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4 Tips for Healing from Labor

4 Tips for Healing from Labor
Leading up to giving birth you hear and think a lot about labor and delivery, but I feel like we talk less about the healing process AFTER delivery.  No one told me about episiotomies and tuck pads, that it would burn like fire every time I needed to pee, about the night sweats I would have for weeks while my hormones regulated, that you can bleed for up to six weeks after delivery or that it would be almost a year before being intimate with my husband wasn't painful! TMI? Probably, but that's why no one talks about it and there needs to be more information out there! So I want to share some recovery insight that I learned from experience after having my two babies and doing some research . (I can only speak to vaginal delivery recovery, not c-section)

REST IS BEST!

I thought to myself after having my first baby that I would like to be put into a medically induced coma for just like a quick week to recover. Obviously not really, but on a physical level it would kinda make sense.  The day after I had the baby it felt like I had ran a marathon and then got hit by a truck as I was crossing the finish line. Muscles that I didn't even know I had were sore. I was engorged and swollen and so tired. It is so important to REST and take it EASY after you have the baby. Let the nurses and your family and friends pamper you a little bit. Take advantage of people wanting to help once you come home and don't worry about the dishes or the laundry and just rest and sleep as much as you can. I know everybody says that but really, accept the help and SLEEP!

BE PREPARED WITH THE RIGHT PRODUCTS!

There are a few products that will help a lot with the recovery process. The first is the Fridababy Fridet-The Mom Washer. It's a little peri-bottle that you squirt during and after you pee to help with the stinging and speed up the recovery process. This is superior to the hospital squirt bottle because it's easier to maneuver and is made to be held upside down. Another tip-WARM WATER, take the extra second and warm up the water or else it's a little too BAZINGA for the BAZINGA if you know what I mean. The other products that I recommend are Tucks pads, which are medicated cooling pads, nice and big, absorbent pads for the bleeding and all that beautiful mesh underwear the nurses will give to you. Also make sure you ask the nurses for some ice packs for your "crotch care", it is really important to ice "down there" the first 24 hours after baby comes to reduce swelling (I wonder how many times I will use " " air quotes in this post). Most people don't know this but after the first 24 hours it should be a dry or moist HEAT that should be applied-no more ice. Sitz baths, which are sitting in a few inches of as-hot-as-you-can-handle water for 10-15 minutes were a total game changer for me after my second baby and really helped with the recovery.

SIX WEEKS RECOVERY IS AN ESTIMATE NOT A DEADLINE.

Everything I read said that I should be healed by six weeks, and then when I wasn't I was really disappointed. Just know that if you had a really bad tear or episiotomy you may not be ready to jump back into your workouts or "bed" right at six weeks. Some people feel completely healed by six weeks, but for some it can be longer and that's alright; don't try to push yourself too hard. I was also surprised to find out from my OBGYN that a lot of women skip their six week appointment. It is important to keep that appointment so that the doctor can make sure everything is healing correctly and that you are doing well physically AND mentally.

POST BABY SEX IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE! 

I have friends that say their first time being intimate post baby was like nothing changed and some who said it was never the same. I remember going to the doctor six months after having my baby convinced that something was wrong with me because sex was so painful still. He gave me an exam, then took out his prescription pad, wrote something down and handed it to me. His prescription was 'Lots of foreplay, Lots of lube' thanks Doc! Just make sure you have the go-ahead from your doctor, that you have birth control under control and that you and your partner have a general understanding that things might take a while to get back to normal. If you are still having pain during intercourse after visiting with your doctor, check out Michelle's previous post: Pain During Intercourse After Baby and Why it Matters for some insight into what else may be going on!

Recovering from pushing a human out of you is no easy task and it's ok if you feel like a hot mess for a while after. Just remember to ask for help if you need it, ease back into your new normal and finally don't forget to take those stool softeners the hospital gives you! And on that note.....

Written by Cassie Tremblay
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