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There’s lots of discussion about what to expect during childbirth and less talk about the actual RECOVERY from vaginal delivery and what it feels like for us moms.
So, if you’re currently shocked by what’s going on with your body (there’s a lot going on, isn’t there?) I’m going to share 8 ways to help you speed up your recovery and get some relief NOW.
(This is also the ultimate postpartum recovery guide if you happen to be reading this before you have your baby – good for you, mama!)
I was once where you are right now – in pain, sore, itchy and wondering how I would ever function properly again.
That experience has me knowing that I will follow my own postpartum recovery tips so that things go much smoother next time!
So let’s get to the top 8 things you can do to help your recovery from childbirth move along a little quicker than they are…
While my tips and ideas will help you start healing from childbirth NOW, total postpartum recovery takes time and should be done correctly.
Check out The Postpartum Cure.
Here’s what you’ll get:
✔20 of the most healing postpartum foods.
✔How to keep your milk supply high while losing some weight.
✔20 meal plans to help you get healthy and lose the baby weight.
✔How to heal your pelvic floor (so important!).
Check it out here.
RELATED READ: The Honest Truth About What to Expect During Childbirth
Ways To Speed Up Your Recovery From Vaginal Delivery
1. Pick Up Postpartum Bleeding Essentials
Make sure you have things on hand to handle postpartum bleeding.
These should be items that will make you feel comfortable while you deal with a heavy postpartum period.
✔Disposable mesh underwear (because you don’t want to ruin any undies you actually like!)
✔Thick period pads that absorb well (you don’t want your lady parts sitting in moisture for too long)
✔This perineal spray for cooling relief down there (all-natural and a complete lifesaver!)
✔Peri bottles (get one for every bathroom)
✔A mattress pad to protect while you sleep (that way you won’t worry)
The idea here is to make sure you don’t sit in too much moisture which isn’t hard to do because your postpartum bleeding will be heavy.
The disposable mesh underwear is lose fitting but snug enough to keep your pad in place.
I grabbed pads with wings and stuck them as best I could to the mesh underwear so that my pad didn’t go anywhere.
The perineal spray is for its natural cooling effect and will have you thanking your lucky stars you found it.
(It also contains witch hazel which will help keep things sanitary)
As for the peri bottles – they almost deserve a post on their own, haha!
Fill them with lukewarm water and spray gently on your lady parts.
This will help convince your downstairs parts to release urine (aka you’ll pee much easier postpartum, haha!) AND keep you clean during a time where you can’t imagine wiping anything down there.
The mattress pad is to, well, protect your mattress from you potentially leaking.
Once you have these things in play you will feel comfortable and SO much better – which is also good for mama’s postpartum recovery!
2. Take Stool Softeners Postpartum
I have a horror story to share with you – literally.
I didn’t think I needed a stool softener because I had regular bowel movements before giving birth.
Um, say what?
I don’t know who or what to blame for that COMPLETE lapse in judgment, maybe pregnancy brain that had already changed to mommy brain?
Who really knows.
Because I didn’t bother with the stool softeners my first bowel movement felt like giving birth all over again.
I’ll spare you the rest of the details – the point is that you should take stool softeners for a few days after labor and delivery.
If you haven’t taken any then constipation may be slowing down your recovery.
It’s not making you feel good, in fact, it’s making you feel worse.
The nurses may give you some but be prepared by getting your own.
Getting yourself on track will help you feel a lot better overall.
RELATED READ: The Complete Postpartum Recovery Plan
3. Padsicles Are Your New Best Friend
Making your own padsicles will definitely help speed up your recovery from vaginal childbirth and I can’t recommend them enough.
What exactly is a padsicle?
It’s a homemade cooling pad with your choice of healing properties.
Think of them as little pieces of cooling heaven helping your lady parts when they need it most.
Take a look at some of the benefits of using postpartum padsicles:
✔Aides in pain relief
What do you need to do in order to make a padsicle?
(Ideally, you would make some padsicles before you deliver but don’t worry if you’re not that prepared, they’re pretty easy to make).
There are many different padsicle recipes out there but I chose simple because I wanted fast results and I was scared I may do something to irritate down there if I went crazy with ingredients.
