Postpartum

Sex After Birth: When & How to Approach Postpartum Sex

How do you know when you’re ready to have sex after birth?

husband wants to have sex but i just had a baby and i’m not sure if i’m ready

Do you need to be ready to have sex again 6 weeks after giving birth? If you get an “all clear” from your doctor or midwife at your checkup, does that mean you should feel ready for sex again?

A lot of women find themselves confused and feeling isolated when it comes to the conversation of sex after baby. Who can you talk to about sex when you’re a new mom? Can you bring it up at playgroup or with your friends? Women feel like they should be ready, even if they aren’t. This leaves new moms wondering if they’ve done something wrong, if their body is “broken” or if they are disappointing their partner.

The pressure to be ready for sex after birth can come from many places.

  1. Many providers mark the 6-week check up with an “all clear” to return to sex and exercise.

    While some providers take time to discuss all the changes a woman has experienced after having a baby, many women have felt rushed in these appointments and deduced to being sexual and fit again. This conversation of “your vagina is healed, you can have sex and exercise” creates a layer of pressure for a mom to be ready for intercourse.

  2. Pressure can come from a society that prioritizes sex in many ways

    There is an underlying assumption that a new mom “owes” sex to her partner because the partner has waited until mom is physically able again.

  3. Some women feel pressure from partners who don’t understand all the changes of new motherhood.

    A partner may feel like an “all clear” from a doctor is the green light everyone needs. When women are taught so little about their natural changes in postpartum, partners have even less understanding. This can be confusing and cause resentment in couples.

RELATED: Is this Weird for Everybody? Postpartum Sex

mom is not sure what to expect having sex after giving birth.

So What Does It Mean to be “Ready” for Sex Again?

A woman needs more than healed stitches to be ready for sex. It is a mental, emotional AND physical experience and transition. Some women are ready to get “back in the sack” right away, but for many women this is complicated and takes more time than the prescribed “all clear.”

Physically Ready

Being physically ready for sex includes healed birth sites- whether that is vaginal or cesarean (or both). This is usually what your medical provider is checking for you and giving an “all clear” for at a follow up appointment. Your pelvic floor undergoes a lot of changes and sometimes damage through birth and delivery. Many countries have pelvic floor physical therapy as standard care. In America, this is often something the new mom must seek-out. Pelvic floor physical therapy can be extremely beneficial if you’re struggling with incontinence, a “bearing down” weight on your pelvis and/or if sex is painful at any point. Many women (including myself) find sex to be significantly better after pelvic floor rehab. Breastfeeding can create a different feeling in your breast. If your breasts have been players in sexual experiences previously, you may need to address the change in sensation, feeling or even breast pain as you adapt to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can also cause more vaginal dryness meaning- lots of lube is needed!

RELATED: Do I need to Exercise My Pelvic Floor?

Mentally Ready

Motherhood, especially early motherhood, takes a lot from you mentally. Your day is filled with figuring out how to take care of baby, set new schedules, making appointments, figuring out naps and feedings, etc. On top of this, your hormones are continuing to shift and many women are met with some mental health struggles in postpartum.

It is just as important for a new mom to be mentally ready for sex as it is for her to be physically ready.

When you are thinking about engaging sex again, consider what mental roadblocks you are facing. Is it hard to find time to think about anything sexual and therefore, get in the mood? Are you facing anxiety, depression or another struggle impacting your libido and mood? Is your changed body creating self-talk that is impacting your confidence?

Once you are able to identify these mental roadblocks, they are important conversations to have with yourself, a trusted friend and your partner. Working through these things not only has a positive impact on your sex life, but your life and motherhood overall.

feel like i’m not ready for sex after birth but my husband really wants it

Emotionally Ready

If we feel depleted, it can be hard for us to connect. If we feel resentment or like our needs aren’t being met, we can shut down. Being emotionally prepared for sex can mean having our cup filled and feeling safe and accepted. This could be seeking self-acceptance, acceptance from our partner, etc.

If you are feeling depleted and/or disconnected, prioritize intimacy that is not necessarily sexual, but creates space for you to be seen and feel connected. This could be intentional conversations with your partner, foreplay, body acceptance practices and self-talk, etc.

