Childbirth injuries are no fun. These are our tenderest bits we’re talking about here, places we generally want to be treated with kindness and respect. But what do hefty little babies know about kindness and respect? Not much. They’re coming out, by hook or by crook, and it can feel like they actually used a hook and a crook while fighting their way down the chute.
Which means you’re going to need some postpartum vaginal care. Enter SELF with the suggestion that you fill a condom with water and freeze it, and then place it on your vulva (for external use only, *don’t insert anything in your vagina*) to ease post-delivery soreness and swelling. It’s obviously just an ice pack, but in a shape that will appropriately conform to your anatomy.
If this works for you, great! I myself would recommend prepping a variety of icy soothers, such as, as SELF suggests, a frozen surgical glove, or a sanitary pad with a built-in cold pack, or, as my friends who have delivered vaginally suggest, sanitary pads soaked in alcohol-free witch hazel and frozen. In fact these guidelines for postpartum perineal care from What to Expect are pretty good: Keep the area clean with a spray bottle of warm water, apply heat and cold, wear loose clothes, and stay regular to avoid straining.
My post-delivery experiences, which were accompanied by a soundtrack of blubbering (mostly me, the baby was fine) taught me that you want to have a variety of remedies on hand for all the physical ordeals: Paracetamol for pain, bacitracin for nipple injuries, haemorrhoid relief, sanitary pads or even adult nappies for discharge. The nurse the hospital will give you instructions on caring for your injuries, and it’s helpful to have a partner or family member present to listen too — the fog of war makes it hard to listen attentively. As with all things medical, ask your doctor for her advice on how to best care for yourself post-delivery.
If you want to follow SELF‘s advice, at the very least, buying a pack of condoms when you’re nine months’ pregnant might be amusing — let the other customers think you’re anticipating getting busy ASAP! Which, if you take good care of yourself, and wait six weeks, and don’t have any further complications, and feel like it, and aren’t too tired, and can make time, and probably some other things, and — well, forget it. Just freeze the condoms.