Following delivery, your pain and comfort needs will be different than what you experienced during labor. The way you experience pain and the type of pain will be unique to you. You may have very little discomfort or you may experience more than you would like. The good news is, there are a lot of methods for managing post-delivery pain. We spoke to Jenny Dougal, MSN, RNC-OB, NP-C, clinical nurse specialist, Family Birthing Centers, Parkview Women’s and Children’s Hospital, to get her pointers for post-partum relief.
“Many people think that when in pain, they should take pain medication,” Jenny said. “While that may be an option, there are other ways to let your body heal and manage pain – especially after delivery. Your nurse and physician are there to help guide and manage your options without always turning to pain medication. Low doses of medication, in addition to non-pain medication options, may help you remain alert and able to fully interact with your baby.”
Jenny suggests the following methods to help reduce your pain or increase your level of comfort:
Take it easy.
Let your body rest. You’ve been through a marathon of sorts. Your body needs to recover from this big event.
Stay hydrated and fueled.
Drink plenty of water and eat a well-balanced diet.
Consider essential oils, derived from plants, as a way to provide comfort and relaxation. Prior to use, ask your nurse and healthcare provider to help you determine which essential oils are safe during pregnancy, lactation and the postpartum period. They can teach you the best way to use these oils – whether topically, diffused, etc.
Note: Some essential oils are not considered safe during pregnancy, lactation and the postpartum period. Talk to your healthcare provider prior to use.
Take a bath or shower.
A sitz bath is a clean tub of warm water designed for your bottom and hips to soak it. This can be soothing and relaxing for sore areas. Showering under warm water may also be relaxing and rejuvenating to your tired mind and body.
Go for a walk.
Walking soon after vaginal birth or cesarean is recommended for most women. This will help your body in the healing process.
Interact with your baby.
It’s important to spend time with your baby. Pleasant, maternal feelings will help release endorphins which are natural pain management substances.