Sometimes pregnancy can leave you with a lot of questions. You might think to ask your doctor at your regular prenatal care visits, but sometimes you might not. Something that often gets overlooked is what to ask about vaginal care after pregnancy.
It’s easy to overlook this question because you’re thinking about other things. Things like what is happening right at the moment with your baby and your body. Asking about vaginal care might not cross your mind before delivery because you aren’t dealing with that particular aspect of pregnancy right at the moment.
The good news is you’ll likely get great advice from your OB when the time comes. Most doctors are awesome at understanding this is a confusing time and giving guidance accordingly. But it’s okay to have questions and want advice in advance too.
So, let’s talk about vaginal care after pregnancy. What’s it like right after delivery? When will things be normal again? We can go over all of that so you have a better idea of what to expect after you have your baby. Here’s what you should know about vaginal care after pregnancy.
What Is Vaginal Care Right Afer Pregnancy Like?
The truth is vaginal care after pregnancy is going to look similar and also different for each woman. While one woman might experience a lot of pain another might not have any pain at all. There’s no telling what your recovery after delivery will be like until it happens.
That being said, there are a lot of things that will be the same with your recovery. If you have a vaginal delivery where you tore or had an episiotomy you can expect to have care that will involve stitches. You will have to rinse the area with water (or whatever your doctor tells you to use) after each time you use the bathroom.
The hospital can give you a spray botty (often called a peri bottle) to help make sure you are rinsing well each time. They’ll also have other tips on how to handle the pain of a healing tear or cut. Using things like witch hazel, ice packs, or even lidocaine based sprays are common after giving birth.
How Do I Handle Vaginal Bleeding After Pregnancy?
In addition to dealing with a healing tear or cut you’ll also have postpartum bleeding. This is normal and will feel sort of like a period. It can last up to 6 weeks after delivery so don’t be surprised if you’re still wearing pads that far after you’ve given birth. If you have concerns about how long it’s going on, definitely give your doctor a call.
When it comes to postpartum bleeding you’ll want to make sure you have some pretty heavy duty pads on hand. Remember that you won’t be able to insert anything into your vagina after you give birth. Your doctor will remind you of this but it’s good to be prepared too.
Your vagina needs time to heal so even if you don’t normally use pads, you’ll have to use them after having a baby. At least until your doctor gives you the all clear on using other products again. Pads labled as overnight pads or heavy flow pads are a good option for postpartum bleeding.
You could also use disposable underwear like Depends after you give birth. Sometimes postpartum bleeding is just too heavy for regular pads on the market. It’s okay and even normal to have that kind of postpartum bleeding but it make require something like Depends which will have better absorbency than pads.
Another option would be to use period underwear like Thinx. Period underwear may be a more comfortable and sustainable option than disposable options like Depends. However, since you’ll have to have them shipped to you you’ll definitely want to order those before you give birth and have them ready on hand when you delivery your baby.
When Can I Start Using My Regular Vaginal Care Products?
This is going to be up to your doctor but in general the time frame is about 6 to 8 weeks after you give birth. Your vagina and cervix need time to heal. Your doctor can talk with you about when it’s safe to start using things like tampons again at your postpartum check up.
They’ll make sure to check that you are healing appropriately and give guidance based on that. If something isn’t healing as well as it should you may have to wait a few more weeks before you can start using your normal products again.
Just remember that it’s really important to wait until you have the all clear from your doctor. It’s tough to wait this one out sometimes but it is a big part of how well you’ll recover after having a baby. Try to be patient with your body and talk with your doctor about any concerns or frustrations you have. They can give you tips as needed.
Does Vaginal Care After Pregnancy Change If I Have A C-Section?
You won’t have to worry about vaginal stitches but you do have to deal with some of the same things even if you have a c-section. For instance, even without stitches you’ll still need to use pads instead of tampons. Your cervix still needs time to heal, even without a vaginal delivery.
You’ll have other things to consider while recovering from a c-section too. You’ll need to focus more on helping your incision heal and you may have restrictions on things like what you can and can’t lift. Your doctor will make sure you know all about healing after a c-section before you go home from the hospital.
Having a baby is a big deal. Your body goes through a lot. While it’s an exciting time in life to be sure, there are still going to be hiccups and a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor or do some online reading if you want to know more.
Remember that feeling overwhelmed is normal. If you need help make sure to ask your support system and rest when you can. You’re dealing with a lot but once you figure it all out you’re going to do great.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.