Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How To Recover From Labor

How to Recover from Labor' border=

Hello!  My name is Diana and I blog at our city lights. While Melissa is recovering from her labor, I thought it'd be appropriate to share my personal experience. To clarify, I'm not a doctor and I've only had one baby, so I'm not an expert in postpartum rehab. I had 12 weeks recovery time rather than the average 6 weeks because of the sensitivity of my healing, and please be sure to okay these items with your OB or midwife like I did. I had a very painful 25 hour labor, along with a 4th degree tear, and an episiotomy tear that made a c-section look appealing. Recovery was hard, but thankfully I was packed with an army of items that made it go by easier and I recommend to new mom's.

1. Perineal Bottle - When you pee, you'll be singing Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," but instead fill this up with witch hazel or cool filtered water and use it when going to the bathroom. It won't burn as badly and any type of comfort is important.

2. Witch Hazel - This is a natural astringent taken from leaves of the witch hazel shrub. It’s an anti- itch, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and if your baby gave you the gift of hemorrhoids, this reduces the swelling in veins. I went through over 20 bottles of this during my healing. When it was too sensitive to use even mild soap down there, witch hazel was great in the shower, too.

3. Dermoplast - This is a medical numbing spray. This is great for a topical spray, it will make sitting so much easier. Cuddle with baby and forget your discomfort for a few hours.

4. The Donut Cushion - Be sure to get a foam cushion, it's much more comfortable than an inflatable one. This was so so helpful in keeping my stitches in tact. I took it with me everywhere I went, even restaurants. Sitting on a hard seat stretches out the stitches, and it's just uncomfortable when you’re sitting on an open wound. This feels like you're sitting on a little cloud.

5. Preparation H Wipes - I don’t want to go into details of what goes on down there when I was in the bathroom, but it wasn’t pretty. I was hesitant to use these because I wanted a more natural recovery, but since it's topical, my midwife recommended these for me and so glad she did. Keep in mind, these are for your bum!

6. Overnight Pads - Soak these in witch hazel, put them in the freezer for a couple hours, and use them. This was the best tip from another first time mom, and I'm forever grateful!

7. Bosom Buddy - This is a latex-free wrap that reduces milk productivity. I couldn't breast feed and I didn’t want to get in infection when my milk kept coming in. This was less painful than a bra, andmuch more comfortable than letting them hang out.

8. Belly Bandit - This is another latex-free wrap but for your stomach. It sounds more vain than functional, but it reduces back pain, sciatica nerve pain, and it flattens your stomach quicker to get back to your
pre-baby weight.

9. Sitz Bath - I actually couldn’t use this until after 8 weeks but be sure you clear it with your doctor before. This simple looking apparatus sits on your toilet, you fill it with warm or cold water (I loved using cold
water), and use a tea of your choice after it's been brewed separately, and you sit on it. I used seaweed to help heal faster, or some days just filled it up with witch hazel. The water reaches just high enough to give
you relief.

Not pictured but suggested:

Colace or some sort of stool softener -  I know it’s not Pinterest-worthy but after I stopped taking it, I had to go back to get re-stitched, if you get the idea. I also made organic juices twice a day but if taking a pill is
easier, no judgment here! I highly suggest any type of softner, for thesake of your bum.

Adult Diapers - During labor, I had an epidural and it didn't work. To make things worse, the effects of the epidural lingered around for a couple weeks. In the hospital, the nurses give you these sexy diapers they call "labor panties" but let's be honest, they're adult diapers. I lost control of my muscles down there and between that and the lochia, these were so helpful.

I know every pregnancy and woman is different, but I wish someone would have told me about the not-so-pretty part of labor. As mentioned, please consult with your doctor beforehand! Motherhood is a strong bond and we can all learn a thing or two from each other despite our circumstances. I hope these keep you comfortable and you're able to concentrate on your baby rather than your physical pain.  -Diana

Diana is a dear friend of mine.  We became quite close through our pregnancies (I even called her my "Pregnancy Guru"), and I am so grateful to her for sharing these tips with you guys while I recover from my own labor.  Make sure you pay a visit to her blog, Our City Lights.  It's one of my favorites on the web. And if you have any suggestions of your own for labor recovery, please share in the comments!  xo, melissa

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  1. these are great tips! i'd also recommend tucks medicated pads which have witch hazel and ice packs. and lots of rest!

  2. these are great tips. I'm not having a baby any time soon, but still.

  3. Perfect advice! Thanks for posting, going to recommend to a new momma giving birth next month!

  4. Really great tips here. I remember numbers 1,2 and 9 as my friends. =0)

  5. I tried all of these with my first child (I got an epidural and had an episiotomy) and I thought recovery was worse then labor. With my second I didn't need anything thanks to a natural birth with minimal tearing, plus things I did to better prepare my body for labor. However I do love the bottles you use after you go to the bathroom!!


    1. To be fair, subsequent births tend to come with easier recoveries, natural or otherwise. I've done two natural and one vaginal with epidural and the first which was natural and at home was by far the worst recovery.

    2. That very well could be true! The recovery after my first birth was brutal!

  6. I couldn't agree with this post more :) Sad but TRUE and worth it :)

  7. I just a baby seven weeks ago, and seriously why didn't anyone tell me about the recovery? Great suggestions, definitely made use of a lot of these products myself!

  8. These are all really great suggestions. Another is to fill a surgical glove with ice and top it with witch hazel soaked pads. Also drink what may seem like excessive amounts of water. Labor always leaves me dehydrated.

  9. Ok, so I'm totally freaked out now after reading this post. I'm due in six weeks, and will have to drive just (across country) five weeks later. I will definitely be back to visit this post during my recovery time.

  10. Such a great post! While I'm not planning on having a baby anytime soon, it was an interesting read. It seems not many people like to venture into the 'what can happen after' and when you think about what your body can go through. I'm sure this will help many mothers in the future!

  11. Thanks for this post! It's such a service to all of us who suffered through postpartum recovery wondering why no one mentioned how difficult it can be. To me the recovery part was SO much more painful than labor, yet first time moms are often prompted to focus on labor as the main thing to prepare for. Little did I know that that would be the simpler part!

  12. Fabulous post! May I add two things to the list from my personal experience? I had a few stitches as well and found that Vaseline helped ease the discomfort down there. I would also recommend lanolin for the "nips" if you are breastfeeding... it helps for drying skin! Some of the things on your list I did not know about, and will definitely keep in mind for next time!

  13. Awesome tips--I think I used ALLLLL of them except for the belly and boob wraps as I did breastfeed. Labor was nothing compared to the recovery as all of you are saying. I especially love the cooling and anti-itch properties of the Dermoplast :) I had a third degree episiotomy--my baby's head was off the charts and still is at 7 years old. lol I agree with Lindsay--the second delivery was so much easier. I felt like he just "swam" out--my body had been "broken in.".

  14. so true and so perfect! thank you for sharing :) dermoplast spray was a life-saver!

  15. Diana, thank you for this post!! I'm totally pinning it for future reference. I had no clue about recovery with my daughter, and was in misery. Thank God for kind nurses who sent me home with those "fabulous" granny pads and an extra peri-bottle!


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