In one of my prenatal yoga classes the other day, one woman, expecting for the second time, said that she wished someone had spoken to her, in pregnancy, about healing postpartum. What a great idea for a theme! If you’re coming to this post as a yoga student, and new MamaNaturale reader welcome! And welcome to anyone else who’s found her way here.
Talking about tearing in labour can make many, if not most mamas-to-be, cringe. But it’s better to talk about it now, than later. For a while, episiotomies (cutting the perineum in labour) were routinely performed here in Canada. Luckily, that is a trend that is shifting. As stated by the Society of Obstetricians Gynaecologists of Canada,
“There is no evidence to support doing an episiotomy for all women (making a cut to widen the opening to the vagina). In fact, there are more benefits to NOT doing this, such as:
- less pain after the baby is born,
- better sexual function later, and
- less relaxation of the pelvic muscles
In some cases, an episiotomy is necessary to relieve pressure, or to deliver a baby in distress more quickly”
There’s a good chance that in labour, you will tear, at least a little. The chances are increased if you’re pushing for an extended period of time, which is common if an epidural has been administered. You can ask for help and guidance in pushing the baby out slowly, and ask that a warm compress be used to help baby’s head ease out gently. If you do tear please know, you will heal, and it’s usually quite easy to take care of the area.
What you can do in the postpartum period:
A Peri Bottle
Some hospitals give them out, but don’t count on it. It doesn’t have to look exactly like this, get creative. You fill the bottle with warm water/herbal tea concoction and clean the area by spraying the water, rather than wiping with toilet paper. You can also spray while peeing to reduce stinging.
You can apply raw honey to the wound. It is anti bacterial.
Freeze some of your maxi pads at home, the cold feels great and helps with swelling. You can also use baby facecloths, frozen, and place them on top of your pads. It feels great, I promise.
You can buy these at any pharmacy. You place it on top of the toilet, fill it with a herbal concoction that you can make on your own, or Earth Mama Angel Baby makes postpartum bath herbs containing: Sea salt, oatmeal, kernel meal, witch hazel, yarrow, plantain leaf and calendula flowers. They’re teabags that can be used in the bath (regular or sitz) and also worn over your pad. You soak the perineal area in the basin of water or tea. Take the time to do this for yourself while someone holds baby.
In the hemorrhoid section of the pharmacy, you can find a product called Tucks Pads. I feel they’re less than ideal because they contain alcohol, which can be drying. I did, however, use them after my first baby. With the second, I took the time to prepare my own, which was inexpensive and easy. You need:
Can you avoid tearing/episiotomy? Here’s a great post from my friend, Megan the Doula.