postpartum care after vaginal birth

How to: Postpartum care after a vaginal birth

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You spent 40 ish long weeks trying to keep the fact that your growing baby would eventually be coming out of your vagina off the forefront of your mind.

I mean, you had to acknowledge it and prepare for it because being blindsided by THAT would be unfortunate. It’s in your best interest to become knowledgable on the process of having a vaginal birth. This will ensure that you can be informed and EMPOWERED in your journey and make decisions that are best suited to you.

Now that you’ve had your baby you can’t help but be reminded that your baby did come out of your vagina and you’re looking for some relief.

When it comes to postpartum care of your wonderful vagina after a vaginal birth there are some do’s and don’t’s. Of course, these are suggestions from a person who’s experienced vaginal birth, but I’m not a midwife or doctor. If you have concerns PLEASE go to your healthcare professional.

When it comes to postpartum care of your vagina after a vaginal birth there are some natural ways you can help heal.

Do’s and Don’ts of taking care of your vagina after vaginal birth

Don’t:

Use tampons or a diva cup for around 6 weeks and after the a-ok from your health care provider. Once you’ve got the all clear you may not even have to worry about your period for quite some time like some incredibly fortunate folks with a uterus….but if you’re like some other less fortunate folks (ahem) you’re looking at a super 3 months before you’re right back to your monthly blessing. Anyways, I digress…

-Speaking of putting foreign objects in your vagina, save sex until about the 6-week mark, too. This is again something to talk to your health care provider about but don’t forget you aren’t obligated to put out at the 6-week mark regardless of your doc’s go ahead. Give this a read for more info on having sex after birth.

Use scented products. These can be bothersome to your bits and your body truly doesn’t need any more irritation.

Overexert yourself physically. Your body JUST PUSHED A BABY OUT OF IT. Allow yourself some time to rest. If you don’t you may find that your lochia flow (the discharge experienced after giving birth) may increase, which is your body’s way of asking you to slow down. You may also find that if you don’t have some time to recover you may irritate any stitches you have…it’s just not worth it.

-Use toilet paper. You got yourself a neato Peri-bottle from the hospital or midwife and that baby works like a mini bidet. Even the softest toilet paper can feel like sandpaper on your poor vagina, so some warm water to rinse yourself off after using the toilet will be absolutely heavenly.

Do:

Use organic cotton menstrual pads if possible. I mentioned above about heavily scented products being irritating. Heavily chemical-laden products can have the same effect. Even if you don’t normally use organic products for your menses it’s a good idea to do so immediately after vaginal birth; you’re likely a little lot tender and possibly torn up. It’s worth a bit of a splurge for your bad-ass vagina to have some organic comfort.

-Have sitz baths as often as you can. Pass off that baby to the nearest bystander (or, ya know, the Postpartum Doula that you hired) and get yourself to the bathroom. You can have a sitz bath in your bathtub or with a kit that attaches to the toilet. Either way you do it you’ll likely find some relief from any swelling and discomfort.

There are some folks who add botanicals and such to their sitz bath but make sure to talk to your healthcare professional before doing that. However, if you’re looking for a good brand “Earth Mama Angel” has a great reputation. I’ve used a few of their products and have enjoyed the simplicity of the ingredients.

-Use stool softeners, if necessary. Don’t use them if not necessary, because, why would you? However, if you’re finding it difficult to have those first postpartum poos you may want to consider talking to your healthcare provider about some stool softeners if the classic: loads of water, prunes, fruits and vegetables, a bit of wine, and flax seeds aren’t doing the trick.

Bearing down while you’re trying to poop will just add more pressure to your perineum which will ultimately cause more pain and swelling.

Not good.

Use Witch hazel. Witch hazel saved my perineum. I found that dabbing a bit directly on my perineum or wearing a pad with Witch hazel on it gave me some relief. You can grab standard Witch hazel from your local pharmacy or buy premade pads (along with everything else you’d ever need for relief through the suggested products).

**If you have extra Witch hazel left over you can use it as a toner on your face:)

Use cooling pads or ice packs. Or, if you’re a bit of a baby like me, run a cloth under cold water, ring it out, and apply it to your perineum. I hated using ice and that was a happy compromise between my preferences and what Google was telling me I should be doing.

Wear loose, comfortable undies. I know, I know…you’re saying: “Oh, but I was SO looking forward to wearing my sexiest negligee and thong combo that I just couldn’t fit into until the baby was born”, but trust me on this one.