RELATED: Postpartum Emotions

Words from the Postpartum Together Community

When I asked my online community what they would like to say to a mom who is thinking about sex again after baby, here is what they had to say. May these words help you remember you’re never alone, motherhood and relationships are messy, and there’s no one “right” way or timeline for you.

  • Listen to your body and take the time you need (before and during)

  • Talk to your spouse about your insecurities and what they can do to help

  • Use lots of lube

  • Stop if you’re in pain or uncomfortable

  • Start by taking a shower and appreciating this new you

  • It’s okay to not be ready. Your body is a priority.

  • Don’t feel bad if you need to stop

  • Don’t force anything

  • Sometimes your mind is your biggest enemy. If you feel ready, try. If it’s not comfortable, stop.

  • Lots of foreplay

  • It can be scary and overwhelming

  • Talk about it. A Lot. Take it slow. Try and relax.

  • You create your own timeline

  • Your husband doesn’t care that things are in different places- he loves all of you, not parts of you.

  • Go for it if you’re ready. It can help you return to parts of yourself that you have forgotten in motherhood.

  • Speak up about what feels good and what needs to be different

  • Decide to make it more about you and have fun

  • It’s okay if you don’t want to have intercourse but do find other ways to connect with your partner

  • You are still sexy

  • Just because there is societal pressure doesn’t mean you’re ready

  • Everyone’s experience is different and that is okay

Related: Setting Boundaries After Baby

Everyone’s experience is different. 

That is okay. Your experience is valid. 

There are ways to move into intimacy and sex, but there are not timelines or guidelines you need to abide by.

Having sex after birth is different for everyone, but there are a number of things you can evaluate to help you know if you are ready, what your needs are, and how to communicate that with your partner.

FREE DOWNLOAD:
6 Questions to Help You Get Back in the Sack

(Click to download)

sex after baby hurts, i don’t know if i’m ready for sex after birth, postpartum mom wants more time before sex again
Postpartum, pregnancy

New Mom Therapist: Guide to Finding a Maternal Therapist You Can Trust

Finding Counseling Support for Perinatal Mental Health: Pregnancy and Postpartum

how to find a therapist when you have a baby

Having a baby changes many areas of your life- it changes your body, your mind, your energy, your relationships, your work, your identity. In the midst of these big transitions, many women benefit from having an outside perspective from a professional maternal health therapist. However, when you are knee-deep in new motherhood, it can be difficult to know where to turn.

If you are currently pregnant, I recommend utilizing a postpartum plan (free checklist download) to make sure you are thinking about your postpartum needs and prepare resources ahead of time.

When I realized I needed therapy, the last thing I wanted to do was reach out and ask friends for recommendations- I didn’t want to start a conversation about what is supposed to be the best time of my life by saying I was struggling and needed help.

Why it Can be Hard to find a Maternal Therapist

My brain was already fried on a daily basis and the thought of researching and looking for a maternal health therapist felt like a job I couldn’t take on. With so many things calling for my time and attention, I struggled to justify using that time for my own needs and care. If you’re feeling this way:

1. You aren’t alone, even when it feels like it
2. I’ve compiled ideas and resources to help ease the journey for you

Related: What Is Maternal Ambivalence?

how to find a therapist after you have a baby

What do you need in a maternal health therapist?

If you are a mother (or pregnant), you want a therapist who is trained in perinatal care. This is important because while not all of your conversations will be about the pregnancy, birth, postpartum journey, there are many changes in a woman during this time that has an impact on experience and you want a professional who understands that. You may also have strong preferences regarding a therapist’s background and areas of expertise.

Is faith important to you in this process? Look for someone who has an aligned faith background.
Does sexuality play a big role in your relationship and life? Find a therapist who has an understanding and an inclusive practice.

Do you have previous trauma that may be forming your life now? You want a therapist who has trauma training.

Not all therapists have the same approaches, values, etc. and you can be selective about what is most important to you.

What logistics do you need to consider when finding a maternal health therapist?

What are your scheduling needs? Are you at home? Will you be returning to work soon? Are you a working mom? Do you have childcare options?

