Leave no bum behind.
By Randi van Wiltenburg- Butterfly Baby Doula
That’s right, I went there. I’m talking mesh underwear, bed covers, puppy pee pads, and diapers!
Many people prepare for pregnancy, labour and delivery but often time’s people forget about the birthing person and their postpartum recovery. We hear briefly about postpartum bleeding (lochia) lasting up to 6 weeks, but often are shocked when it actually lasts the full 6 weeks.
You’ve just given birth; many feel extremely vulnerable and open after this experience. Nurses are coming and going, checking on everything and all your bits and pieces.
Depending on where you give birth you’re given the most comfortable, reusable, see through, stretchy pair of underwear, and what feels like a mattress to place in said ‘attractive’ underwear. Although these mesh panties are not on the top of the list for high end fashion, they are comfortable. If given them in the hospital, you’re often not informed that these are washable and therefore reusable. You can buy these in most medical supply stores and online.
The pads, oh the pads, you can place these in those sexy mesh undies or in any underwear of your choice. You do have a few different options when it comes to these. Typically while the flow is heavy you’re going to want the maxi pads for maximum absorbency. Disposable; disposable pads you have the options of the mainstream brands that you can find in any pharmacy or the natural fiber and organic ones that can be a bit trickier to come by. Both will get the job done, however the more natural ones are a higher price point. I personally didn’t notice any difference. One thing to be aware of though, if you’ve gotten stitches (from vaginal tearing or episiotomy) do NOT get the dry weave/dri weave style…just trust me on this one.
Fabric; you can also get fabric pads (mama cloth) made specifically for the postpartum flow. They are often fairly pricey, but washable and reusable so you don’t have to buy too many. You don’t have to pre-rinse, but many choose to do so in the washing machine before adding any clothes or towels to the wash. I did find these more comfortable and less like a full sized mattress.
Bedcovers/incontinence covers; fairly self-explanatory but these are covers that go directly underneath your bottom to protect whatever you may be sitting or lying on. Fabric/reusable bedcovers; often used in Labour and Delivery wards both during labour, delivery and postpartum, they can hold a lot of fluid before in penetrates the bottom layer of fabric. These are also handy for any milk leakage and potty training later on.
Puppy pads/disposable incontinence covers; some will use these instead of a pad with the mesh underwear the very first few days postpartum. My midwives had these on hand and used them as needed. These are very simple and mess free, toss when done using, mid-range for price. Please note the medical grade ones are often referred to as ‘chucks’ and that actual puppy pads often have chemicals on them which can cause irritation.
Last but certainly not least, adult diapers! These are gaining popularity for many, they’re super simple, you don’t have to worry about bunching or things shifting and not having protection, and depending on your pelvic floor they may catch some incontinence. They are expensive, you can’t reuse them but you can wear them for a long time. Be aware though many do contain latex and can cause rashes on sensitive skin.
There you have it, the full monty on postpartum undergarments and your protection options.