Who didn't see this post coming, right?
Besides, this blog, is for the most part, dedicated to orthopaedic injuries and surgeries, and our pelvic floor specialist, Molly, could use a shout out once in a while by means of a subject she frequents with her patients.
1. Pads Only
No sexual activity, or use of tampons, is allowed for at least 6 weeks following vaginal delivery. This means you're only going to use pads to maintain that post-pregnancy, no-menstrual-cycle-for-nine-months flow. It doesn't hurt to double up, putting on pad in front of the other to help protect you from leakage, and increase the padding on those sensitive areas.
While you're at it, dipping your pads in aloe vera or witch hazel and freezing them make great little ice packs that are absorbent and relieving. If it sounds ridiculous, try sitting on wood or carpet and tell me it doesn't sound worth a try.
3. Sitz Baths
Whether you had an episiotomy or not, those stitches and swollen areas are going to need to be cleaned. Plus - the soak has been said to help reduce the pain.
4. Mesh Undies
Don't get me wrong - you can wear cotton. But not only is the mesh going to allow ample healing even with clothing on, but they're going to save you time, as well, since we know they're going to feel the wrath of the post-pregnancy menstrual cycle you're about to conquer. Everyone knows new moms are supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, and trying to do laundry (with your cotton undies) is going to keep you from getting the rest you need to heal your entire body. Do yourself a favor! Snag some from the hospital and toss them when you're done.
5. Don't Strain
Don't rush your trips to the bathroom. Not only are you going to have to find a position that's comfortable for you to use the restroom in, but give yourself time to do your business without rushing. Contracting/relaxing your pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles to hustle up urination, or to force your body to defecate quicker is going to agitate what's already sore.
You don't need a lesson on wiping, don't get me wrong. But make sure you're wiping front to back to avoid infection, and use medicated wipes for a little extra help. The last thing a new mom needs is some sort of infection in that same area.
Those muscles need time to heal. They've been stretched to or beyond their max, and they've had to work very hard to get that beautiful baby into your arms. Give your body time to relax, and after a couple of weeks, start doing pelvic floor strengthening exercises to help to make those muscles strong again.
8. Some Symptoms Are Normal
Shakes, sweats, night-sweats, and chills are all normal. As your body readjusts to the hormonal imbalance you'll have following birth, your body will react in number of ways including internal temperature discrepancies. Don't fret - this'll go away in a couple of days. Should you have a fever, tell your physician and keep an eye on it.
9. Epidural Symptoms
Don't be surprised if you have issues in the first 24 hours, especially the first couple hours, following birth from your epidural. It can sometimes take a little while for the effects to totally wear off - it's completely normal. Just be careful, and have someone near you at all times when you're getting up and walking around.
Don't be surprised as your emotions fluctuate following birth. Postpartum hormonal imbalances are severe, and can lead to severe ups and downs as your body adjusts to not carrying a baby anymore. Be warned, many moms say their emotions went crazy as the milk started coming in. Again, as your body adapts, they should regulate steadily.