If you didn’t manage to grab some of those super sexy disposable mesh undies from someone at your birth you can grab them on Amazon. If mesh undies don’t tickle your fancy make sure to wear cotton undies so that your vagina can BREATHE! Once again, the irritation potential is strong after you’ve had a vaginal birth, so doing everything you can to avoid it is vital.

Also, don’t get too attached to your postpartum panty possessions (this post was lacking alliteration) as they’ll likely get quite soiled.

Complain loudly because that provides the most relief possible and because you deserve to do that, dammit!

Okay, so I took that out of the “How to deal with hemmorhoids” post that I wrote, but I feel like the same applies in both situations. Allow yourself to have time to complain to whoever you need to listen (except your Mom-she’ll just tell you that “karma’s a bitch, honey.”), even if it’s just your sweet little baby who has no idea of the trauma she’s just inflicted to your body.

That last one is kinda my favourite and for me the most effective way of feeling better, but truly, using a few of these methods should help alleviate some of your pain.

If you’re finding that the pain is unbearable or isn’t getting better after a few weeks do be sure to check in with your health care professional.

how to prepare your vagina for childbirth

How to prepare your vagina for birth

You’re nearing that time when your baby might possibly be arriving.

Ya, that entire 6-week stretch when you constantly have people saying ignorant comments to your ginormous belly like “Oh, you STILL haven’t had your baby?”. (No judgement from me on how you respond to this one, by the way.)

You’ve done all the things to prepare for the arrival of this tiny human:

-premade meals and stuck them in the freezer

hired your postpartum doula

-washed the baby clothes

got yourself a lovely wrap (this is the one thing I will highly recommend to all new parents, FYI)

-figured out where baby will sleep

-decided if you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding, or bottle feeding and set up accordingly

-made sweet, yet to the point signs for the front door directing people to “Kindly fuck off. I just had a baby and you shouldn’t be just showing up like this.”

-done vagina yoga

Yep. I said “vagina yoga”.

Let’s face it. Your vagina plays a pretty significant role in this whole childbirth thing and you should probably prepare her for what’s about to come (’cause it ain’t nothing like the cum she clearly already knows!!)

Your house may be ready, the clothes may be ready...but is your vagina ready? Here are some tips from a doula and mom of 4 on how to prepare your vagina for childbirth!

How to prepare your vagina for childbirth

Become acquainted with your bod

Your body is capable of some pretty freakin’ incredible things, namely growing and expelling another human from it. Get to know your anatomy so that you are aware of everything that’s going on throughout your pregnancy and during labour. When the midwife tells you that your cervix looks great you’re going to want to know what they’re talking about (also, having a cervix that “looks great” when you’re in labour is a really good thing.)

Having an understanding of what’s going on and when will give you an opportunity to prepare for what the next phase might be in your labour.

Kegels, kegels, kegels

Unfortunately, between your kiddo living in your pelvis for the last 3 million months of pregnancy and the extreme pressure of childbirth your pelvic floor can become damaged.

Often times, when this pelvic floor is damaged the result can be incontinence, which is actually a lot less fun than it sounds.

Talk to your midwife or doctor about how to properly do a kegel. Building these pelvic muscles during pregnancy can prevent you from embarrassing situations such as peeing when you’re laughing, sneezing, running, coughing, walking, sitting, breathing….you get my drift.

(On that last note, if urinary incontinence is becoming an issue and impacting your daily life make sure to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Those peeps know what’s up and can help you immensely.)

Embrace that your vagina will never be the same again

That said, it won’t be all that different. It’s a safe assumption that after a ginormous baby passes through your perfectly sized vagina (yes, I said that to reassure everyone that they have a perfectly sized vagina) that your vagina will resemble a gaping black hole.

Not the case.

Assure your partner(s) that your vagina will go back to normal (or at least pretty darn close to it) and they won’t be throwing a hot dog down a hallway *insert eye roll here*

You will notice a physical difference if you’ve had tearing and/or an episiotomy. The scars will fade considerably, but you may have some tenderness for quite some time. If you’re planning on some sexy time just make sure you’re using lots of lube and going slow (especially in the first while after giving birth.)

**Pro Tip*

Check out your vagina with a mirror. Yep, I’m talking prop up a leg or lay in the bed with a handheld mirror between those divine legs of yours. Check out what you look like before and after (take a photo, if you’re so inclined). Mostly, this is helpful when you’re checking on your stitches so you can make sure that everything is A-ok down there. If it’s not and something is visibly or physically “off”, make sure you get checked out ASAP.

*Yeah, I’m a Pro. I’ve done this 4 times, people. My vagina has tales to tell.

