Tips To Recover Quickly From a Vaginal Delivery
Whether you’re preparing for your first baby, or expecting your third, you’re probably not looking forward to the postpartum recovery. Each of my three babies were vaginal deliveries, but each had a different recovery process. My first was an episiotomy, my second a natural tear and my third no episiotomy or tear. With each one, I quickly learned how to make the recovery process go smoother and faster.
What You Can Do Before Delivery
There are a few ways you can help your recovery process even before you have baby.
While pregnant, it is important to stay active. This doesn’t involve starting up any new, crazy exercise routines, but does involve moving and taking care of your health while pregnant. Most doctors will give you the clear to continue any exercise routines you were doing before getting pregnant. Going for walks and taking prenatal yoga classes are a few good ideas to keep moving. More details on safe excessive while pregnant in this post.
You can start building up your pelvic floor before baby makes his or her debut. Simple kegal exercises will help delivery go smoothly, as well as help prevent urine incontinence after baby.
Take Measures to Prevent Tearing
There are certain things you can do to prevent tearing while you are still pregnant. We’ve written an ENTIRE post on the subject! Read it here.
After Baby Arrives:
Ice Packs for First 24 Hours
Most likely, your hospital nurse will offer an ice pack to wear in with your pads after you deliver. While the thought of something ice-cold sounds like a terrible idea, it actually is one of the bests! The ice will reduce any swelling you may have, as well as provide cooling comfort. Also, padsicles are a GREAT way to get the cooling relief of ice with extra relief from which hazel and aloe vera. Full how-to detail on padsicles here.
Stay on Top of Your Pain
The hospital will offer you prescription pain meds as well as over the counter anti inflammatory medication. When you stay on top of your pain, your body is able to rest and recover. You will also be sent home with meds for a few days to take as needed. Don’t try to be a superhero and fight through the pain. After all, you just had a BABY!
Wear Breathable, Cotton Underwear
The hospital will supply you with mesh underwear directly after delivery. It sounds awful, but it’s actually wonderful. The mesh underwear will hold your post delivery ice pack and pads and is breathable to help discourage any bacteria growth. Once you are home, continue to use breathable, cotton underwear.
Take Stool Softeners
This will be another medication that your hospital staff will offer you. While you may feel like you don’t have to “go”, this med will help make your first bowel movement come with less complications. A stool softener will prevent you from straining at all, which is especially needed after stitches.
Keep the Maternity Clothes Out
You may be anxious to get back into your normal clothes after baby, but don’t be in too big of a hurry to pull them out. When packing your hospital bag, pack loose and comfortable clothing to go home in. I always liked to treat myself to a fresh set of new pajamas or a new pair of comfy sweats.
Use the Peri Bottle
Whoever thought we would get excited over a squirt bottle, but here we are. The peri bottle will be your go-to tool when taking trips to the bathroom for a little while. Use this bottle for as long as you feel sore. This will replace you needing to wipe with toilet paper and will help you recover faster. (Pro tip- use warm water, not freezing cold tap water.) We recommend the Fridababy Fridget.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Your body will need all the hydration. Keeping on top of your water intake will benefit you in your energy, your milk supply and have an easier first bowel movement.
The old saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” seems overly quoted and completely impossible. However, it is so important that you take time to rest. Your body will heal much faster if you are taking care of yourself. Now is the time to take advantage of the help you are being offered. Just say yes!
Take it Slow
In the first few weeks, the more your body is moving around, the more your postpartum bleeding will increase. It is important to listen to your body. You will not have your first postpartum appointment until 6 weeks after delivery, so it is important to wait for the all clear from your doctor until then before starting any exercise routine.
Use a Belly Wrap
Belly bands may seem like a gimmick to get your pre-baby body back, but they actually have some health benefits. Belly bands can help shrink the uterus faster. They give a supportive feeling now that your abdominal muscles are still regaining their strength, while providing back support. We recommend the Belly Bandit as a great choice for a postpartum band.
All in all, the biggest tip for recovering quickly after a vaginal delivery is to let your body heal and follow your doctor’s orders. You’ll be back to yourself in no time!
Hello, I’m Erika! I live in Omaha with my husband and our 3 kiddos, 2 dogs and 1 cat. I have a background in early childhood education, but currently staying at home with my littles. I am a yogi-wanna be, cookie connoisseur and snuggle-aholic. You can find my other blog posts featured on Omaha Moms Blog.