Saving Yourself a Pain in the...

Or: Post Partum tricks and tips that may make life easier for you and your, er, um, body. Over the last few weeks, I've noticed my recovery from the birth of my third child has been much less painful and much easier than the others, particularly the first. (That one, I can't even think about without cringing- ugh!) And this really makes no sense- believe me, a baby born in 16 minutes causes more trauma to mom than a baby born slowly who mercifully gives mom stretching time. Why has #3, who gave me 12 stitches as opposed to 2, been so much easier to heal from? I think it's because I better know what to do for my tender body, and what products not to run out of. So, as experienced moms, I'm thinking we could maybe let each other in on what works, things you wish you had known after that first or second (or more) baby. I'll go first...
  1. When the nurse gives you that little bottle of laxative a few hours after the baby comes, TAKE IT. Even if you think you won't need it, TAKE IT! There is little worse than a constipated new mom with stitches- enough said.
  2. The first time you get up after the baby is born, make sure someone is there with you. Make sure it is someone who can support you if you faint and fall. It happens. You may be fine, I was twice, but once- not so good. So be careful.
  3. Take the Ibuprofen when the clock says to, not when it wears off and you're hurting. It is safe to breastfeed with, and you only need it for a few days. World of difference.
  4. Ice packs are wonderful. Use them, let the nurses fix them for you, and enjoy. At home it won't be so convenient, but you can still make one by cutting open one of baby's diapers at the top and filling the insides with crushed ice. The diaper absorbs the ice as it melts. It's a good thing on a mommy with some stitches.
  5. As soon as you can, get up and move around. Go for a walk around the hospital or house or room. But get up and move. It will help.
  6. Use the little squirty-bottle thing they give you at the hospital. It's one of the best things ever. And use warm water...
  7. Tucks pads or Preparation H- I know, eww. But seriously, have some on hand, or have a willing husband who will run to the store and buy you some. You won't need it forever, or even probably for long. One container lasted three kids for me, but I'm glad I had it!

What else, Mommies, have you learned to make post-partum care and healing easier on yourself, not only physically, but perhaps mentally and spiritually, too?


Blogger Tigersue said...

Take Sitz baths!!!!!
after the initial 24 hours of using the ice packs you can start taking sitz baths. It is best if you can sit in warm running water but if not, fill the tup a few inches and sit in the warm water for 20 minutes. Use it as time to relax! Trust me as a nurse they are great and feel good and alow those areas to heal.

I also think first babies are harder to heal from. There is scar tissue that helps with the pain with following babies.

Don't push yourself. Yes take the Ibuprofen but be aware that one of the side effects is depression so really watch for an increase of baby blues or PPD.

Use the tux pads until you heal. I go through a full box with each baby!

Listen to good music.

relax and enjoy time with the new baby.

6/02/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger hairyshoefairy said...

Good idea Tracy! I'm so making notes to myself. :)

6/02/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Trivial Mom said...

Keep a candle warmer with a quart size canning jar full of water next to the toilet. That way when you have to pee in a rush, you won't have to wait for the water to get warm to fill up your squirty bottle. And the candle warmer keeps the water the perfect temperature, just hot enough.

6/02/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Leslie said...

Read this AFTER having your first child - NOT before, as I just did and completely freaked myself out. I appreciate the tips - or will at some point in the future. But now I'm wondering.. Tucks Pads??? Does that mean you automatically get hemorrhoids? What is the warm water and sprayey thing for? Oh yikes! ;)

6/02/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The nurse will help you with the warm water and spraying thing in the hospital. You basically just spray yourself when you go to the bathroom to help with the cleansing and the pain.

And I never needed Tucks pads, even though I knew a lot of women who did. It's always best to be prepared.

What I was totally unprepared for was the fact that when I nursed, milk came out of both boobs at the same time. I always thought it was one or the other. I never saw a picture of a woman nursing with both boobs going at once. It was so gross.

6/02/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I second the taking ibuprofen by the clock. You do not want to be chasing pain.

Also, and this probably way too much TMI, but the first little while when you go to the bathroom, you might not feel the urge to go, especially if you had an epidural (I don't know if you delivered naturally). Your bladder muscles just aren't functioning properly yet.

They've been pumping you full of fluids, get up and go every few hours, even if you don't feel like you have to, until you feel the urge again (which will be fairly soon, just a few hours away.) But it's a very strange feeling, those first few bathroom trips.

