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Things you need to know about your postpartum body

It’s possible that your idea of what a postpartum body should look like has been somewhat skewed by media and societal standards of where your physical appearance should be after you’ve had a baby.

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    Remember that Barbie that had a pregnant belly you could attach and then take it off after she had the baby and that was that? That’s not what having a postpartum body is like AT ALL.

    We’re here to talk about the nitty-gritty of what having a baby is like, and here’s what a postpartum body really might experience (take note, Matel)!

    Things you need to know about your postpartum body

    Your breasts might be HUGE

    If you thought your breasts grew while you were pregnant just wait until those things are filled with milk!

    It can get uncomfortable, especially in the first few days, so avoid wearing a bra while your milk is coming in (a form-fitting tank top is ideal so you can still put breast pads in if necessary). Use cool compresses to alleviate any pain, and keep feeding that baby to:

    a) release pressure in your breasts

    b) get that milk flow going

    Find out more tips and tricks on breastfeeding here!

    It will take a while for your belly to flatten out

    During pregnancy, your uterus has grown around 500 times its original size!! Go ahead and read that sentence again…your uterus has grown around 500 times its original size. While a good ol’ fundal massage will help it contract so it can start to return to its dainty little stature it will still take some time for that to happen.

    You may look like you’re still in the last trimester of your pregnancy for a few weeks after you have your baby*. Be patient; this will go down. It’s all part of the joy of the postpartum body!

    *Just a note here: it may look like you’re in the first trimester of your pregnancy for a few years/forever after you have your baby. The skin around your belly has stretched and it can be extremely difficult to become taut again. A lot of folks experience this, so you are 100% not alone on this.

    Do you know everything you need to know about your postpartum body? You'll get all the information you need here.

    You’re going to have some pain

    So, there’s the obvious pain of “my vagina or lower abdomen has been opened and now must heal”, the lesser-known after-birth cramping (which gets worse with each baby and you should honestly have some midwife/doc approved pain relief handy for those babies), and also the general aches and pains from your body’s latest endeavor of getting a baby out of it.

    Your abdominal muscles have gotten stretched which will affect your back. That, combined with the extra weight you’ve had on your front, can cause back pain. Be mindful of how you’re sitting when you’re feeding your baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Proper posture can help alleviate some muscle pain. If it doesn’t and you’re still suffering it may be wise to see a chiropractor or massage therapist.

    There’s also new pain of holding your baby. Bicep curls done in pregnancy would come in hand here. Didn’t do any of those? No worries; you’ll be lugging around a tiny, adorable weight for the next 3 years so those muscles will definitely come!

    You may experience skin changes

    You may have noticed some stretch marks on your breasts, belly, and/or thighs as you went through your pregnancy. While those will never fully go away they will fade in time. Immediately after having your baby they may seem quite dark but as they fade they’ll turn a silvery colour.

    If you had a linea nigra line that will entirely fade in time, although it may take a number of weeks.

    You may also find that you’re getting some acne! Hormones combined with absolute exhaustion (trust me, washing your face might be the last thing you even think about at night) are a perfect storm for a pimple or two.

    **You’re going to need some pretty heavy-duty under-eye concealer now that you’re a parent. You can use some of that on your blemish if you so desire!

    Hair loss?!

    Your postpartum body experience wouldn’t be complete without some lovely postpartum hormones to inject a little bit of panic in your life, would it?

    While it’s not super common (around 10% of folks who have just given birth) hair loss is a thing in the postpartum period. Fortunately, most of this hair is excess hair that you would have had from hormones in your pregnancy but it’s still unnerving nonetheless.

    Your hair loss should only last for about 3 months, but if it continues in full force beyond that it’s worthwhile checking in with the doc.

    You may be constipated

    You spent hours trying to push a baby out and now you get to relive (almost) the same thing!

    The first postpartum poo is a bit of a doozy, and the few afterward can be pretty uncomfortable. The best advice: give your baby to someone else while you undertake this task (and no, this does not count as “alone time”). Eat plenty of fibrous foods and drink LOADS of water. This will help things go a little more smoothly.

    Speaking of constipation…hemorrhoids may be an issue

    There are a few things that we forget talk about in pregnancy and hemorrhoids are one of them. They’re nasty, in all senses of the word.