Think about what logistics are non-negotiable and what you can alter in order to make this work. If childcare is an issue, you will want to ask the therapy office if you can bring your baby with you. Perhaps you can ask a friend to swap childcare with you so that you can both have a free afternoon to tend to your own needs. If you’re working or going back to work- what scheduling do you need to consider to make ongoing appointments work?

Would virtual appointments be more well-suited for you than in-person?

Related: Postpartum During Coronavirus


online search for therapist in your area

Where are the trained professionals in your city?

You can use Psychology Today and/or Postpartum Support International to guide your search for a good therapist. 

Using Psychology Today (Specific to United States)

  1. On PsychologyToday.com, enter your city and it will populate a list of therapists

  2. On the left side bar you can filter by specifics.

  3. You want to make sure to filter for “Pregnancy, Prenatal, Postpartum” under “issues.”

  4. On this side bar you can also filter for faith, sexuality, language, therapy type, ect. to increase your chances of having a good fit with your therapist.

  5. Browse therapist profiles- look at their areas of expertise, experience and the language they use to describe their practice.

  6. Look at the therapist accepted insurance plans if you are planning to utilize insurance benefits

  7. If someone feels like a good fit, call and see if he/she is accepting new clients

Related: What Is Postpartum Anxiety?

Using Postpartum Support International (Directions are in US terms, but international support is also available by country)

  1. On Postpartum Support International home page, click the “Find Local Resources” button
  2. Select “United States Map”

  3. Select your state

  4. Find a coordinator in your area

  5. Call and tell them you are looking for a perinatal trained therapist near you. They will help you find someone.

find a therapist trained for postpartum or pregnant women through postpartum support international

Finding a maternal health therapist to help you work through your big life transitions is one of the strongest things you can do. By taking this step you not only help yourself, but you allow yourself to be the best version of YOU for those you love.

If you are pregnant and thinking about your postpartum care and needs- good for you! Preparation and planning is such an important part. Part of my speciality is helping you walk you through the areas of transition. This postpartum planning eCourse was designed to give you a postpartum plan to help you think about what you “don’t know you don’t know” about postpartum, have a support team ready, be proactive in your relationship and more!

how to plan for postpartum- preparing for life after baby
Postpartum Stories

Postpartum After Infant Loss: One Mom’s Story of Changes

A Mother is Still Postpartum After Loss

Trigger warning: In this post, our contributor, Erin, talks about unexpected infant loss. Some details may be difficult to read. While we at Postpartum Together believe it’s important to enter other women’s stories, even when uncomfortable, we also recognize the need to protect your heart and mind.

unexpected infant loss and postpartum for mom

Please introduce yourself and your partner and some background to your story. (Including where you are living and what that is like!)

Hi! I’m Erin, and I live in Uganda with my husband, Francis, who is Ugandan. Uganda is quite diverse and has everything from bustling cities to national parks where the elephants roam free. Francis and I live in a small, rural town in northern Uganda, about 35 kilometers from the city where he grew up, where most of our friends and family live, and where we attend church. Our town recently got tap water (woohoo!) so we live in a home with no running water inside, relying on solar power to meet our needs. Francis is an English and Literature teacher in a nearby secondary school (high school) and I work as a graphic designer serving US-based clients remotely.

My side of the family lives in the US, and from our door to theirs it’s about a two-day journey. I spent my childhood in Pennsylvania and my adult life in Ohio before moving to Uganda in 2015. Francis and I got married in 2018. I love life in Uganda and have imagined living here long term since my second visit in 2010. Meeting and marrying Francis has solidified that dream for me.

What did you know about postpartum prior to your own experience?

I’m a bit of a knowledge-gatherer, so felt like I did a moderately good job of preparing for postpartum, primarily through internet research. Being that this was my first pregnancy, I wanted as few surprises as possible (though obviously there are ALWAYS surprises even if you do tons of research). We read articles about what to potentially expect physically and emotionally, saved so many resources to refer back to later, and started following some great accounts on Instagram.

Additionally, I have limited access to American conveniences, so I wanted to plan in advance to make sure I had some products to make the healing process more comfortable. I actually felt well prepared to help heal my own body and knew I would figure out all things baby with time. My closest friend also gave birth last year, so hearing about some of her experience was also so helpful!