Speak kindly to your vagina

For real. Your vagina is able to do this. Childbirth seems obscene. Like, ‘Are you freakin’ kidding me that’s going to come out of there?’ obscene, but you’re going to be fine.

Our brains listen to the things we tell it. Keep telling your vagina that things will be okay. Visualize your vagina opening up to allow for your baby to come into the world. This is some real hippy-dippy shit, but true story…it’s legit.

Do vagina yoga

Yes. This is the one that everyone’s been waiting for.

Vagina yoga.

Well, vagina yoga isn’t actually a thing-it’s a phrase I made up, but Perineum Massage is most definitely a thing.

Basically, you’re going to be slooooooooooooowly stretching the perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) over time so that the skin is a little more soft and “stretchy”. This can be done on your own or with a partner.

Here’s a little video explaining exactly what you need to do.

How prepared is your vagina for birth?

Do you have to ORGASM to get pregnant?! You may be surprised to learn which wives tales are true and which are less than accurate!

9 Hilarious Old Wives Tales About Pregnancy

Old wives tales are, for the most part, ridiculous. While some may prove to be true, most aren’t. In fact, most are so off the wall that you can’t help but laugh. 

Be warned though, there are some firm believers in old wives tales. You will get your pregnant ass reamed for the silliest things. 

These are the funniest and most off-the-wall old wives tales about pregnancy that are sure to give you a good laugh!


Do you have to ORGASM to get pregnant?! You may be surprised to learn which wives tales are true and which are less than accurate!

You can’t get pregnant while on top. 

If you want to get it on but not get pregnant, all you have to do is climb on top! Sorry gals, that’s just not true. You definitely CAN get pregnant while on top. Go ahead and avoid using this method of birth control. If you are trying to conceive, then go ahead and get on top and go for it!

You will have a girl if you get pregnant while on top.

Ok, wait? I thought you couldn’t get pregnant while on top? But if you do you will be giving birth to a bouncing baby girl? It would seem someone got their wires crossed while making up this ridiculous shit. The position you conceive in will NOT influence whether you are having a boy or girl. Sorry to burst your bubble if you are trying for a little girl. Hey, you can go ahead and try anyway right?

Women have to orgasm to conceive.

Ok, if this were true there would be a lot fewer people in this would. Seriously, who comes up with this? Sperm can do its job without you having a mind-blowing orgasm. Obviously you should want to have an orgasm every single time you have sex. But, don’t stress if you just didn’t get there. You can absolutely still conceive. Also, do not use this method as a form of birth control. 

Taking a bath can drown your fetus.

This one has many different versions. You can’t take a bath because you will drown your unborn child. Or you will taint your amniotic fluid and your baby will come out looking like Frankenstein. Either way, it’s not true. Your baby already has fluid in their lungs. They get oxygen from your placenta. You can safely take a bath while pregnant, as long as your water temperature isn’t too hot! Keep that water temperature under 98 degrees and you are good to go.

You can’t put your hands above your head. 

The tale is that if you put your hands above your head the umbilical cord will wrap around your unborn baby’s neck. That is not true. Not only is it not true, it’s just pure bull shit. Rest assured you can put your hands up or down and your baby will be just fine. 

A pregnant woman must eat whatever she craves. 

I remember while being pregnant with my first baby. I worked with very superstitious women who believed this was true. Normally the tale says if you don’t eat what you crave they baby will be born with a sty in their eye. Or the baby could have a birthmark of the food you craved. 

Their beliefs went beyond that and thought that I would be risking my baby’s life. This is very untrue. The only thing that will happen if you do not eat everything you crave while pregnant, is a bad mood. 

Don’t look at anything ugly.

If you look at ANYTHING ugly while pregnant your baby will be U-G-L-Y. Wait, what? No. Just no. 

Wearing high heels will make your baby cross-eyed.

My best guess is that some pregnant lady was supposed to wear heels to work and didn’t want to. So she came up with this insane story to get out of wearing heels! This is 100% untrue. If you feel the need to use this excuse to wear whatever shoes you want, go ahead. 

Baby girls steal your beauty. 

Feeling extra ugly this pregnancy? That’s because you are having a girl! It is said that a baby girl will straight suck that glow right from your face. You will have dry hair and ugly skin. Your baby girl will come out stunning and radiant leaving you looking like Medusa. Not true. If you are looking like a swamp thing this pregnancy you still could be having a baby boy. 

Which old wives tale is your favorite? Are you a firm believer in any of these?

