Birth on TV and in movies tends to be overly dramatic, not-too-accurate scenes of women screaming and swearing while in labor. OK, we got the message. Having a baby isn’t a cakewalk. But the media skips over the healing process that occurs over the days or weeks after giving birth, and how your bottom can be affected.
Don’t let this scare you! Instead, plan ahead for a number of possible discomforts.
Ice, Ice Baby(maker)
There’s no shortage of life hacks to make icing your vaginal area easy. A few include perineal cold packs, which some hospitals give to patients. They can likely be found at your local drugstore, and they’re the right size and shape for the job. Another idea is filling up a condom with water, tying off the end and freezing it so it’s a tube of ice that fits the area well, from front to back. The video below shows how to make an ice pack using just ice and a disposable diaper — so quick and easy!
Steep a bag of black tea in boiling water until the water is cool. Wring it out and let its anti-inflammatory properties soothe hemorrhoids and lacerations. You can lay it on top of a maxi pad to hold it in place against your body, which also keeps the tea from staining your clothing or bedding. A tiny tea compress can also be used on nipples that are sore from breastfeeding — put them between your nipple and a bra pad, but make sure to rinse off the area before baby latches.
There’s nothing spooky about Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel pads are small and round and look like makeup remover pads, not like maxi pads. Gently wiping your sore, tender areas can reduce swelling and fight bacteria thanks to chemicals in Witch Hazel called tannins. Some women lay a few pads between their skin and an ice pack for double-duty relief.
Hands-free pee pee
That first visit to the restroom can be anxiety-inducing. You’ll almost definitely be swollen, and you may have stitches. But fear not, this can be an almost hands-free experience thanks to the use of a peri bottle. It’s a plastic squirt bottle that you can use to spray water on your labia while you pee to dilute any sort of stinging from the urine’s acidity. Then, wiping is as simple as gently dabbing with toilet paper, using a hair dryer, or drip-drying. Some women add a few drops of tea tree oil to the peri bottle to speed the healing process, as it’s and anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Check with your healthcare provider before using tea tree oil.
Warm water increases blood flow, helping heal and repair tissues faster. Mixed with herbs, a nice soak in a tub or shallow over-the-toilet basin can provide comforting relief. Simply put a sitz bath mixture in a clean bathtub with enough water to cover your hips and butt, or put the basin over your toilet seat to submerge your vulva and perineum. A 20-minute soak daily can improve your aches and pains.
Use this common burn spray
Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray is marketed for burns, but is a completely acceptable medicine to use on your bottom. It cools and numbs the area — give yourself a quick spray after using the toilet or changing your pad. Some hospitals send you home with a can of this magical spray, but it’s available at any drugstore.
Ibuprofen helps with perineal pain, as well as the dreaded cramps that often come with the early days of breastfeeding. It’s considered safe to take while nursing, but it can’t hurt to check with your doctor or midwife before taking some.