After navigating two totally natural vaginal births, postpartum recovery and healing can be tough. One of the best things you can do is prepare way before your childbirth with these great tips for postpartum healing after vaginal birth.
Congratulations on that new bundle of joy! No matter what your birth story is like, the odds are that your downstairs area isn’t going to feel the greatest after birth. Your body is capable of truly amazing things, and that includes squeezing something big out of a very small area!
Even with the easiest birth ever, you’re still going to be navigating recovery when it comes to healing after childbirth.
These postpartum healing after vaginal birth tips will really help you on your path to recovery after birth. Keep in mind that just like every baby is different, so is every birth! Postpartum healing is one of those things that isn’t talked about enough, but having a positive recovery experience is a huge part of also feeling good mentally after birth.
I felt incredibly unprepared for the reality of AFTER giving birth. I was exhausted, sore and everything hurt. I’m grateful that I had friends who had recently gone through childbirth too and were able to help me be prepared for what healing would be like.
If you have no idea where to start, don’t worry! Here are my biggest tips for postpartum care and pain relief with postpartum healing after vaginal birth.
Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. Full disclaimer here.
1. Adult Diapers (or big, cheap pads and cheap undies)
Let’s get the most embarrassing one out of the way first: Adult Diapers.
Trust me, I know! I was convinced that pads/sanitary napkins and granny panties would totally do the job, but let me tell you just in case no one else has: you will be leaking. All kinds of things. A LOT. For potentially weeks. You also won’t have total control over the muscles you use for urination right away (which is a whole other can of worms).
A girlfriend who gave birth a few weeks before me actually ordered these amazing adult diapers off Amazon, and I was so thankful she did. Within the first day of arriving home, I was all about that diaper life. It was just so much easier to manage, and a lot less messy.
Seriously, order a package to have *just in case.*
The first few days and weeks postpartum are, well… messy. I personally struggled with how uncomfortable the large pads were, and opted for adult diapers. If you would prefer pads, I recommend stocking up on the cheap ones as you will be changing them often.
Also, grab extra mesh underwear from the hospital! Not only are they great for holding those giant pads in place, but they are super breathable (which helps keep you more comfortable). Pick up some extra cheap undies too.
I actually wasn’t sure how I felt about these before my first childbirth, and I gotta be honest: it was the most incredible thing ever! Not only are padsicles meant to help soothe your very angry lady bits, they actually help speed healing by calming your inflamed tissue and reducing pain.
They are so easy to make. Check out this “recipe” here. All you have to do is take them out of the freezer, unwrap them and use.
3. Pain Killers
You do NOT have to try to tough it out. Healing after vaginal birth is hard! You and your body just went through an incredible amount of trauma, and pain killers will make a big difference.
If you were prescribed pain killers by your doctor, follow those instructions. If not, Motrin or Advil will help with swelling in addition to helping with your pain level. Be aware that Ibuprofen (like Motrin) shouldn’t be taken on an empty stomach, so if you’re struggling with food try Tylenol instead.
4. Sitz Baths
Be sure you’ve been cleared by your doctor or midwife before taking a sitz bath. They are a fantastic way to speed healing after vaginal delivery!
5. Healing Ointment or Spray and Medicated Wipes
Again, not the most glamorous of items, but Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads are pretty magical while you’re healing down there.
The wipes are medicated and soaked in witch hazel, which is extremely cooling even when they’re room temperature and helps alleviate the pain associated with any tears or swelling. It will be uncomfortable for a few days to a few weeks to use the bathroom, so having these in your bathroom really helps with the discomfort level.
You can order a package of two boxes here on Amazon.
I also swear by this First Aid Spray. Like the original one, it give you fast pain relief, but this version ALSO helps to kill 99% of germs on contact. It’s perfect for postpartum as it lets you have a no-touch application, and unlike some other sprays it doesn’t sting!
I also found that it helps immensely with the postpartum itching that starts happening as you heal down there. You can order it here on Amazon.
6. Prepping For the Potty
Every single mom I know was nervous about her first trip to the potty after giving birth, so if you are too don’t worry! Make sure that you have stool softeners already in your medicine cabinet to help make things even easier if needed.
I didn’t have stitches, but I’ve heard from friends that if you DO, you will want to take the stool softeners to help make it less painful those first few days.
Now for the even more TMI portion of this section. It’s oddly not very talked about, but the way that you position your body for postpartum poops matters so much.
Pooping in a squatting position is WAY more easy on your body, especially postpartum. It almost always requires less straining and allows you to have a much easier experience.
I also recommend that you get a peri-bottle. You should be able to snag one from the hospital, but if not you can order a really great one here.
Depending on your level of damage, using the peri-bottle can be varying levels of painful when you’re healing after childbirth. So then why use it? A peri-bottle allows you to rinse after you pee, instead of worrying about wiping. It also helps you clean your wound and helps prevent irritation and infection.
Pro tip: It’s also nice to have both a stool and a peri-bottle in each bathroom you use. I learned from experience that it’s really annoying to have to wait for your husband to go run and grab these things when you’re in need 😉
If you’re still feeling like you’re in a lot of healing-related pain down there, sitz baths can also make a big difference if you’re struggling to go the bathroom because of the pain!
7. Loose Clothing
Even if you feel like a million bucks, you’re not going to want to throw on those tight leggings just yet. Keeping things loose down there helps with blood flow (and it’s a great excuse to live in sweatpants for a few weeks).
8. Continue Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins
Your body just went through an incredible journey and essentially a gigantic trauma. The best thing you can do right now is continue to take care of it by making sure you’re getting enough vitamins.
Vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as copper and iron are essential to helping wounds heal. Which means they’re also incredibly important to help with helping after childbirth.
Not all vitamins are created equal, so be sure to check that what you’re taking is what you need. These are the prenatal / postnatal vitamins that I took with both of my pregnancies.
9. Drink Plenty of Water and Put Healthy Food in Your Body
Your body needs even more water now then you did when you were pregnant! You’ve lost blood and you’re making milk. The more water you drink, the better you’ll feel.
This is coming from someone who is notoriously dehydrated. I really struggle to drink enough water regularly. What I’ve found really helped me was getting an insulated tumbler, like this 32 ounce one that keeps my water cold for hours. I aim to fill it up and drink it three times a day while recovering from birth, and that amount of water makes a noticeable difference in how I feel.
Be aware of the type of food you’re putting in your body postpartum as well. It might be tempting to pig out on every single food you’ve been dreaming of, but the best thing you can do for your healing body (and milk production!) is to continue to eat lean meats, leafy greens and healthy fats.
Your body needs time to rest to help with healing after childbirth, which might seem impossible right now. So as much as possible, REST. Let your partner or friends/family who come to visit help with the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, and you focus on healing that amazing body of yours.
Too much movement can not only increase bleeding, but it can also put unnecessary strain on stitches or tears. Let your body rest so that you can have the energy you need when baby is having a hard time!
I hope these Postpartum Healing After Vaginal Birth tips are helpful for you. Remember: you’ve got this!