Between the stitches, swelling, and general soreness, the aftermath of childbirth can be quite a shock. But don’t worry, we’ve got your perineum covered, quite literally. Say hello to the best postpartum (or perineal) ice packs. These handy little packs provide instant, soothing postpartum pain relief right where you need it most, and they’re perfect for including in your postpartum station in your bathroom at home. My personal favorite (see below) is disposable, leak-proof and doest’t require a trip to the freezer.
What Are Perineal Ice Packs?
Perineal ice packs are shaped specifically to fit in your mesh underwear after birth. The best postpartum ice packs IMO are a two-in-one solution that provides instant relief to perineal pain without the mess by incorporating a maxi pad into the design. Most disposable kinds are self-adhesive, meaning they’ll stay put in the affected area while you’re up and about tending to your little one with no freezer required – simply squeeze, shake, and ready to be used. Reusable options work like your typical instant options that need the freezer.
Are They Essential for Postpartum Recovery?
Cold therapy has been used for centuries to relieve pain and inflammation. When applied to the perineal area, it can reduce swelling, discomfort, and promote healing by constricting blood vessels. Cold therapy can also help with pain management and provide a temporary distraction from any discomfort you may be feeling. Heat therapy, on the other hand, may help relieve the discomfort of cramping as your uterus begins to return to its original size. And, they can be hugely beneficial whether you had a vaginal delivery or a c-section.
From the mamas I’ve spoken to, they absolutely recommend them after a vaginal delivery!
How to Use Perineal Ice Packs for Maximum Relief
Using a perineal ice pack is quick and easy! Start by squeezing the pack, activating the cooling ingredients inside. Then, give it a good shake until you feel the pack getting colder. Peel off the adhesive backing and place the pad on your underwear, with the cool side facing your skin. Make sure it’s in contact with your perineum for maximum relief. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for best results.
When Should You Start Using Them Postpartum?
In most cases, healthcare professionals recommend starting right after delivery. And, yes, that means as soon as you’re back from the labor room. You can then continue using them for up to two weeks postpartum.
How Often Can You Use Them?
Just like your newborn’s feeding schedule, regularity is key here as well. You should change your perineal packs every 2-3 hours or as needed. You’ll use them for 36 to 48 hours after delivery. Be sure to wash your hands before and after applying the pads.
Best Postpartum Ice Packs
When it comes to the best postpartum ice packs, there are a few standout options that can make a significant difference in your recovery journey.
Best Overall: FridaMom Instant Ice Maxi Pads
These are the ultimate 2-in-1 providing you the comfort and aid of a perennial ice pack with the convenience of a built in super absorbent maxi pad. Pair this with the brand’s mesh underwear and you have yourself the ultimate “down-under” setup.
Best Reusable: Lansinoh Hot and Cold Pads
Lansinoh pads are the thinnest option among. These reusable pads are also a great option to use over your c-section incision if you have a c-section.
Budget-Friendly: Medline Perineal Cold Pack with Absorbent Pad
I’d consider these the knock-off version of FridaMom. They have great reviews, and resemble the ones you’ll find at the hospital.
Additional Ice Pack Tips for Maximum Comfort
- Use witch hazel pads along with your perineal pack for added pain relief and soothing properties.
- Place the perineal ice pack in the fridge for a few minutes before use, if you prefer a cooler sensation.
- If you had a c-section, place an ice pack over your incision area to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- If you experience any pain or discomfort while using an ice pack, stop use immediately and consult with your doctor.
The Importance of Postpartum Care and Pain Relief
Postpartum care is not only important for physical healing but also for emotional well-being. It’s a time when your body needs extra care and attention, and ignoring postpartum discomfort can potentially lead to complications in the long run. So, listen to your intuition, don’t be afraid to ask questions and take care of yourself during this delicate time. Always, always say yes when someone offers help. And if friends and family ask you how they can help, here are some great ideas to send them.
Featured photo by Alex Green