As I sit down to write this blog post I cannot help but be taken back to the few weeks after I gave birth. If you read My Birth Story, you will know that I ended up having to have an episiotomy as a result of Jacob’s heart rate dropping suddenly and needing to get him out fast. In the moment, you don’t think about what is happening. All you care about is that your baby arrives healthy and safe, which he did! But then in the days and weeks to follow, the reality of your recovery starts to sink in.
All I remember is thinking that I could not possibly be more uncomfortable and that I would do anything to try and speed up the healing process. So here are a few things I tried! Some worked wonders, and others not so much.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, visit my disclosure page.
PERI BOTTLE ✔
If the hospital doesn’t provide you with one (which hopefully they do) make sure to get one! (The one they gave me was identical to this one). The nurse brought one to me as soon as I needed to use the bathroom for the first time after delivery. She filled it with warm water and it made going to the bathroom SO much more bearable. I didn’t know what to do with it at first, and when I asked the nurse she said, “spray as you pee.” Truthfully, I only experienced some discomfort going to the bathroom the first couple of times and then I was fine. But the peri bottle continued to be useful while the stitches were there and it wasn’t easy to wipe afterward. Kept things down there clean!
So of course after seeing these all over Pinterest I just had to make a bunch. If you don’t know what these are, just search ‘padsicles’ on Pinterest and you will see what I am talking about. I bought a large pack of pads, aloe vera and witch hazel, and spent a good hour or so one afternoon working away to have a supply ready to go in the freezer for when I came home after having the baby. Now I may be the only person on Pinterest to have this opinion, but I did NOT like these at all. The initial coolness from having been in the freezer provided a bit of relief, but as they began to thaw it was just wet and uncomfortable. I wore one and ended up throwing the rest away.
ICE FINGERS ✔
The nurse made me ice fingers in the hospital and they were delightful! She froze water in the finger of a latex glove and placed it right where the stitches were. It numbed the area so well and was way less messy and uncomfortable than the padsicles because when the water melted it remained tied off inside the finger of the glove and you could just toss it away. No mess!
SITZ BATH ✔
There are a bunch of different herbal mixtures you can add to your sitz bath, but I didn’t prepare anything or have anything readily available so I simply did an epsom salt sitz bath and it seemed to work just fine for me. Whenever I got a chance I would fill the tub with a 2-3 inches of warm water, add in some epsom salts and sit in the bath for 10-15 minutes. I can’t be sure how effective it was for healing overall, but the relief just from sitting in the bath was well worth it, even though I had super bad chills getting out of the tub every time.
BOTTOM SPRAY ✗
This may help the healing process, but I personally didn’t find much relief or help from them. I had a healing bottom spray I tried applying multiple times, but other than an initial cooling effect, like the padsicles, it left me feeling damp and uncomfortable.
AIR DRYING ✔
THIS, in my opinion, is hands down the best thing you can do to help heal down there after an episiotomy.The challenging part is that it isn’t so easy when you are still bleeding heavily. What I ended up doing was taking a quick shower, blow drying down there gently on the cool setting. and then laying a towel down on the floor to give the area a chance to dry and heal. I didn’t start doing this right away, but after I started it was seriously amazing and I wish I had done it from the get go!
At the end of the day, everyone’s experience will be vastly different. Some of you may heal relatively quickly and with little pain and discomfort, while others won’t be able to sit down for weeks without pain. My advice is to listen to your body, watch out for infection, and try and rest as much as possible. I do realize how hilarious that sounds when you have a newborn baby to take care of, but every bit of rest helps!