Written by Sirri McNeil for Modern Day Hippie Mama

garlic vagina for yeast infection

Why doesn’t my mouth taste like vagina?

(Before I begin this story, I am going to add a little disclaimer and let y’all know that I’m not a doctor and the following anecdote should not replace medical advice.)

On the “crunchy” scale I sit comfortably at about a 7.2.

I like organic food, but I also like bright pink cotton candy ice cream. I hang my laundry to dry, but I’ll also drive my kids to the park half a kilometer away.

You get the drift.

When it comes to natural medicine I always try a natural treatment before using conventional medicine, but I’m not opposed to using some good ol’ Tylenol when necessary, or when I’ve had too much wine the night before.

Now, the majority of us lovely ladies have had some experience with a yeast infection. If you haven’t, you’re the luckiest human on the planet and I hate you a little bit.

When I felt some telltale itching one day I decided to pull out the ol’ Book of Natural Medicine. It advised to create a “garlic tampon”.

Well, now that sounded intriguing.

I consulted with Dr. Google and confirmed that this was an appropriate thing to do.

It was on the internet so I knew it must be okay!

I made myself a lovely garlic tampon and carefully inserted it into my unsuspecting vagina. There didn’t seem to be any immediate reaction.

5 minutes later, however, I could TASTE garlic. I consulted Dr. Google once more (and then deleted my search history) and discovered that this was, indeed, a common side effect of having garlic in your vagina.

There are a lot of great natural remedies to try, but this one won't be for you if you don't enjoy sticking food items up your vagina.


This got me thinking: If I could taste the garlic in my vagina…why doesn’t my mouth always tastes like my vagina? Or maybe it does taste like my vagina but I always just thought that’s how my mouth tasted? Does my vagina taste like garlic when I put garlic in my mouth? So many questions…

I pondered this for quite some time. I snapped out of it when my toddler brought me a handful of her own feces.

In the end, the garlicy insert was successful. I believe I just insulted my vagina enough for her to make some changes in her PH, but nonetheless, it worked.

With some individual research and a trip to a non-Google doctor I would recommend any woman that experiences yeast gives this a try. Actually, I would recommend that any woman that doesn’t experience yeast gives this a try, too.

This won’t work for you if you’re uncomfortable with putting food items into your vagina, or you’re having sex with a vampire.

Otherwise, go ahead and try out nature’s yeast cure. Make yourself some organic pasta (go big or go home, friend), and enjoy some subtle hints of garlic without having to add any to the sauce.

This article was originally shared on
https://www.sammichespsychmeds.com/

This is why you should consider a home birth

This is why you should consider a home birth

All views expressed in this post are entirely my own opinions. Any reflection that I make on home birth is based on my own experiences. If you have questions please talk to your doctor or midwife. 

 

My first experience with birth was pretty terrifying. I was 20 years old and completely unknowing of what my body was about to endure. My baby had a congenital heart defect* that required many doctors to be present in the birthing room. I was induced by Pitocin drip because the medical staff wanted my baby born so her heart could be treated. I was basically strapped to the bed due to the monitors I was hooked up to. I was given options for pain relief but didn’t opt for them until it was too late (did you know you can’t get an epidural while you’re pushing??).

My first birth experience as sterile and clinical. I was disconnected but had no idea it could be any other way.

*My daughter was born with Double Outlet Right Ventricle, a ventricular septal defect, and a single coronary artery. She had two surgeries to correct it. You can read her story here!

When I was pregnant with my second daughter I knew I wanted something different. I did some research and planned out my birth. I was still a little shaken up by my oldest daughter and her condition and knew that I wanted this baby to be born in a hospital. My water broke a week after she was due but no labor progressed. Unfortunately, I had to be induced once again. My doctor, whom I adored during my pregnancy was there intermittently throughout the labor.  My nurse felt my birth plan was irrelevant and followed me around asking if I wanted pain medication for almost my entire labor. I ended up locking myself in the bathroom by myself until I was ready to push. My doctor missed the birth because my sweet girl came rather quickly. She was delivered by two nurses.

It wasn’t quite as scary as my first birth experience, but it certainly wasn’t the warm and fuzzy one I was hoping for.

this is why you should have a home birth

My third pregnancy is where things changed. We moved out of the town we were living in, which meant we left my doctor. Having a baby in our new town meant one of three things: 1. Get a new doctor, 2. Go to the maternity group based in the hospital in the next town over, or 3. Get a midwife. I’d had friends who had AMAZING births with their midwife so I thought I would give it a try.