I didn’t know that losing my child was a possibility. No one mentioned that. Babies die far too often, be it from miscarriage, still-birth, infant death, or death at an older age. Should parents be told that it could happen? Should we be prepared for that horrible possibility? I don’t know the answer to that.

How did being away from your family and birthplace impact your TTC- postpartum experience?

We got lucky and became pregnant the first month we tried, one month after our wedding. It felt almost too easy. Once pregnant, we heard the question a lot from people wondering if we would have the baby in Uganda or in America. Many expats choose to go to their home countries to give birth, whether it’s because they want to give birth in a familiar setting, to be close to family, to make it easier to get their country’s citizenship for their children, or another reason.

My pregnancy was low-risk and it made sense to deliver here in Uganda — babies are delivered here all the time! My husband was denied a visa to travel to the US (we had hoped to go for Christmas 2019 after Silas was born) and I couldn’t imagine delivering our son without Francis or being in a different country for so many months. I have known some women that have to deliver in the US health reasons, away from their partner, and I felt so fortunate that we didn’t have to do that.

We found a great birth center about 40 minutes from our home. A few of our friends delivered with their midwives and they have wonderful rates of infant and maternal health. We received great antenatal care there. Everything was going so well and we were confident about what was to come.

Both Francis and his mom, Florence, were present for Silas’s birth and I felt so taken care of by them and our midwives. It’s typical here to have a helper with you when you go to deliver your child. Hospitals and birth centers don’t provide the same amenities as many US facilities, so Florence helped with washing linens, boiling me hot water for bathing, and more. Also, many men here do not attend their wife’s births, and even less are active in the labor and delivery process (much like in the US a few decades ago). Francis was so amazing and supportive throughout the whole process, I really don’t know how I could have done it without him!

It was a bit strange not having my parents nearby, but we kept them updated via WhatsApp. I’ve always been independent so it felt pretty normal to be honest. When my niece and nephew were born, my parents and I were able to meet each of them within hours of their births, so knowing my parents wouldn’t meet Silas until he was a few months old was something new to wrap my head around.

All that being said, things don’t always go to plan. Silas was born healthy and strong. I had a beautiful and empowering birth experience. Silas was delivered vaginally and unmedicated (which is normal in this part of Uganda and what I had hoped for) with almost no tearing. After delivering him into this world I felt like I could do anything! We had a blissful day together napping, learning how to feed, cleaning diapers, and getting to know each other. Silas was so amazing.

At around 20 hours after birth, Silas starting having some breathing issues and, to make a long story short, our sweet boy devastatingly passed away in a hospital at around 24 hours old. I would say it was my greatest fear coming to life, but I never feared losing a child because, in all honesty, the thought never crossed my mind. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening for a while, and once it sunk in I kept waiting to wake up from the nightmare we were living. When I held his lifeless body, I kept waiting for him to suddenly return to life, to start breathing again, to start moving again. But he never did.

After we held him and said our goodbyes, I followed Francis, carrying Silas’s body to the mortuary with my midwife’s arm around my shoulder. We left the hospital without our son. My womb empty, my arms empty.

The next few days were a blur. Neighbors came to our home within hours of our return, children eagerly shouting, “Auntie, where is your baby? We want to see him.” I had to learn how to say, “My baby died,” in Acholi, the local language. I curled up on our couch weeping, a wet spot of tears on the purple pillow case appearing all too quickly. Our pastors and friends from church came that same day to sit with us and talk about Silas’s funeral. Florence, with help from Francis’s siblings, made all of the preparations for the burial.

Here, you don’t hire a funeral home to take care of all of the details for you. No, you have to hire a neighbor to dig your son’s grave; a mason to come build the headstone; a carpenter to build a small casket. Caskets that size shouldn’t need to be built. You have to pick up your son’s body from the morgue the morning of his burial; take him to your family’s home; watch your husband’s mother gently clean his lifeless body as aunties watch in reverence, clothing him in the outfit you planned to bring him home in. Blue and white striped pajamas with an elephant on the chest. It’s all too much. And it’s all so tender and messy and beautiful and holy. The veil between heaven and earth is so, so thin.

