OK, so we know childbirth hurts. A lot. A large gift from a small box, and all that. But there’s not nearly enough discussion about what happens afterward.
Aside from pain associated with the uterus contracting back to something resembling pre-pregnancy size, there’s the burning and aching caused by the stretching – and sometimes tearing – of the perineum during delivery.
Best-case scenario, this will generally involve some discomfort for three to five weeks after a vaginal birth. In the case of a tear or episiotomy (surgical cutting of the area), pain and sensitivity can persist for six weeks or more.
So how to relieve it?
Most midwives will recommend ice packs for the first day or so. But according to US mum, Elisa Castellanos, there’s another relatively simple, soothing DIY solution.
In a Facebook post that’s been shared over 123,000 times, the nanny and mother of one provides instructions for preparing cooling sanitary pads coated with a solution of Aloe Vera and essential oil.
“To all my pregnant mummy friends… you’ll want to make these before you go into the hospital! ‘Pad-sicles’ – popsicles for down there to help with the recovery,” she wrote.
About to give birth? Monique Bowley and Bec Judd discuss everything you need to prepare. (Post continues below.)
- Witch Hazel
- Aloe Vera Gel (I liked the medicated, pain relieving one because it helped numb everything- super beneficial if you need stitches!)
- Pads (the larger the better! I had some extras that my hospital gave me)
- Lavender essential oil (optional, you can also trade it out for a different oil… I didn’t use any oil)
What to do:
- Open the pad and save the wrapper!
- For each pad you’ll want about 2tbsp of witch hazel, about 1tbsp of the Aloe Vera gel, and a couple of drops of the oil.
- Mix it all onto the pad and then fold in half and wrap it back into the wrapper.
- Store all padsicles in a gallon size Freezer baggie and place them in the freezer!”
Remember, hygiene is crucial, especially if there are stitches involved. So take care when preparing, handling and storing feminine hygiene products.
Mater Mothers’ Hospitals recommends changing regular sanitary pads at least every four to six hours to keep the wound as clean as possible.
For relieving perineal pain, they suggest:
- Apply ice packs intermittently for first 24–48 hours;
- Wash your perineum three to four times a day, and keep it dry;
- Take pain relieving medication, as prescribed;
- Lie down as much as possible, rather than standing or sitting;
- Do gentle pelvic floor “pulses”;
- Move smoothly without straining at all;
- And talk to your midwife/doctor/physiotherapist to see if they have any further suggestions and consider whether you need to be reviewed.