Intimate care after childbirth

Just like it’s important to take care of yourself during pregnancy, you need to make time for postpartum care after the baby is born.

Childbirth is rough on your body, not the least because your vagina has to stretch far beyond its normal size to make room for the baby, and some discomforts might linger for a couple months after the baby is born. Many women experience after birth pains and other discomforts like swelling, bruising, dryness, bleeding, sore and sensitive skin, and pain when going to the bathroom. With proper intimate care after childbirth, you can alleviate many of these common discomforts and support your body’s healing process.

Remember that taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do, both for yourself and your baby.

Your vagina after birth

During birth, as many as 9 out of 10 first-time mothers tear from the vagina or have an episiotomy, a cut made by a healthcare professional during vaginal birth to make more room for the baby. Some tears are small and only affect the skin, whereas others might require stitches and affect the muscle of the perineum as well. Tears and cuts in the perineal area can make the skin sensitive to the touch and sting when you pee. Even if you don’t tear or have an episiotomy, you will likely feel soreness and other after birth pains in the vagina and perineum after birth. Your body will also get rid of the blood and tissue in the uterus that is no longer needed. This bleeding is called lochia and is usually heavy and bright red the first few days, before thinning out and disappearing completely within a few weeks.

After birth care tips

Soreness around the vagina after birth is normal but proper postpartum care is important to prevent infection and help you enjoy the time with your newborn to the fullest. These simple after birth care tips can help you feel better and speed up your recovery:

  • Drink a lot of water and eat fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains to prevent constipation
  • Soak in a warm bath or shower daily to keep the vaginal area clean and free from infection
  • Spray your vagina with water instead of using toilet paper after peeing
  • Change sanitary pads often
  • Put a cold pack or some ice wrapped in a towel on your perineum to reduce soreness
  • Do pelvic floor exercises daily to strengthen your pelvic muscles and alleviate perineum soreness
  • Use a lubricant during sex if your vagina feels drier than normal
  • Try an over-the-counter medication for the pain, but be sure to check with your health care provider first if you’re breastfeeding

If you’re very sore from your stitches, notice a foul smell, have constipation that won’t go away or lose blood in big clots, talk to your healthcare provider in case you need treatment.

Something for your daily care?