Saturday, June 2, 2012

Making Post-Partum Recovery Bearable

Just before having my first child, I stumbled across an interesting blog post about "your post partum life." Until reading this, I never really thought much about what was going to happen to my body AFTER I had the baby.  In all honesty, I'm glad I read this post.  I recently found the link to the post and decided to re-read it after having my first baby but before having my second.  I still found the information to be helpful and a good "reminder" of what I need to do this time around.

The big take home message for me from this post was the peri bottle.  I had not even heard of this before reading about it.  What is a peri bottle?  "Peri" is the shortened name for "perineal" or "perineum."  The "perineum" is generally considered to be the area of the body which includes the genitals and anus.  It is a bottle with tiny holes on the top.  You can fill it with warm tap water and it can then be "sprayed" out of the bottle.  It is designed to help "irrigate" the areas that just went through the traumatic birthing experience.  It's a great way to cleanse yourself after going to the bathroom without having to use any toilet paper.  I would have never thought that good old toilet paper would be such a painful thing to use.  I used bidets in Japan and this reminded me of a "manual" bidet.  I was so happy to use this, I made sure to stockpile two bottles from the hospital before being discharged.

Another bit of advice I found helpful was using pads soaked with Witch Hazel (a.k.a. Tucks Pads).  Witch Hazel is an astringent which helps with irritation and burning in the anorectal area.  Dabbing the cooling pads on the sensitive areas of my bottom was such a nice feeling.  I also made sure to stock up on this before leaving the hospital.

Benzocaine spray (a.k.a. Dermoplast Spray) is another nice thing to have on hand.  Benzocaine is an anesthetic.  It basically acts like a topical anesthetic (pain reliever).  It can be sprayed onto the "sensitive" areas.  This was another thing that I made sure to get a lot of before being discharge.

Perineal cold pads were an absolute wonderful thing to have immediately after delivery.  They are absorbent and provide a nice cooling feeling.  I just wore this with a chux pad and those lovely hospital mesh panties (upon the suggestion of my nurse) and I was set.  Things as you can imagine get a little "messy" post-partum so not having to worry about ruining my own underwear was a good thing.

Since I am going to have baby #2 in a few weeks, I started searching online for any other tips to make things more comfortable.  I found this post with a few more interesting bits of information.  This post, from the Mayo Clinic, recommends chilling the Witch Hazel pads which I think is a brilliant idea.  They also mention sitting on a pillow or padded ring.  I had forgotten how tender my bottom was.  We have wooden chairs at home and I could not sit on them for a few weeks.

Am I missing anything else?  I'm open to any suggestions to make the post-partum recovery easier.

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