We often hear about how hard recovery from childbirth can be. It can be a shock to realise how much your life has changed once you bring your baby home and when you have a baby to care for too you might feel as though your needs are not as important. However, it is essential that you allocate some time each day for yourself.
You will certainly benefit from this as self-care will have positive effects for both your body and mind as you recover from pregnancy and the birth.
Spending time caring for your body, whether you have had a vaginal birth or a caesarean section (c-section) birth, can help you to understand if you are healing well or if you need to seek some support.
Caring for your bits after the birth
- A warm soak in the bath to help a sore, swollen perineum, soothe aching, stretched muscles, or ease a healing c-section wound.
- Using Soak for Bits in your bath can make your postpartum bath an even more relaxing experience (from day one after a vaginal birth and after your dressing has been removed and your wound is healing normally with a c-section). Specially developed for the postpartum it contains Epsom salts to soothe a tired body, arnica and calendula to soothe soreness and bergamot to relax your mind.
- Starting regular pelvic floor exercises, as soon as you feel able to, can improve continence by strengthening your pelvic floor- there are apps available to help with this.
- Taking effective pain relief will keep you comfortable and reduce stress from having pain. It can be in the form of medication or cooling gel pads for the perineum, heat packs or hot water bottles for backache. Using Spritz for Bits can help soothe your perineum or No Harm Nipple Balm can ease sore nipples.
- Making sure you make a space in the day for yourself to do something just for you for at least 30 minutes. This could be a walk to the shops, a lie down to close your eyes and relax or to take a soothing bath to help you unwind.
Caring for your c-section wound after the birth
A c-section is major surgery so it’s important to set aside some time each day to focus on resting and recovering after giving birth.
Your midwife can advise you when your dressing and any non-dissolvable stitches or staples will be removed - different surgeons can use different techniques. Good wound care and hygiene after your dressing is removed will help the healing process.
Here is our guide for caring for your caesarean section wound when you are at home:
- Have a daily bath or shower to gently clean your c-section wound and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Clean your wound area twice daily to prevent bacteria from building up. You can do this by wiping gently with warm water and cotton wool, if you are not taking a bath or shower, and then pat dry.
- It’s a good idea to let the air circulate to the area by gently lifting your tummy for 5-10 minutes twice day.
- You can use Spritz for Bits once your c-section dressing has been removed and normal wound healing is taking place. This will help reduce itchiness and soreness.
- Take regular analgesia such as paracetamol and ibuprofen to help with pain relief and reduce swelling.
- Wear loose, comfortable and soft clothing to help your skin ‘breathe’ such as cotton. This will also reduce any rubbing or discomfort on your wound.
- After your 6-week postnatal check-up you can begin to gently massage the area which will stimulate blood flow, reduce the appearance of scar tissue and assist with healing.
- Talk to your midwife if you have any concerns about your wound, the surrounding area or are feeling unwell.