It was difficult not having my parents here to mourn with us. We also didn’t have things like meal trains. My parents’ friends brought them food for a week or two and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious. Some friends bought food and neighbors occasionally shared meals. We don’t have a fridge or freezer so we couldn’t keep anything for long. Friends let us stay at their home in the city for so many nights, feeding us and loving us and letting us rest. Acquaintances offered free meals at their restaurant. We felt taken care of the best our situation allowed for. Friends still check on us to see how we’re doing. One friend sends me a message every month on the 12th because Silas was born on October 12th.

Friends and family showed up at Florence’s home for weeks after the burial, sometimes unannounced, to pay respects to Silas and our family. That is one time I have felt thankful to live far away from our family. I don’t know how I could have hosted people in the weeks that followed Silas’s birth and death. And yet it is expected.

Can you share more about what parts of postpartum you still experienced after the loss of Silas? 

Like all mothers who have gone through labor, my body ached for days. Weeks? My muscles were sore, everything hurt. Silas’s funeral happened just two days after he died, and that morning my milk was ready to go. My goodness, I thought my breasts were going to explode – and all of the hugs did not help! Thankfully, we found some Sudafed to help dry up the milk within a week. I wish I could have pumped the milk and donated it, but without proper refrigeration that’s not an option and it’s just not common where we live.

The emotional pain added to the physical. I had a lot of strange symptoms after Silas died, like chest pain and dizziness. I did so many tests at the hospital to rule out a lot of things, but looking back I think it was likely postpartum anxiety combined with grief. I honestly didn’t know where to go for help locally, though maybe it exists. A friend here who had a baby earlier in the year offered to take me to a facility where she went for a lot of postpartum follow up appointments which was so kind of her.

I was able to still take three months off of work, so I spent a lot of time resting, journaling, listening to podcasts, connecting with other grieving mommas, praying, and moving which thankfully helped. I had to train my brain to rewrite my dreams for the future. I’m still doing that.

RELATED: PPD and PPA stories from Real Moms

What do you wish more people realized about postpartum after loss?

Just because my child died does not mean my postpartum experience also died. I still need postpartum care in addition to grief care. My midwife did a great job at reminding my husband and I of this before we left (and when we went for our checkups). Francis was my greatest support in recovering and took care of me so well, asking for help when we needed it.

What are some of the things that people said/did that were hurtful? (Even if well-intentioned?)

There are so many.

“Don’t worry, I know God will give you another son.”

“Your pain will go away when your next child is born.”

“You just need to be strong.”

“I know exactly what you’re going through, my sister also lost her baby.”

Also, with some Christians (I identify as a Christian/follower of Jesus – I don’t love all of negative excess that comes with the word “Christian,” but that’s another topic) I was made to feel like my grief showed a lack of faith. People would tell me not to cry because Silas is in a better place. While I do believe that Silas is healed and whole and in the arms of our loving Savior and I take great joy in that, I still miss him. Grief and faith can live side-by-side. I could go on and on about this.

What are the things people said/did that were most helpful in a difficult time?

One of my closest friends would often tell me, “I don’t know what to say,” and that was SO refreshing to me.

With another friend, the first time I mentioned Silas to her after he died, said, “I never wanted to talk to you about him because I don’t want to make you sad.” I appreciate her honesty.

Here’s the thing: there is no helpful thing to say when someone dies, especially someone’s child. You can’t take away the pain, you can’t make them forget. You won’t make people sad by talking about the one they lost. Some people seem caught off guard when I talk about Silas or being pregnant with him in normal conversation. But I can’t act as if Silas never existed. Silas is real, he grew inside of me for 9 months, I held him in my arms and kissed his sweet newborn head, smelling his yummy newborn smell.

Silas is and forever will be my son. I love to talk about him. There is always the thought of him just beneath the surface, he’s on my mind basically all of the time. I’d rather someone talk about him and make me cry than never talk about him.

