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May 21, 2023
The scenario: you in the throes of a vaginal labour - lots of pushing, lots of breathing, more pushing...
You've just given birth, vaginally, and everything down there feels tender, swollen and the postpartum bleeding is well and truly underway (a.k.a. 'lochia'). It's also possible that you've even experienced some vaginal tearing.
The solution: Something as simple as a warm or cold compress, used pre or postpartum can do wonders for soothing the vagina and perineal area (plus more - read on to find out how) when you need it most.
Here's how to use both most effectively, with some thoughtful advice from the experts.
"Some women like to use heat packs for pain relief in labour, particularly on their back," says says Sydney-based General Obstetrician and Gynaeocologist, Dr. Nicole Stamatopoulos. "The other use of warm compresses is on the perineum during the pushing stage of labour to assist with the stretching of the perineum, to help stop tearing," she adds. The warmth can help increase blood flow to the area, helping the blood vessels dilate, in turn improving tissue flexibility and stretch. It's no guarantee, but it's relatively easy to administer and so it's worth a go, amirite?
"We recommend cooling therapy to assist with pain relief and swelling of the perineum from giving birth," says Dr. Stamatopoulos.
Hospitals will often administer what's known as an 'ice-finger' for post-birth swelling and discomfort, but these can often feel too cold against the skin and the packs themselves often have sharp edges - the last thing you want on tender skin that has, let's be honest, endured enough.
We think we've come up with a better soution: the Moxie Postpartum pad - a super absorbent, super soft (thanks, organic cotton) and extra long pad with a hidden pocket at the back, designed to hold a cooling, soothing gel pack. Simply cool your gel pack in the fridge before use, insert it in the back of your pad, and wear as you need post-birth to help soothe the perineum and surrounding areas. Cools and absorbs in one - genius, right? (we think so).
"If you're breastfeeding, you may like to use a warm compress against the breast before a feed to promote relaxation and help the milk to flow," says Beth Ryan, Registered Midwife and founder of PowerBirth childbirth education. "While heat may not be the best idea if you feel over full or engorged, it can help promote the 'let down' reflex and get milk flowing," she further explains.
PSA: Your Moxie gel pack can be warmed to act as a warm compress, too. Just put it in the microwave instead of the fridge (always follow the directions for use on the back of the gel pack and never place it directly on the skin if using it outside of its Postpartum pad).
If your breasts or chest are feeling a little tender from feeding, a cold compress or cool gel pack may help to relieve discomfort.
Haemorrhoids are common during vaginal births but can also occur during pregnancy as the baby puts extra pressure on your rectum. They will usually go away on their own but may also require treatment by your physician. Either way, a cold compress can help with any pain and discomfort you may feel.
Moxie Postpartum pads and reusable gel packs have both been designed to be long enough to reach as far as the rectal area - for soothing comfort from front to back.
There's some conflicting advice on this one, but our expert advises to steer clear of using a cold or warm compress on the area where you have had a caesarean section (a.k.a. a c-section). "This is not something we do, as cold can affect the nerve endings and heat may make pain and inflammation worse," says Dr. Stamatopoulos.
Whether it's for a sore back during labour, a post-birth tear or tender breasts, a warm or cool compress can be a really simple and effective method to treat a heap of pre and postpartum feels.
Whatever you choose to use, be sure to always follow the directions for use on pack, and never place a warm or cold compress directly on the skin (wrap it in a towel or piece of cloth, first). And of course, check in with your Doctor or Medical Practitioner if you have any questions about how to use warm and cold therapy to best suit your needs.
IMPORTANT PSA: The information posted here and on @MoxieHQ Instagram, TikTok and Facebook channels is intended to inform only, and does not nor should it constitute or replace a personalised medical diagnosis or treatment plan from a medical professional. If you're ever concerned about anything relating to your own intimate health, please make an appointment to see your Doctor or health practitioner.
May 21, 2023
May 21, 2023