Planning for the baby is so much fun! Clothes, diapers, nursery items, and whatever else you buy (that you will probably find out you never needed) can take up a lot of time and money. Planning for the birth is also exciting! Birth plans, classes, and packing bags are very important. However, we need to stop and think about ourselves and our bodies after the birth. What will you need to take care of YOU after the birth? If this is your first baby you probably have no idea how you will feel afterwards and what to expect. If this is your second you know what to expect but might not know all that might be available to you!
First of all you need a small box of depends and maternity pads. You’ll also need a major supply of regular pads. Wearing underwear may be uncomfortable around your waist and the depends won’t put any pressure on your belly or uterus. Wear depends like underwear and change out the maternity pads. Try soaking regular pads with water or an herbal solution and freezing them. Lay the frozen pad on top of the maternity pad for backup. It is normal to bleed anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks after the birth and once the bleeding normalizes to a low level you will need a large stock of regular pads.
Potty talk: Get stool softener tablets and maybe tuck’s pads. After the birth your intestines will be moving around and sluggish due to the hormones as extra space. Going to the bathroom can be very painful and the softener will help with that. Even if you don’t have any need to go right away I would take one to two a day just as preparation. Episiotomies and tears make this much more difficult so I would strongly suggest preemptively taking these if this is your case. Flushable toilet wipes that are moistened can also be helpful to minimize pain after using the bathroom.
A peri-bottle may be supplied by your midwife or hospital. You can fill this with water, iodine solution or an herbal solution. Spray it on yourself WHILE you are peeing and after to help decrease the stinging and pain. They cost $1 or less on websites, check out the list below!
An herbal tea is a great tool to put on pads to freeze, add to the peri bottle, and put in a bath. You can get them from many different midwife supply stores online or make some on your own. This I would purchase BEFORE you have the baby and have some on hand! You can take a bath almost immediately as the herbs will help decrease swelling and increase healing time. Add some Epsom salt as well to each bath. Ingredients may include: Sage, Uva Ursi, Yarrow, Plantain, Comfrey Leaf & Root, Witch Hazel, and Sea salt.
Belly band: If you wore a band to hold up your pants while you were pregnant, this is a great place to start. The band will held hold your belly in and give you support. Once the swelling has gone down get a post-partum band that will Velcro tight to your body. This will not only give you abdominal and back support but will also help prevent diastasis (separation of the abdominal muscles) and will also help you get back to a normal shape more quickly. Purchase one of these in a store so you can see what size you will need especially since you can wait 2 weeks until you are able to fit in one as well. Wear one when you exercise, going for a walk, and throughout the day, but never at night!
Sitting down: Get out your boppy! If you have a boppy pillow for nursing, try sitting on it instead. This will help cushion your bottom as you heal and you can use other pillows for support during nursing. Or get an inflatable donut. Save your money on the donut until you know that you will need one and you can send someone out to get it.
Food: Have food on hand! Either pre-make and freeze dinners or buy bagged dinners. And lots of protein bars and replenishing drinks such as protein shakes, electrolyte drinks and water. Consider that you have just endured a marathon, how would you feed your body? Keep it simple and something you can easily reach for!
Here are some links to supply stores. I am not sponsored by any of these companies but by reputation and using their products I am confident in recommending their products.