6/02/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

One word: NUPERCAINAL. It's an analgesic cream meant for hemmorhoids, but it does wonders for your torn up ya-ya after birth. It's amazing! Seriously--don't have another baby without it!!!

6/02/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or you can always do everything you can to PREVENT stitches at birth. Choose the care of a competant midwife who really knows how to support and protect a perineum, consider birthing without an epidural so you can better control your pushing and use other positions besides lying on your back with your knees to your ears, and eat healthy and stay well hydrated throughout your pregnancy -healthy tissue stretches better.

None of these things are a guarantee, but they clearly DO lower your chances of tearing or being cut.

I can tell you from experience (I've done it both ways) that recovery from a birth with an epidural and episiotomy is a bazillion times worse than recovery from an unmedicated birth with no tears. Even my birth with a small tear was a thousand times less painful than with the epidural. Sometimes epidurals only delay the pain into the postpartum period.

Something to consider when you think an epidural is going to save you from pain.....

6/02/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


None of the stuff has to do with your backside. The Tucks pads, the spray thingie, and the warm water all have to do with, as had been said, your "ya-ya", which is torn up from having just pushed something the size of a watermelon through it. Sorry, but that's what we are talking about.

I loved the anesthetic spray they gave me at the hospital--numbing and cool. I also got a nifty sitz bath thingie that hooked up to the sink and I could put it on the toilet, then dump it when I was done. That helped the first 2 days.

But I second the thought about the midwife who can help stretch the perineum with oil, etc. I tore very little, and healed remarkably fast. I walked the 15 minute walk to church 2 weeks after J was born completely pain free. I give all credit to my midwife's care.

6/02/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/02/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger nestle said...

on the c-section end

yeah! for warm squirty things.

Strap on girdle. this relieves any effort to use not existant abdomen muscles...

Keep up on Meds.. You can't catch up.

PRETTY PJS ARE A MUST. Several pairs actually. You'll be in them for at least a week because bending over hurts too much, and anything with a waistband KILLS. And this way when you are feeling your absolute grossest (you can't shower for a few days after a c-section) you can at least pretend to feel pretty.

move move move. As soon as possible after the birth. Even if you feel you are passing out move. Walking makes you feel TONS better even though while you're doing it sucks.

get a hospital that either has room service whenever or a galley that you can eat out of at any time.

6/02/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Bek said...


Ha!! Just kidding. My first child is bio and I felt pretty lucky b/c I had a pretty routine labor/delivery. I second the ice pack idea ...also...even if you think you are feeling fine, remember that people will only help you for a few weeks so use it. I was up and around a few days later and was doing all the normal things and about three weeks later I crashed.....take it easy (if you can). Take advantage of the help while you have it.

I adopted the second one and it was pretty nice to not have a body healing from birth (one of the many good parts of adoption). I could go and do all the normal things and not feel like I had been hit by a truck....kind of. Even though I didn't birth that child it was still hard....you don't realize what lack of sleep and just caring for a newborn can do to a healthy body....let alone one that is trying to heal. This is all great advice.

6/02/2006 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger suzanne said...

I haven't ever posted here, but I love your site! You all make me laugh and know I'm not going crazy some days!

My OB prescribed a cream for newly nursing moms to prevent nipple pain called "all purpose nipple cream." It SAVED me! It was so incredibly painful to nurse, and that lansonil cream did nothing for me. This stuff was the best! I used it for my second baby too. Loved it!

6/03/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I deleted my last comment because Heather and I were writing at the same time, and she beat me!

Tigersue- I had no idea there was a link between Ibuprofen and PPD- thanks for the heads-up. I do know that Ibuprofen can cause water retention, so if you are swelling, you might want to discontinue use.

Wiz- The bladder is traumatize in natural birth, too. With this last natural baby, I had the same issues as with the two Epi's, so I think it's just a birth thing.

Annon- I think many women have the "double boob drip" thing happen... just the let-down happening...

Like Heather and Annon said: do everything you can to avoid having stitches. A good doctor or midwife can go far towards protecting your perenium. Avoid an episiotomy- many doctors and most midwives don't do them. That's a good thing.

Leslie- I hope this post doesn't scar you for life! You do recover, and we all would do it again for the babies we have. It may sound awful, but it's so worth it!

6/03/2006 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I'm going on 54 years old. My baby is 20. I will never forget Tucks pads and sitz baths in this lifetime.

I might not recognize her much longer, but I'm going to remember what made the episiotomy feel better.

6/05/2006 10:01:00 AM  

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