    You can prevent them/minimize them by doing things that you do to prevent constipation but sometimes they get out of hand and you’ll need to talk to your healthcare provider about it about some potential medications to help you relieve your discomfort.

    You might pee your pants (more than usual)

    Your pelvic floor muscles and bladder have been absolutely thrashed during your pregnancy. You may find that things are a little looser than normal down there. Coughing, sneezing, laughing…they all may cause a little dribble which can be more than a pain in the butt (even more so than the hemorrhoids you’re also dealing with).

    Keep on top of your kegels. Ask your healthcare provider if you’re doing them properly-because there IS a correct way to do them. If you haven’t noticed an improvement by around a month maybe give pelvic floor physiotherapy a try. They can give you all the strategies you need to be able to build those muscles back up and save many a change of pants.

    You need to watch for a few things:

    You’re busy taking care of your beautiful new baby, but don’t forget about yourself, too.

    If you notice any of these symptoms that indicates call your healthcare provider as soon as possible:

    • Chills or fever of 100.5 degrees or higher
    • Sudden heavy bleeding (soaking more than one pad an hour) or lots of large clots
    • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
    • Severe pain or redness surrounding, or discharge from, a C-section incision or an episiotomy
    • Fainting, nausea, or vomiting
    • Frequent urination or burning with urination
    • Constipation that lasts three days or more
    • Swelling, redness (or red streaks), and pain in your breasts, accompanied by fever
    • A tender, swollen, or red area anywhere in your leg or calf
    • Persistent headaches or vision changes
    • Excessive swelling of the face, fingers, or feet
    • Intense sadness or feeling that you can’t care for yourself or your baby

    The most important thing you need to know about your postpartum body…

    You may not love it. We’re pretty inundated with “love your postpartum body”, “beautiful postpartum body”, “look what your postpartum body does”, etc. Yes, there is obviously validity to this. Your body housed and nourished a child, brought that child into the world, possibly continues to nourish that child, holds that child, and cares for that child. Yes, it’s incredible.

    However, there’s often a dismissal of the fact that your body has likely experienced some significant physical changes which may be difficult for you to become used to, difficult for you to love.

    This is okay.

    You can love what your postpartum body has done, but not love your postpartum body. Make sure you take care of it all the same, but if you’re not fully comfortable with the extra weight on your tummy or the stretch marks on your breasts that’s okay.

    And, you’re not alone.

    fundal massage

    What to expect: Fundal Massage

    Midwife: “Okay, I’m going to give you a fundal massage now.”

    Oooh a massage right after delivering your baby? Sounds absolutely divine, right?!

    It’s not.

    The word “massage” being paired with the word “fundal” is about as misleading as “FREE!!! (with $6000 purchase).

    Are you scared to give birth?

    Turn your fear into confidence with these 10 tips from a Mama who’s done it 4 times.

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      (Hey, before you read on please remember that I am not a medical healthcare professional. I obtain this knowledge from my personal experiences and research that I do. If you have questions or concerns please refer to your healthcare provider. This is meant to be as an awareness and starting point of education.)

      What is a fundal massage?

      Other than a super uncomfortable assault on your poor tummy immediately after birthing your placenta, a fundal massage is a firm pressing and “massaging” of your fundus (the top of your uterus) to get rid of blood, clots, and everything else that needs to not be in your body after birth. If this is not done your chance of postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding after birth) is increased.

      Your midwife or doctor will warn you that they’re going to give you a fundal massage. They’ll basically knead your belly right above the pubic bone while having fingers in your vagina to compress the uterine arteries. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily a gentle process. In order to make sure that all the excess bits and bobs are expelled from your body your healthcare professional will need to use a bit of force.

      While postpartum hemorrhaging is not very common the preventative measure that is fundal massage helps to reduce the risk of it happening. Basically, if your uterus doesn’t contract on its own you may end up hemorrhaging, especially if you’ve delivered a large baby, had multiple babies, had an infection, had a history of hemorrhaging, amongst other variables. The fundal massage technique is used to simulate the contracting uterus to help your body.

      It’s not pleasant, but it is important.

      What do you do during a fundal massage?

