A newborn baby is a blessing for any mother to be.
However, there’s no denying that giving birth is a tough job!
Women prepare mentally and financially for the birth and future of their children throughout pregnancy. They, on the other hand, generally put themselves and their bodies last.
Knowing how to take care of your vagina after giving birth, for example, is something that every expecting woman should be aware of, and it should be a top priority to ensure a complete postpartum recovery.
Today, I’ll answer a few questions about vaginal delivery and how to care for your genital area postpartum.
What Happens to Your Vagina After Giving Birth
After having a baby, your body naturally changes. This includes vaginal changes, such as feeling dry or sore.
Here is what you can expect:
After giving birth, a vaginal tear or an incision may cause some discomfort for a few weeks. Larger tears may take longer to heal than smaller wounds. To alleviate pain as you recover:
- Relax on a pillow or cushioned band
- Use an ice pack to cool the area, or insert a cold witch hazel pad between a sanitary napkin and your perineum
- Pour warm water between your anus and vaginal opening while peeing
- Spend five minutes soaking in a warm bath that’s just deep enough to immerse your glutes and hips
- You might use a non-prescription painkiller to ease the discomfort
Speak with your doctor if you’re having significant discomfort that isn’t going away or becoming worse, as these could all be symptoms of an infection.
While pregnant, your uterus was covered with a thin layer of mucous membrane.
This will start to go away after giving birth through a thick, bloody vaginal discharge that will last for weeks.
First, expect a blood-red, mucus-heavy discharge. Afterwards, the colour will go from pinkish brown to yellowish-white.
In the event of severe vaginal bleeding, particularly if it’s accompanied by pelvic pain, fever, or tenderness, call your doctor immediately.
During the first few days following birth, you may experience contractions on and off, which are sometimes referred to as “afterpains”.
Preventing heavy bleeding by compressing the uterine blood vessels is the primary goal of these contractions.
Due to the production of the oxytocin hormone, afterpains are prevalent during breastfeeding.
An over-the-counter painkiller may be recommended by your doctor.
The pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, and rectum, can be stretched or injured during pregnancy, labour, and delivery via natural birth.
When you sneeze, cough or laugh you may accidentally leak a few urine drops as a result of this.
These issues typically go away after a few weeks, but they can last for quite some time.
Do pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) while wearing sanitary pads to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Watch the video below to learn how to do pelvic floor exercises:
How To Take Care Of Your Vagina After Giving Birth
Here are a few tips on how to take care of your vagina after giving birth:
1. Avoid Tampons
Lochia is a type of vaginal bleeding that occurs after delivery. This is comparable to a menstrual cycle, except it happens when the uterus releases the cells and tissues left behind after childbirth.
The National Health Service in the United Kingdom advises women who have just given birth to wait before using tampons until their doctor has given them the all-clear during the 6-week postnatal check.
As long as there is still a wound where the placenta attached to your vaginal wall, the infection risk from using tampons is high.
To allow your body to recover, use sanitary pads instead.
2. Use An Ice Pack
Swelling and soreness around the opening of your vagina can be relieved by placing an ice pack on it for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.
Make sure to cover your skin with a thin layer of fabric when using ice.
3. Cleanse With Water
Rather than cleaning your vaginal area using toilet paper, utilise a perineal irrigation bottle to wash your vagina with warm water.
Postpartum vaginal washing can be made easier with the use of peri bottles that have curved spouts, usually provided by your hospital.
As soon as you’ve finished washing, use gauze pads to pat yourself dry.
4. Take A Sitz Bath
The University of Michigan recommends taking sitz baths for various reasons, including if you have experienced a tear or an episiotomy during labour.
Sitz baths effectively clean the area between the anus and the vagina.
A sitz bath can be purchased online, but your hospital may provide you with one to take home with you.
Watch this video to learn how to prepare a sitz bath to take care of your vagina after birth:
5. Use Witch Hazel Pads
Make your own, or buy readymade witch hazel pads if that’s more convenient.
Witch hazel pads can help ease the pain of a sensitive vaginal area, as well as relieve haemorrhoids.
Using witch hazel pads to line your maxi pad is a great way to get the relief you need.
6. Wait To Flush
Wait until you’ve pulled up your pants before flushing the toilet.
This will aid in avoiding infections, which is especially important when using public facilities.
7. Speak to Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if you experience pain that persists for more than a few weeks following labour.
It’s also important to get medical attention if your vagina emits a foul smell, you have a fever, or you have difficulties urinating.
Signs of Vaginal Infection After Birth
The most common signs of vaginal infections after birth are:
- Excessive bleeding
- Vaginal haemorrhage discharge
- Really bad smell
- High fever
- Issues urinating
- Very dark urine
Your vagina is a miraculous organ and can perform many important functions. But after giving birth, it can feel a little different.
Knowing how to take care of your vagina after giving birth will help prevent problems down the line, and make your postpartum recovery much smoother.
If you have any questions or concerns about your vagina after giving birth, please contact your doctor or a qualified medical professional.