As my pregnancy progressed so did my fear of hospitals. I dealt with significant prenatal anxiety and depression, and a fear of hospitals transpired from that. The idea of having a home birth was now not an option to entertain-it was the ONLY option in my mind.

My prenatal care was exemplary. The group of midwives that I had were the most caring, nurturing, compassionate women I could ask for. I felt at ease. I felt that my views surrounding birth really mattered.

My darling third daughter was two weeks overdue. Now, to the non-pregnant person that doesn’t seem like a lot, but to anyone who’s grown a child inside of their body- two weeks is an eternity! I decided to try out the “labor cocktail” to send a clear message to my little one that she was being evicted!

My midwife was by my side from the moment I said I needed her there. She calmly guided me through the birth in the comfort of my own bed. I had all the luxuries of home…because I was in my home! My birth was calm, gentle, and quick (although not as quick as my next one would be!!). My body responded to the low-stress environment and was able to act accordingly. There were no bright lights, no beeping, people talking in the hallway. I had full control of my surroundings. I got to sleep in my own bed that night and didn’t have to worry about packing all my stuff up the following morning. I ate all my own food and didn’t get any funny looks when I asked for my placenta to be put in the fridge until I was able to take it home with me. 

My fourth home birth was the most intensely wonderfully terrifying experience I could have asked for. Listen to this home birth story here (but don’t hate me too much-short labor wasn’t my fault!!):

The home births that I personally had were the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. It’s truly not an option for everyone, but if you and your caregiver decide that it could be an option for you I would highly recommend trying it out!

Did you have a home birth? Share your story in the comments!

why i don't encourage breastfeeding

Why I no longer encourage breastfeeding

Breast is best.

Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best.Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best.

As new mothers, we are bombarded with the slogan of “breast is best”. It’s a campaign to raise awareness surrounding breastmilk and it’s health benefits for mother and child. Breastmilk, in fact, provides all the nourishment that a child will need for the first six months. It is chock full of nutrients that can reduce sickness in a baby while also preventing various illnesses later in their lives. Breastfeeding can increase a child’s intelligence, as well as provide the mother with health benefits such as assisting her uterus to return to its pre-baby shape and reducing her risk of breast cancer.

little adventures company advertisement

Breastmilk is incredible.

Breastfeeding is incredible.

However, it’s truly not for everyone. Throughout my years as a mom, I’ve encountered many different women. I have friends who have nursed their children for four years, some who have nursed their baby for 6 months, some who tried to nurse and hated it, some who tried to nurse and could not, and some who didn’t want to try breastfeeding at all.

Do you know what all of these women have in common? They’re all caring, compassionate, involved, wonderful mothers whose best interest is always in their child.

There seems to be this certain superiority surrounding breastfeeding. Women get shamed at the playground because they’re feeding their baby a bottle of formula. There is often little thought given to why a mom may be feeding her baby formula. There are a few reasons why she may be doing this:

I no longer encourage breastfeeding

-She doesn’t want to breastfeed

-She can’t breastfeed

-She won’t breastfeed

There are many reasons why a mom chooses not to breastfeed her child ranging from her not wanting to, to her having experienced sexual trauma that prevents her from emotionally being able to, to her body simply not allowing it. Regardless of the reason why she chooses not to breastfeed, it is nobody’s business but her own.

I went through lactation hell each and every time I had a baby. I took expensive supplements, ate all the lactation boosting things, and was a slave to the breast pump. I also gave my babies formula because I wasn’t actually able to produce enough milk to sustain their tiny bodies. The choice to breastfeed isn’t always an easy one, nor is the choice to formula feed.

If my opinion is asked specifically regarding breastfeeding I will always highly encourage breastfeeding based on my own personal experience. I loved it. If my opinion is not asked, however, I will not encourage breastfeeding. I once was a major breastfeeding advocate. Whenever I could I would encourage breastfeeding, even when it was clear that a mom did not want to. In recent years I’ve begun to take a different approach. Now, when a mom expresses to me that she’s tried breastfeeding, doesn’t like it, and needs suggestions on how to dry up her breastmilk I don’t intervene. I simply give her suggestions (Oil of Oregano, sage tea, cabbage leaves in your bra) and words of praise and encouragement for the superb job she’s doing as a mom. She’s made a decision that she feels is best for her and her baby! Who am I to say she’s wrong?

We’re all in this together. This mom thing is hard super, ridiculously, incredibly challenging. Moms have enough to worry about with everything that comes with being a parent; nobody needs the stress of judgment and criticism on top of that! Help make sure that all women feel empowered for the way they’ve chosen to feed their babies!