      Getting a fundal massage doesn’t really require much of you. You’ll likely be able to hold your baby but you may find it more comfortable to pass baby to someone else so you can put your mind in a happy place. You’ll not only be feeling the pressure of the fundal massage on your body, but you’ll also be feeling the gushing from your vagina.

      Don’t worry about that last part. I promise you that your midwife or doctor has made the necessary arrangements with pads and clean up items so that your bed won’t be saturated. In fact, when all is said and done there won’t be any evidence that it even happened.

      Fundal massage sounds lovely, but it's not as glamarous as you think. This is what you need to know about this necessary discomfort!

      Do I have to have a fundal massage?

      Postpartum hemorrhage is when a person loses 500ml to 1 liter of blood in the first 24 hours after birth. That’s a lot of blood. In fact, that’s a life-threatening amount of blood to lose. That level of blood loss can cause a dramatic drop in your heart rate leading to shock and potentially death.

      1-5% of people who give birth will experience a postpartum hemorrhage. It usually happens shortly after delivery but it can happen up to two weeks postpartum.

      Some common symptoms of postpartum hemorrhaging are:

      -Uncontrolled bleeding

      -Decreased blood pressure

      -Increased heart rate

      However, some of the other symptoms of postpartum hemorrhage can resemble other health concerns. If something doesn’t feel right make sure to make an appointment with your healthcare professional immediately or seek immediate medical assistance. Tune into your body. You’re going to be experiencing a lot of new and different sensations, especially if this is your first birth, but listen to your body and be in tune when something doesn’t feel right. Always err on the side of caution if you are concerned-you’re taking care of yourself and most healthcare professionals are happy to investigate further into your concerns.

      None of the above sounds terribly appealing, does it? Fundal massage is the first defense towards having to deal with this both immediately after birth or in the near future. This is not something you want to have to deal with once you’ve brought baby home.

      While it may not be the most glamorous massage you’ve ever gotten it’s nothing in comparison to what you just experienced while delivering your baby. Besides, you’ll be able to use your fundal massage as leverage for quite some time when you explain to your partner that you need a real, pleasant massage to negate the trauma that you endured and to make sure that your perception of what a “massage” is isn’t forever skewed!

      newborn baby gift ideas

      The best newborn baby gifts

      It can be easy to get super carried away when you’re shopping for baby gifts, especially for a newborn.

      Everything you pick up is really cute and tiny enough that you feel like a giant holding it which I’m positive releases some level of oxytocin that only adds to the enjoyment of shopping for baby gifts.

      The thing is, as sweet and cuddly as newborn babies are they are 100% clueless to the fact that you’ve gotten them a gift. Depending on what milestone they’re at they may be able to see the gift clearly or perhaps even be able to grasp it and shove it in their mouth for a brief moment, but realistically they won’t be able to enjoy the baby gift you got them until they’re a little bit older.

      This is a list of newborn baby gifts that has been compiled based on what can be given to them when they’re small but will be cherished as they grow.

      Newborn gifts to be cherished forever

       Hey! There are affiliate links in this post. That means that if you make a purchase I may receive a commission at no cost to you. 

      treasure box for a newborn gift

      Keepsake Box

      This customized box can safely hold special treasures forever. A child is likely to receive some special gifts and having one place to put them all is ideal to help preserve them!
      Photo credit: Primitiveweddings

      gifts for newborn message necklace

      Message in a necklace

      How sweet is it to have a message for baby in a necklace that Mom can wear while feeding, dressing, bathing, and holding baby? Then, the necklace that's filled with a beautiful message AND beautiful memories can be given to baby when they're a little bit grown up.
      Photo credit: LunaElm

      Dish set

      Think of all the food you could put on here that baby will end up throwing at you!
      (I'm kidding...sort of.)
      Having a personalized dish set is something that will grow with your child for years and is a great keepsake for them to pull out when they have children of their own.
      Photo credit:RobinBadgerPottery

      milestone blanket for newborn baby gift

      Milestone blanket

      This multi-purpose blanket provides a double keepsake: it allows for photo opportunities to track baby's growth and also provides warmth and comfort for years to come!
      Photo credit: blueelephantprints