I took my postpartum pad and opened it.
I then spread aloe vera (I happen to have a plant but you can use aloe vera gel like this one) on and then sprayed a bit of witch hazel (alcohol-free), wrapped the pad back up, placed it in a plastic sandwich bag and stuck it in the freezer until I felt it was cold enough.
Mama it amazing trust me!
The aloe is soothing and the witch hazel is helping your inflammation down there.
If you want more padsicle ideas I found this article helpful.
4. Take Postpartum Sitz Baths
A postpartum sitz bath is another truly amazing way to help yourself recover from childbirth.
The idea is to fill an over the toilet sitz bath with enough warm water to submerge your lady parts in.
Then you add in some healing ingredients such as:
Epsom salt – an all natural ingredient that reduces swelling and cleanses (important!).
Lavender essential oil because it’s a natural antiseptic (this ingredient is optional).
Alcohol-free witch hazel -fights infection and is widely known to reduce inflammation. It’ll also help with itching if that’s what’s going on (bonus!).
Mix the ingredients well before you actually lower yourself into the sitz bath.
**Also, run your plans by your doctor or midwife BEFORE actually taking a postpartum sitz bath.**
5. Have Pain Relief On Hand
If you’re experiencing all over body aches (happened to me) or you’re just super sore and want some immediate relief so you can sleep or just make it through the day then take ibuprofen (like Advil).
It’s completely safe to use while you’re breastfeeding too so no need to worry (source)
RELATED READ: The Complete Postpartum Care Checklist
6. See a Physiotherapist for Your Pelvic Floor
After the birth of my daughter, I started seeing a physiotherapist specializing in women’s health after delivery.
IF you have access to pelvic floor physio, I highly recommend you go.
She helped me strengthen my pelvic floor (it was under a lot of pressure during my pregnancy, so it was weak), stretch out the scar tissue I got because I tore during birth (I had a level one tear, not SO bad, but bad if you know what I mean) and made sure my abdominal muscles healed properly by doing the right exercises.
She armed me with the knowledge I needed and followed up with monthly appointments to see how I was recovering.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because if you can get this kind of help BEFORE you give birth you should.
Obviously, you should also go after delivering as well.
Check your area for this service – you’ll be happy you did.
More women need this information!
7. Stretch Out Your Vagina – Yes, You Read That Right
Otherwise known as a perineal massage 🙂
If you tear during your delivery, there’s a good chance you’ll have some scar tissue that will cause you some discomfort even beyond that magical 6-week postpartum recovery
Once you’re a few weeks postpartum do a perineal massage twice a day to help stretch out the tissue and it worked!
I used this perineal massage oil to help and have stocked up for my future recovery. 🙂
I’m actually going to start the massaging process BEFORE I give birth, so that tells you how helpful perineal massages have been.
8. Kegels, Kegels, Kegels
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support a lot of really important body parts, one being your vagina.
Making sure your pelvic floor is strong BEFORE birth will likely help your delivery which will then aid your recovery time (in theory).
BUT, Kegels do wonders for your recovery from vaginal delivery too:
✔Promotes perineal healing.
✔Helps bladder control (another fun thing to deal with after birth!).
✔Strengthens your pelvic floor muscles which help keep lots of your organs in place.
I picked up this kegel ball set and have already started prepping my body for birth and recovery 🙂
There you go mama!
The idea I hope you got from this post is that your comfort is of the utmost importance if you want to speed up your recovery from childbirth.
You need to make sure you have the items that will help you handle postpartum bleeding without worrying that you’ll leak everywhere.
You also need to use padsicles and postpartum sitz baths to accelerate your childbirth recovery.
Do make sure to check with your doctor or midwife to make sure they’re okay with what you’re doing.
The last 3 tips are more to help you after the 6-week postpartum recovery mark.
If you follow that advice then you’re setting yourself to heal properly and that is key for your health and happiness.
It’ll also help your recovery from future pregnancies!
Tell me, did you find these tips helpful?
What are your own plans for childbirth recovery?
If you’re currently postpartum, which tips do you think will help you speed up your healing?
Let me know in the comments!