Also, if someone is going through a loss or hard time and you want to help, offer very tangible help. This goes for postpartum parents with living children, too! Instead of saying, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” say things like, “I would love to bring you dinner from (this restaurant) on (this day), what would you like?” or “Can I come over this weekend to help with laundry and vacuuming?And then follow through. The world seems so big after loss and I didn’t know how to ask for help most of the time. Offering specific things is so very helpful.

Anything else you would like to share about Postpartum After Loss?

If you’ve gone through loss or are figuring out life in a culture that’s not your own, I’d love to hear your story and connect! Feel free to message me on Instagram @erin.nyero 

Do you know someone who has suffered stillbirth, miscarriage, loss or another tragic birth event? Check out this Psychology Today article from Margaret M. Quinland, Ph.D., and Bethany Johnson MPhil, M.A. on Tips for Supporting Parents and Caregivers in Crisis.

This series, Postpartum Narratives, aims to bring awareness, normalization, and understanding to different postpartum experiences. No two postpartum experiences are the same, and as a society, we cannot have one view of what postpartum is or should be. By sharing stories, we diversify our own understanding and can then advocate for better support and resources for each person and space that affects a postpartum family- the home, the workplace, the medical field, social constructs, etc. if you have a postpartum narrative you would like considered for contribution, please contact me here.


RELATED: Infertility and Wishing for a Baby

Birth, Postpartum

Bleeding After Birth: Postpartum Lochia Impact on New Moms

What to Expect About Postpartum Lochia

You knew your baby would leave the hospital in diapers, but did you know that you would too? After the process of childbirth, you will experience lochia which is bleeding after birth. For all women, it is important to know what kind and amount of bleeding is normal, what products you need to be stocked up on, and how long this bleeding after birth will last after having your baby. Whether you had a vaginal birth or a c-section, you will experience bleeding after birth that should decrease and change color over time. This is a mix of blood and mucus and it starts after your delivery. When you were carrying your baby, the body requires extra blood and tissue. Now that you have delivered, the body gets rid of the extra. Your body is healing from where your placenta was attached and your uterus is shedding lining. You may also be recovering from a tear or episiotomy.

How Long Does Bleeding Last After Birth?

Women can expect to bleed for 4-6 weeks after birth, though the blood should change over time.

Related: Cramping After Birth

Products to help with Bleeding After Birth

Click here for easy access to products through Amazon:

If you give birth in the hospital, stock up on the supplies they offer. You will also want to have supplies at home ready to go to help ease the period of postpartum bleeding.

Adult depends: Yes, these are the adult diapers. You will likely only need them for a couple of days, but you will want to change them frequently.
Pads of various sizes/Pantyliners: Have different sizes on hand as your bleeding decreases over time
Peri bottle: While this is more geared towards pain, it can be a great way to clear some of the blood without a painful wipe
Witch Hazel Pads (tucks): Again, mostly for pain, but these are a good substitute for toilet paper those first few days as you’re facing pain. The witch hazel is soothing to the vagina.
Loose Underwear/Mesh Underwear: The last thing you want is for everything to be tight and suffocating. Mesh undies are a great way to stay comfortable and breathable. 
Padsicles: If this sounds like a combination of pad and popsicle, that’s because it is. These frozen pads with the soothing power of witch hazel and aloe vera might be your best friends. Learn how to make them at home in this blog post.

Click here for easy access to products through Amazon

Postpartum Bleeding Problems

It’s important to know the signs of when postpartum bleeding is not normal. Large blood clots, bleeding that does not decrease over time and foul-smelling bleeding are reasons to contact your doctor. In the first few days, blood clots may be as big as a golf ball, but that should not be the case after the first couple of days. Postpartum hemorrhaging happens in 1-5% of women after birth and early detection is vital.

Call your doctor if you have:

Red and heavy blood more than a week postpartum

Large clots (bigger than golf ball), or high number of clots

Discharge has a foul-smell

Fever or chills

Dizzy and/or nauseous

Racing heart

Note: Postpartum bleeding may increase when you are breastfeeding, engaged in an activity (walking steps, etc.), straining to use the restroom or when you first get out of bed.

Bleeding is a normal part of postpartum as the body transitions from pregnancy and birth. However, if you feel your bleeding is abnormal, contact your doctor.

