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What is postpartum?
Postpartum, referring to the period after childbirth, is a time full of physical change and healing. Your body will experience many changes as it recovers from the stress of childbirth. Hormones will readjust, and it is crucial that you take complete rest in the days and weeks immediately after the birth. You can consult your doctor on how best to prepare for this period ahead of time. There are several essential items you should procure ahead of time to manage your postpartum bleeding and other potential symptoms that may arise. Be sure to contact your doctor if you experience excessive pain, a fever, or other complications.
What is postpartum discharge?
During postpartum, you will have a postpartum period, heavy bleeding that is a combination of blood, mucus, and placental tissue. This bloody discharge is called lochia, and can last for up to six weeks after childbirth as your body discards the uterus lining that had developed during your pregnancy. While you should expect bright red, heavy flow right after childbirth, it should get lighter and more pink in color over time. As your flow lightens, you may want to switch from briefs to pads or liners, so it may be good to purchase a variety of products ahead of time. If the dark red color or heavy flow persists for several weeks, or if you see blood clots larger than a quarter, you should consult your doctor. While rare, postpartum hemorrhaging and other medical complications are very serious and require urgent medical attention.
What are postpartum pads?
After childbirth, your body will go through many physical changes postpartum. An essential part of your postpartum care kit, postpartum pads are specifically designed to absorb your postpartum bleeding as well as potential bladder leaks. Since your vagina needs time to heal, you should only use pads, liners, or briefs rather than tampons to absorb your postpartum bleeding. You can use any of these incontinence products as a postpartum pad. Depending on your flow and needed absorbency, you can use pads, liners, or briefs. This product guide can help you identify the right one for you. You can also get a variety of products to prepare for when your flow gets lighter over time. Regardless of which product you choose, be sure to change them frequently to avoid the risk of infection or irritation.
What are the best postpartum pads?
Every person’s body and postpartum experience is different, so you should take care to purchase the postpartum pads that work best for you. You can select a product type (pads, briefs, liners, or some combination) based on your absorbency needs and personal preferences. Regardless of what you choose, stay away from the “toxic twelve” ingredients that are likely to irritate your sensitive skin. Artificial and synthetic fragrances should be avoided in favor of all natural ingredients. You can check to see whether your products are dermatologist-approved. You can also take this quiz in order to identify the proper product for you. No matter what you select, be sure to change your pads, liners, or briefs regularly to stay fresh and avoid infection. For the first few days, you should change them every couple of hours, but may need to do so less frequently as you recover.
What are postpartum pants and postpartum panties?
In general, postpartum clothes are designed for maximum comfort and convenience during your recovery process. Postpartum pajamas often have easy access to breastfeeding. Be sure to buy comfortable maternity bras. Postpartum pants and panties are crucial as you use products like postpartum pads. They are designed to be comfortable, stretchy, and supportive for your stomach. Stick with cotton pants as they are soft and absorbent, and most likely equipped for leakage. Disposable mesh underwear are convenient postpartum panties that you can use with your postpartum pads, specially designed to hold your pads securely rather than fitting closely to your body. Make sure that you are sizing up slightly, so that your panties and pants are comfortable to wear and do not irritate your vulva, which is likely to be extra sensitive at this time.
What other products do I need for my postpartum care?
Aside from pads, liners, briefs, and disposable mesh underwear, you may want to add some other items to your postpartum care kit. A cooling pad can help alleviate uterine cramps, or a hot water bottle depending on your preference. You should also have pain killers on hand, and epsom salts for warm baths (consult your doctor before using these). Aside from this, be sure to stock up on healthy, vitamin-rich foods that you enjoy. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help your body replenish nutrients that it needs, and give you energy as you heal. Consult your doctor as to when it would be suitable to begin a moderate exercise regimen, but be sure not to overexert yourself immediately after childbirth. It is wise to delegate tasks like chores and meal prep to family and friends to minimize exertion.
Should I consult a pelvic floor therapy specialist?
Even if you do not experience particular complications or pain postpartum, it is a good idea to seek out the help of a pelvic floor therapy specialist. You can find a specialist near you at this directory. A professional can guide you on the proper technique for kegel exercises and other pelvic floor therapy exercises which are essential in helping your pelvic floor muscles recover. They can also direct you to products that can help in your recovery or exercise routine. If you experience urinary incontinence, a relatively common experience postpartum, you should definitely seek out pelvic floor therapy. Bladder leaks occur because of the weakened pelvic floor that allows urine to slip out. A specialist can work with you and suggest behavioral adjustments that can help you manage your bladder leaks in addition to your postpartum period. Postpartum pads, liners, or briefs in the product guide above can be used to absorb urine as well.
Want More on Postpartum Health?
Learn More About Urinary Incontinence:
Take the Quiz: Finding the Right Product for you.
Normalize This: Urinary Incontinence
Urinary Incontienence Treatments