You may be sore or uncomfortable after your birth experience, whether you had a vaginal or cesarean birth. Here’s how you can recover throughout your fourth trimester with a few products designed to bring relief.

When you’re in the hospital or birth center, there will be many options to soothe and comfort soreness. However, you may want to have the following items at the ready for use at home.

Ice packs

Ask your nurse if you can take home extra ice packs from the hospital. If that’s not possible, use soft gel ice packs to reduce swelling.

Witch hazel medicated pads

These medicated pads help with tender and inflamed tissues and offer a cleanse for any stitches or minor tears.

See also: Plan Ahead for Postpartum Recovery

Sitz bath

You may be given a sitz bath when you leave the hospital or birth center. They are also available at local drug stores. A sitz bath can cleanse and provide soothing warmth to your perineum.

Multi-size feminine hygiene pads

Postpartum bleeding typically decreases over time, but can last several weeks. Stock away a variety of pad sizes to choose from based on your flow. Remember, it’s best to not insert anything vaginally after giving birth. Tampons are off-limits.

See also: How To Deal With Postpartum Aches

Nursing pads

If you’re breastfeeding you may experience some leaking between feedings. Insert disposable or washable nursing pads into your bra to protect your clothes and help you feel confident about your appearance.

Heating pad

Soreness is common after labor or surgery and baths are usually not an option for several weeks. Electric or microwavable heating pads are helpful alternatives—just be careful not to apply directly to your skin or incision.

See also: Postpartum Mood Disorders What Moms Need to Know

Postpartum support belt or band

You may have worn a maternity belt for support as your baby grew larger or if you experienced back pain. After a cesarean, you may seek out that extra support again if you want to strengthen your abdominal muscles or cover your incision during breastfeeding. 

Savoy cabbage

Your breasts may become engorged and feel sore and swollen when your milk comes in, usually between days 2 and 6 after birth. The best relief is for your baby to nurse often and empty your breasts each time. Cabbage leaves are an old, inexpensive, remedy to soothe breast engorgement. Use green varieties so as not to stain your clothes. Apply a washed leaf to each breast and you may find some relief. If nothing else, you can take a funny picture for the baby book!


Heather Watson, PhD, MSN, BSRN is a nurse scientist at Johns Hopkins Health System and expert advisor to Healthy Mom&Baby.

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