      Custom Star Map

      What did the night sky look like during baby's birth? It's hard to say because everyone was just a bit distracted...but these guys can tell you!
      This star map shows the exact location of the stars and constellations the night baby was born. Add a quote, name, and birth date and it's a perfect forever keepsake.
      Photo credit: TheStarsAboveCo

      Sleeper Memory Bear

      Baby's clothes bring back a lot of memories. They're so tiny and sweet, and there's always a favourite that the parents had baby in a lot. Instead of throwing it in a box when baby (very quickly) grows out of it why not have it turned into something that baby can cherish for years to come? A best friend can be made and kept forever:)
      Photo credit: 4MonstersMerchandise

      Baby Book

      Who doesn't love reading about themselves as a baby? This sweet baby book is filled with prompts for information about baby that they will look back on with joy.
      Photo credit: RainbowsLollipopsArt

      Piggy Bank

      As baby grows they'll inevitably be given some money (or find money and try and eat it). Give them a place to put their funds and watch their savings grow as they do!
      Photo credit: imdecorngifts

      These are just a few newborn baby gift ideas. All of these beautifully handcrafted items will be keepsakes for years and years and can eventually passed down to the next generation. 

      If you’re looking for some other newborn baby gift ideas you can also:

      -make a donation to a charity in the baby’s name

      -contribute to baby’s RRSP

      -offer a gift certificate for lessons/classes (i.e. Parent and baby swim class)

      -get MomDad, and/or older siblings a gift! They kinda did a lot to contribute to baby being here…they deserve some love, too!

      postpartum doula featured image

      What is a postpartum doula?

      You’ve probably heard of a birth doula, but have you heard of a postpartum doula?

      A postpartum doula, as I like to put it, is a magical unicorn. I mean, we come and help out with baby, take care of Mom, and make sure that all is well at your home. It is pretty magical (and the whole unicorn thing just kinda sounds good alongside it).

      Why have one?

      Basically, a postpartum doula is there to “mother the mother”. The postpartum period is a really, really, REALLY hard one-you’re navigating hormones while learning how to take care of your baby while dealing with the physical aftermath of birth.

      This is not something that any person should have to deal with alone. Ever. Even when there is a partner(s) available to help out they’re often dealing with the same “newness” themselves and are also depleted and overwhelmed. Having a postpartum doula come in can alleviate the pressure for both/all parents and allow them to get some rest.

      Your postpartum doula will be able to refer you to community programs and provide you with resources. They are also keenly aware of what the symptoms of Postpartum Depression and/or Anxiety look like in parents and can offer assistance in finding professional help if need be.

      What will they do?

      Every family has their own unique list of needs. What might work for one family might not work for another. This is a conversation that your postpartum doula and your family need to have to ensure that you’re getting the most of having your postpartum doula there.

      Some of the tasks that your postpartum doula might do are:

      -newborn care support (diapering, burping, bathing, etc.)

      -breastfeeding support

      -assist with household organization for ease of transition into life with a newborn

      -light housekeeping

      -emotional support and mental health check-ins for parents

      -help with older siblings transitioning to having a baby sibling

      -care for baby while parent(s) nap, involve themselves in self care, or step out of the home

      -provide resources for local community services

      -meal prep, planning, and/or grocery shopping

      -light pet care

      Who needs a postpartum doula?

      Do you need a postpartum doula for when your baby arrives? Find out exactly what a postpartum doula does and if you need one!


      It doesn’t matter if this is your first baby or 14th baby (actually, a postpartum doula is highly recommended in both of these situations)! Vaginal birth or cesarean birth. Parents with twins. Parents who have adopted.

      Everyone who has a newborn can benefit immensely from having a postpartum doula come to their home.

      Folks who are lacking familial or partner support, are trying to maintain a business during their postpartum period, have had traumatic births or experiences, are having breastfeeding struggles, or are at high risk for Postpartum mood disorders can potentially benefit most from having postpartum doula services.

      What education is required?

      In order to be considered a Postpartum doula, you have to take a course through an accredited Doula agency. For example, I took my course through DONA as theirs were the values that I most related with and felt most comfortable advocating.

