrooms. After the peri bottle experience, I think we both realize it's definitely a must.

I didn't use it after I got home because of the toxicity issue with benzocaine and the fact that there are no studies showing whether it gets into breastmilk. If you're not breastfeeding, that might not be as much of a concern, though, so it's another option. It's just a spray that I'm sure you can get at any pharmacy and it helps with itching and pain. FYI, the hospital gave me the regular kind with the blue cap.

Another thing: Walking around helped a lot with the soreness but if I overdid it, my bleeding would increase. I think getting up a few times a day and walking for several minutes is probably sufficient for the first few days.

Ok, now here are some more [grainy, cellphone-camera] pictures of Bay:

The cake S made the first night she was home:

I'm pretty sure it was mostly for him!


  1. Ugh, I hear you! 2 weeks after my little man arrived and I'm still sore. I was shocked at how much blood I could lose! But I definitely loved those hospital ice packs :)

  2. Good to know! 8 weeks to go until my EDD and I often wonder about the recovery part of birth. We always focus on the pregnancy, labour/delivery and the recovery is often missed or not really discussed as much. Thanks for the tips! =)
    Bay is absolutely beautiful-but I'm sure you already know that ;)

  3. Thank you! Good luck with your delivery :)