Healing Hints: What Postpartum Recovery Is Really Like

More Healing Advice

Those Disposable Mesh Undies Will Be A Lifesaver

Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section, you'll have vaginal bleeding (called lochia) that's heavier than a typical period because you'll be bleeding from the site where the placenta was attached, as well as shedding the thick layer of uterine lining that cushioned your baby. Stock up on as many pairs of the hospital's free undies as you can. They'll keep your own panties from getting ruined, and they're made of a stretchable, spongy mesh fabric that's good for holding maxi pads (avoid tampons until you've healed completely).

Additionally, they're waistband-free, unlike most regular underpants, so they won't irritate your C-section incision, if you have one. Once you run out of the hospital underwear, high-waisted panties from the drugstore are an inexpensive substitute. "After two weeks, you shouldn't have any more heavy red bleeding," says Coralie Macqueen, a certified nurse-midwife in private practice in New York City. "By six weeks, all of the bleeding should stop."

Take It Slow, Even If You Feel Better Fast

Ease into your new routine with help from family and friends. You'll be sore right after the birth, and you'll appreciate having someone else do the laundry and help prepare meals for a week or two. Limit trips up and down the stairs, avoid long walks, and wait to do rigorous exercise until you've gotten the okay from your doctor. "You need sufficient rest for the muscles and ligaments that hold your uterus in place to regain their strength," says Macqueen.

Since I have stairs in my house, I came up with my own solution so that I could stay on one floor for most of the day. I packed a bag full of anything breakable that I'd need from upstairs, and then I just chucked pillows and blankets downstairs. My method certainly wasn't graceful, but it helped me get the rest that I needed and return to my old self. Take heart. You'll bounce back too.

Originally published in the September 2012 issue of Parents magazine.

All content, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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