Apply ice packs
Use them on your perineal area (between your vagina and butt) for the first 12 hours after delivery, which will soothe swelling and ease the pain. If you had a c-section, medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can relieve the discomfort the incisions without interfering with your ability to breastfeed.
Soak in a sitz bath
Sitting in a shallow tub or bowl of warm water (or simply using hot compresses) can also relieve perineal pain. Cool medicated pads moistened with witch hazel (keep a jar of pads in the refrigerator to chill) also provide comfort.
Use a donut ring
Available at drugstores or possibly from your hospital, this rubber ring can make sitting more comfortable for recovering new moms. Or try lying on your side. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods in the first days after delivery.
Don't be afraid to ask for medication
Pain can distract you and keep you from bonding with your new baby. Also, research suggests that pain may even decrease milk supply. If over-the-counter medications aren't helping, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
Copyright © 2001 Theresa Kump. Reprinted with permission from the Spring 2001 issue of Expecting magazine.
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