If you’re the kind of preparatory mom I am, you had your bags packed weeks before your delivery, the baby’s room was laid out perfectly, and you’ve already got your breast pump and other supplies set exactly as you’ll need them.
But what have you done to get ready for your vaginal delivery recovery? This was a mistake I made first time around, not thinking about my own crotch and the trauma it would undergo. Like me, you may be more focused on getting through the labor and delivery, then the next step being how to care for the little one at home.
Well, if your own person isn’t be properly cared for, it will become far more difficult to take care of your little one because of the pain and discomfort you’re going to experience. Now, awareness is the first step instead of ignorance. But just thinking you’ll pop a ton of ibuprofen to solve the problem won’t work. It’s a bit more than that. (See other expectations you may have that aren’t quite realistic, here.)
Vaginal Delivery Recovery Expectations
Your lower self will be quite marred after your baby arrives. It takes a terrible blow that you won’t feel until a few hours later when your endorphins wear off. I love this relatable quote:
Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.
― Betty White
And Betty’s absolutely right. Our vaginas and all the surrounding tissue DO take a pounding. Here’s a list of what you will most likely will get to deal with. Not every mother experiences everything here, but it’s always more than just a few.
- ultimate soreness
- pain using the bathroom
- abdominal stiffness
- muscles feel like jello
- diastasis recti (a long term problem to deal with here)
And I don’t care of your doctor says you’ll be back together in about six weeks–it’s NOT true. Sure your endless period of bleeding will have quit after a month or so, and your uterine cramping only lasts a few days. But if you tore, your scar tissue needs excessive rehab for resuming your sex life. Depending on the type of hemorrhoids you have and how you treat them, they can stick around forever if you’re not careful.
Okay, now that I’ve freaked you out, let’s just focus on what you’re going to do about it from a prevention perspective and then a retroactive point of view for each symptom.
When you were exercising beforehand and treating your body nicely, especially doing your kegels, that made a significant difference for you, even though there’s likely nothing for you compare to if this was your first delivery.
Also, know that when I use the word Prevention, I don’t mean COMPLETE prevention. None of these results can be entirely prevented with a guarantee by doing something beforehand. There are only things that can be done to minimize the painful results. But it’s worth the time invested.
|Symptom||Help It Beforehand|
|soreness, stiffness, aching||
avoid tearing or an episiotomy by doing:
|pain using the bathroom||same items listed above in ‘itching’ and ‘hemorrhoids’ **also use a potty stool like this one HERE|
|muscles feeling like jello||
Before changing any diet dramatically or adding natural supplements to your intake, always consult with your doctor or practitioner.
When you’re in the moment of pushing out that baby, your endorphin levels are so high that you truly will not feel all of the associated pain of the stretching and pressure that takes place down there. One of God’s tender mercies to us. But afterward when things have worn off, that pain becomes quite vivid, EVEN when you’ve taken some prescription Ibuprofen or another pain killer that your doctor will give you.
When I had my second boy, our pediatrician came in to do her initial exam with him, standard the day of his birth. She introduced herself to me as if we’d never met before and I was a little confused.
But then she laughed and said that most of the mothers she works with aren’t very lucid or are so out of it after the delivery because of the really strong pain medications they were on.
I was the first one she’d encountered that was able to think clearly and remember who she was because I wasn’t on anything stronger than Ibuprofen. She commended me.
All of these symptoms have different lengths of time in how long they will affect you. But adding factors to help healing will reduce your type healing and greatly influence how you feel.
|Symptom||Help It Heal|
|soreness, stiffness, aching||
|pain using the bathroom||everything listed above for ‘burning’, ‘itching’ and ‘hemorrhoids’ **also use a potty stool like this one HERE|
|muscles feel like jello||
It’s a long road stretched out in front of you before you will start to feel like yourself again. But you can use this time to take as much time for yourself and your baby as you need. You can let all the other things go so that you can devote all your attention to establishing your new identity with a stronger body and a stronger family relationship with your baby and husband.
Remember that eating healthy and mild exercise are your best bet to get back on your feet towards your new normal.
I also know of many natural products that are excellent at relieving many of your discomforts that you will STILL feel with a prescription pain reliever. I wish I’d had them with my first baby! Don’t miss out on these:
Each time giving birth, I didn’t feel quite normal until after a month had gone by. I was itching to get out and exercise more routinely and so I took it upon myself to do so, and it helped me feel ten times better. Yes, my bleeding increased a little because it hadn’t fully stopped yet. But quickly went away afterward.
I found this quick, cute video of one mommy’s suggestions that you’ll like, after reading through all the awful things you get to look forward to.
What are some things you have found help your recovery, mommies? Plenty of comfort food that’s not terribly unhealthy certainly helps too. 🙂