      Within this course a postpartum doula will learn about:

      Breastfeeding-how to help a new parent establish a breastfeeding relationship with their child, the physiological responses that occur in the body while a milk supply is being established, breastfeeding positions, the hormones that contribute to various aspects of breastfeeding, potential challenges that can arise with breastfeeding and how to problem solve to create a positive and effective breastfeeding relationship between parent and child.

      Birth- what is entailed in each form of birth and how to best help in the recovery of the birthing person, what is normal healing, what is abnormal, and when to suggest seeing a doctor. (**Postpartum doulas DO NOT administer any medical tasks nor do they offer medical advice or make diagnoses. They are aware of what is typical but will always encourage you to see your midwife or doctor if you are concerned).

      Newborn care-bathing, differences between types/brands of diapers, diapering, bottle feeding, differences between baby carriers, soothing techniques, teaching strategies for new parents, developmental milestone awareness, burping, getting baby dressed, newborn characteristics.

      Emotional support-listening to new parents as they divulge their struggles, assess new parents for postpartum mood disorders, encouraging new parents to rest, understanding what needs to be done without being asked to do it (i.e. making meals, getting groceries, light housekeeping), nurturing new parents, providing resources that could be beneficial for the parents.

      Family dynamics-introducing baby to older siblings, helping older siblings adjust to their new role, walking pets, feeding pets.

      Professionalism-providing care with no judgment or personal bias, maintaining confidentiality with each client, not offering medical advice, respecting the needs and requests of the parent(s), accepting various family dynamics, communicating effectively with clients so that everyone benefits from the interaction between family and postpartum doula.

      Questions to ask

      Your search for your postpartum doula should begin while you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy to ensure that you have found someone to begin right away when baby arrives.

      You can do a quick Google search to find out what postpartum doulas are available in your area. Check their websites to see if you might be able to establish a connection with them, and then consider asking these questions that are recommended by DONA:

      -What training have you had? (If a doula is certified, you might consider checking with the organization.)

      -Have you had a criminal background check, a recent TB test, current CPT certification?

      -Tell me about your experience as a postpartum doula.

      -What is your philosophy about parenting supporting women and their families during postpartum?

      -May we meet to discuss our postpartum needs and the role you will play in supporting us in the postpartum period?

      -What different types of services do you offer?

      -May we call you with postpartum questions or concerns before the birth?

      -When do your services begin after birth?

      -What is your experience in breastfeeding support?

      -Do you work with one or more back up doulas for times when you are not available? May we meet them?

      -What are your fee and refund policies?

      These are all reasonable questions to ask your potential postpartum doula. You may also ask:

      -How far are you willing to travel (if you live outside of their service area) and will there be a travel fee?

      -What is your general availability?

      -Do you offer a night service? What are the fees for that?

      The postpartum period is a very intimate one and you will be at your most vulnerable. If you have an interview with a potential postpartum doula and decide that they’re not for you don’t feel bad about kindly declining their services and continuing on your search.

      Hiring a postpartum doula is a very personal endeavor. It takes time and energy to find someone that you feel will fit in best with your family in this postpartum period. Often times, postpartum doulas will offer introductory meetings free of charge so make sure you take them up on that. While it’s possible to get a feel for someone via text it’s worthwhile to meet up and see if you jive together in person!

      Do you have experience with a postpartum doula aiding you when you welcomed your baby? I’d love to hear about how your experience went.

      what you need to know about your first period after childbirth

      9 Things to know about your first period after childbirth

      You just had yourself a roughly 9-month reprieve from your monthly visit from Aunt Flo, but now that baby is here you have to worry about your first period after childbirth.


      Don’t be too scared of your postpartum period; once it comes back you’ll remember what to do. It’s kind of like riding a bike (but with more menstrual blood and discomfort, you know?!)

      Are you about to give birth?

      Build your confidence with these 10 tips from a Mama who’s done it 4 times.

      Plus, get exclusive access to a hilarious birth story that you will be able to learn from!

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        Your first period after childbirth isn’t quite the same as the regular, consistent period that you were once (possibly) used to and there are a few things you need to consider.

