Something that we are rather unprepared for is the after birth portion of the birth process. We labour, push, tear, are stitched and sent home with advil. Whoop di do!
Thankfully there are a few things that you can do at home to help recover from a vaginal birth, whether or not you had any tearing.
This is one that my cousin told me about following an episiotomy in 2010. Spritz a thick overnight sanitary pad with way and then stick it in the freezer. Once it is nice and chilly, wear it like you would a normal sanitary pad. Pretty much instant relief for sore perineal muscles, swollen and sensitive areas and completely episiotomy and tear friendly.
I'm sure you've heard of them, but what are they exactly? Well, they are a blend of healing herbs that you add to a shallow pool of bath water to sit in. It's used to cleanse, as well as soothe. Earth Mama, Anointment and Happy Rock Holistics all make lovely herb bath remedies for postpartum use.
Relief for Swelling
Another thing that you can use to help alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by vaginal childbirth and swelling is a bottom spray.With soothing ingredients like witch hazel and peppermint, a spray like this just might come in handy for other things like bug bites and sunburns!
Put your feet up!
If you had an epidural, there is a good likelihood that you will have some swelling in your legs. To help the fluid drain, keep your feet up as much as possible. I found lying on the couch with my legs up over the back of the couch to be the most effective, even if it was super awkward.
When it hurts to sit...
Sit on a pillow. The further down you have to go, the more it is going to hurt those sensitive areas that are still healing. Put a pillow on the seat in the car, on the couch, on the recliner or glider. Elevate the spots where you will sit so you don't have to squat down as far.
You may find after vaginal childbirth that you have a decent amount of cramping in your abdomen. Totally normal, and they likely remind you of the cramps you get around the time of your period. A hot water bottle or heating pad on your tummy may bring relief, as might an herbal tea with ginger (which will also help with any queasiness during postpartum recovery), peppermint essential oils massaged onto your tummy and ibuprofen.
When all else fails, remember that your body has just been put through something fairly traumatic that it likely has never done before. Take it easy, be kind to your body! Listen to it when it feels like you need to slow down. Have a bath with epsom salts for weary arm and leg muscles.
Take your time! I promise it will feel better soon!