With my first delivery, postpartum was such a mystery. I tried to dig around some information but it seems like nobody wants to talk about postpartum period. In our culture it is more known as confinement period or berpantang. In Malay culture there are so many pantang, do’s and don’ts and I wonder which are legit or just myths.
Now let’s talk confinement and what it’s all about. Bear in mind there will be some TMI’s (too much information) but may be beneficial if you are genuinely looking for some light. The more you know, the more you can be prepared for it. Also, I can only speak from my own experience and readings. I had normal births for both of my pregnancy so this may or may not apply for those who had ceasareans.
Labour can be very taxing on your body. Hours of labour and prolonged delivery may leave your body aching all over for the first few days. Take things easy, do not massage while having these aches. You may apply muscle ache creams to ease the pain.
Once you have a tear, you need to take care of it well. Apart from the prescribed disinfectant, you may wash your perineal with warm salt water (rock salt, sea salt is best) or giving your perineal a warm water bath using a sitz bath. You may also add salt to this bath. However, upon reading, there is no proof that salt water makes for faster recovery. Nevertheless, the warm bath will be soothing for the perineal area.
For me I like to add witch hazel into the bath solution to speed up recovery.
Be sure to choose unscented and ALCOHOL-FREE. Alcohol stings, and nobody wants that on our vagina, ouch!! You chose one with aloe vera as aloe vera can be soothing. There is also without aloe vera if you prefer that. I also filled a spray bottle with this and spray it after urinating. Clean the perineal with water, pat dry, and spritz some witch hazel onto the tear. InshaAllah the wound will heal faster.
Take things easy. Walk slowly and always be mindful of your movements. Do not squat or spread your knees except for medical-related examination. Start doing light kegel exercise to encourage blood flow (more oxygen) and restore kegel strength.
umm.. what’s that burning sensation down there? Again, warm sitz bath can help soothe the swelling AND also, cold compress. Try to get the cold compress treatment as soon as you can within 24hours to reduce swelling. You can use ice pack or crushed ice (wrapped in towel) or make your own padsicles.
Padsicles?? It is basically your own DIY cold pads. Just spray witch hazel (heavily ) into your sanitary pad and add aloe vera on top. Wrap in aluminum, make a few and keep them into ziplock bag. Freeze. Enjoy. I love them!
Pelvic Girdle Pain
Okay, to me this is the worst about postpartum (other than prolonged postpartum blues). Apparently this pain affects alot of women though not all. I experience pain in the pelvic area in all positions, lying, side lying, sitting and standing up. Walking made the pain worse. If you have pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy, you are more likely to be affected after delivery.
Alhamdulillah, this time the pelvic pain is not as bad as my first delivery. With my first, I couldn’t walk for two weeks!! I cried everytime I needed to go to the toilet as it was too painful to stand for barely 5minutes. Now.. The pain is worse on day 3-4 but after second week, the pain comes and goes and getting less pain with each day Alhamdulillah.
How to deal with the pain: lots of hot compress (tunku). I use hot water refillable pouch you can get from the pharmacy cheaply so that it’s convenient for me to fill up on my own. You can also get the microwaveable gel packs. Other than heat, cold compress can be just as soothing too. Also, this is very important, always watch your posture. Do not stay in one position for too long, or slouch on your tailbone, it can make it worse.
Everybody knows this. Change your pads everytime after you urinate for maximum hygiene. Consider using disposable maternity panties for the heavy bleeding during your first few days and you don’t have to worry about your laundry!
Postpartum blues can affect your recovery. It is easier said than done, but always try to think positively. There will be ups and downs emotionally throughout pospartum period, and it is normal. Talk to someone and let out your emotions. Don’t keep it all to yourself. If the blues linger for more than 3 weeks, it can develop into postpartum depression that can last months after delivery, so do seek help for it.
Ok thats all I can say. Confinement period is a time for recovery. Don’t stress over the time it takes for recovery, it’s NOT A COMPETITION. Eat healthy, keep taking your supplements, whatever jamu you prefer, inshaAllah, you will recover before you know it.