        What you need to know about your first period after childbirth

        You're awaiting your first period after childbirth, but you may want to read this first and get a little more prepared for what's to come.
        1. “Most” folks get their first period after childbirth at around the 6-8 week postpartum mark. However, this is different for each and every person and things like breastfeeding and stress may change that.
        2. It’s going to be unpredictable. Some folks can mark it in the calendar exactly when they’re going to be getting their period or they have sure-fire signs that it’s about to grace them with its presence. Your body is still in the process of returning organs back to their original place before baby moved them, so things internally are a little out of whack. You may end up with some symptoms that you think are premenstrual but are just normal post-baby body things.
          You may find that your periods are off-track for quite some time and take a while to regulate again. For the first year especially you may experience some periods that are longer than others, fluctuating lengths of your cycle, and periods that are heavier than others.
        3. Your first period after childbirth may take longer to come back if you’re breastfeeding. Your hormone levels continue to fluctuate significantly when you’re breastfeeding. This can have an impact on when your menses might start up again after having baby.
        4. Depending on when you get your first period after childbirth you may not want to jump back into using tampons, especially if you’re closer to the 6-8 week postpartum mark. This is something that you’ll need to base on your comfort level, but it’s also worthwhile having a chat with your midwife or doctor in one of your postpartum visits to get their insight on when tampons are appropriate.

          **If this is your first baby and you wanted to give the Diva Cup a go-round make sure you read about which one is going to be best for your vagina now that you’ve had a baby or if you’re over 30. I highly recommend the Diva Cup but recommend you have a bit of patience learning how to get that sucker in properly. It takes a bit of practice but at the end of it you won’t be afraid of getting all up in yourself-I promise.**
        5. You don’t need to be as prepared for your first period after childbirth as you might think you do! If you’re used to unpredictable periods you probably have gotten into the habit of carrying hygiene products around with you wherever you go. Now that you’re carrying around a BABY and everything that they need you may have gotten out of that routine. Fortunately for you, you’re likely carrying around the ultimate premenstrual pad with you at all times: a diaper! (Unless you’re me and you forgot diapers all the friggin’ time and had to ask random folks with or without babies if they happened to have a spare diaper on them. It worked better than you might think). Seriously, if you’re in a pinch take that tiny little diaper out, remove the tabs, and shove it down your pants. It’s less bulky than you imagine and is way more absorbent than any pad I’ve ever encountered.
        6. Your first period after childbirth may affect your breastmilk! Okay, don’t freak out. It’s usually not a major impact, but you may notice that your baby is acting a bit out of sorts. Your menses can alter the taste of your breastmilk, as well as the quantity you make. These slight changes shouldn’t shift your ability to breastfeed.
        7. Your first period after childbirth may be a little more intense than you’re used to. You may find that your cramping is a little more than before (you have a uterine lining that is still being shed) and you may have some small blood clots that can be a bit alarming. If you feel that it’s too intense and you’re concerned don’t ever hesitate to go to your midwife or doctor as soon as possible.
        8. Lochia is not our first period after childbirth. Lochia is vaginal discharge after you’ve given birth that consists of blood, mucus, and uterine tissue. This is a normal output after a vaginal birth or cesarean birth and can last up to around 10 days with continued spotting up to 6 weeks.
        9. There are some things that you need to watch out for with your first period after childbirth (as per Healthline Parents):
          -soaking through a pad every hour
          -sudden fever
          -bleeding continuously for more than 7 days
          -bleeding that’s accompanied with sudden, severe pain
          -blood clots that are bigger than a softball
          -foul-smelling discharge
          -severe headache
          -trouble breathing
          -pain while urinating
          These symptoms may indicate an infection and require immediate medical attention.

        I got my first period after childbirth with my fourth baby in the middle of my Grandmother’s funeral. Thank Goddess I was wearing black and THANK GODDESS I actually had diapers with me that day. That little tidbit of info about the shoving the diaper down the pants thing…ya, that came from experience.

        Do you have a funny “first period after childbirth” story?

        postpartum care after vaginal birth

        How to: Postpartum care after a vaginal birth

        This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase something I recommend in this post I may receive a commission at no cost to you.

        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.

        Are you scared to give birth?

        Turn your fear into confidence with these 10 tips from a Mama who’s done it 4 times.

        Plus, get exclusive access to a hilarious birth story that you will be able to learn from!

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          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


          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.


          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.