Disclaimer: The information on Postpartum Together is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Postpartum Together Site. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.

Birth, Postpartum, pregnancy

DIY Padsicles: How to Make Frozen Pads for Postpartum Recovery

Make Your Own Frozen Pads for Postpartum Recovery Care

After giving birth, your body has a lot of healing to do. If you delivered vaginally, or delivered by cesarean but did some pushing and laboring, you may have swelling and tearing of your perineum. (The perineum is the area between the anus and the vulva.) Padsicles will be a key to alleviating pain and healing as a postpartum mom.

Postpartum bleeding is normal and most women experience vaginal pain after delivery. Think about it- you removed a human from your body- it’s going to take some time to let that heal! You may experience painful urination after delivery and general pain in that area. This is why padsicles can be such an important part of your postpartum recovery kit, and they are easy to DIY (and cheap!)

I’m going to tell you what you need to make DIY Padsicles, why you’ll love them and when to use them!

This post contains affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission for the products recommended.

padsicles ingredients.JPG

What You Need to Make Homemade Padsicles:

Homemade padsicles are an easy way to aid your healing after birth. You only need 4 things, although some women like to add a 5th ingredient. (Find all of these in my quick Amazon Postpartum List)

  1. Maxi pads

    You can choose what size (or sizes) you want to use. In the video, I am using a large hospital pad. However, this will work with any store-bought maxi pad. I recommend getting one that is long enough to fill your underwear and thick enough to hold the witch hazel and aloe vera.

  2. Witch Hazel
    Witch hazel is anti-inflammatory making it a safe soothing topical remedy. Witch hazel is often used to treat sunburn, razor burn, bug bites, hemorrhoids and more. It is traditionally known to have a soothing effect on the skin.

  3. Aloe Vera
    Aloe vera is known to reduce swelling and itchiness. It has a cooling and soothing effect, making it a great part of padsicles for vaginal relief. Aloe vera is also healing for wounds, which is good news for a new mom with a painful vagina.

  4. Freezer-safe bag and/or pad wrapper

    When using a standard store-bought pad, you want to leave the wrapper on while making the padsicle and wrap it back up for freezing. If you use one that does not have a wrapper, or choose to remove the wrapper, you can simple roll the pad and place in a freezer-safe bag. Once you’ve finished your batch of padsicles, it’s easiest to put into a large freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer until they are needed.

  5. Essential oils
    Some women like to add essential oil such as lavender to their padsicles. This may be an added benefit, however, the witch hazel and aloe vera will be enough for the healing mom.

My “recipe” is to squirt them until the pad is adequately wet and will freeze well. I do not measure. However, if you love to measure, here’s a suggestion:

Step by Step Making Padsicles

  1. Unwrap the pad, but leave the wrapper attached so that it can recover the pad after you complete the padsicle

  2. Start with witch hazel. Saturate the pad- 3 to 4 tablespoons worth.

  3. Add the aloe vera. Use 2-3 tablespoons worth.

  4. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil if you’d like.

  5. Use a spoon or stir stick to spread evenly over the pad.

  6. Fold the pad and cover with wrapper.

  7. Put in freezer safe bag and into the freezer until they are needed.

  8. Pull them out and enjoy the relief after baby.

When To Use Frozen Pads After Delivery

Vaginal pain will likely continue for 5-14 days. As time progresses, if you are getting rest and being easy on your body, the pain should decrease each day. Padsicles are great for the first few days after you get home. Personally, I have made 1 pack of maxi pad padsicles for my postpartum recovery and they were more than enough for my healing. I wore them throughout the day for 4-5 days after coming home from the hospital. While in the hospital, take advantage of the ice packs they have available as well as tucks pads and any other accessible recovery items.

Alternatives: How to Buy Them Instead

If you don’t want to make padsicles at home, and you want to have an equivalent, you’re in luck! There are a few products on the market that help with postpartum recovery.

Frida Mom Perineal Pad Cooling Liners

DIY Padsicle Kit

Dermoplast Pain & Itch Spray

Tucks Md Cooling Pads

Reusable Perineal Ice & Heat Packs

Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray

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