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Choosing the Best Postpartum Pads for After-Birth Bleeding

New mom after giving birth




Written by:

Barbara Mighdoll

You’ve just given birth – congratulations! Now comes the part that we don’t talk about enough: postpartum recovery. One of the first things you'll be dealing with is post-birth bleeding, especially if you’ve had an episiotomy or experienced significant tearing. Regular pads just won't cut it, trust me. You need the best maternity pads to ensure maximum comfort and minimum hassle during this time. Don't worry, though – we're here to guide you with a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for the best pads for your postpartum bleeding.

Best postpartum pads

Understanding Postpartum Bleeding

It's important that you first understand what exactly postpartum bleeding is. You thought your period was heavy? Well, brace yourself because postpartum bleeding, also known as lochia, can make your heaviest period seem weak in comparison. This bleeding occurs as a natural process where your body sheds the lining of your uterus that was once nourishing the placenta during pregnancy. It typically starts right after childbirth and can last for up to six weeks, varying in intensity and duration for each individual. Embracing this knowledge empowers new mothers to navigate this postpartum period with a deeper understanding of their bodies.

Why is it important to choose the right pads for postpartum bleeding?

Choosing the right pads for bleeding after childbirth isn't just about convenience, it's essential for your health and recovery. Using the wrong type of pad can lead to discomfort, irritation, and even infection. But the right pad? It can make you feel comfortable, secure, and let's not forget – dry! But, can you use normal menstrual pads after giving birth? It's a common question for new moms. However, it's important to note that normal pads may not provide the same level of absorbency and comfort as ones designated for extremely heavy bleeding. So, it's recommended to opt for the best protection to ensure you stay as comfortable as possible while your body heals. They're more absorbent, softer, and larger, offering you the protection you need during this time.

The Basics of Post-Birth Pads

Extra heavy or overnight pads provide extra absorbency to manage heavy bleeding that occurs post-birth. Additionally, they offer better coverage and comfort to accommodate the changes in the body during this time. The different sizes available ensure a good fit to meet individual needs. For protection as you sleep, opt for postpartum maxi pads that are made for nighttime usage. Understanding the significance helps new moms make informed choices for their post-birth recovery.

How to Select the Most Suitable Postpartum Pad for You?

Here are some factors to consider when choosing your post-birth maxi pad:

  • Comfort: Post-birth bleeding is not your usual period, and neither should be the pads. Opt for those with a softer material to minimize any potential irritation.
  • Absorbency is key. But remember, it's not about the size. Some slimmer products can hold more than the bulkier ones. So, make sure to read the labels.
  • Leakage. We all know that sudden dread when we feel a heavy flow and fear the pad isn't enough. That’s where the length comes into play. A longer pad or one with wings can give you that extra reassurance.
  • Environmental impact. If sustainability is something you value, there are many eco-friendly options available. From reusable cloth pads to organic cotton options, you can protect your body and the planet simultaneously.
Best postpartum pads

How Do I Choose the Right Size of Postpartum Pad?

When choosing a postpartum pad, consider the amount of bleeding you're experiencing. If you have heavy bleeding, opt for larger, with more absorbency. For lighter bleeding, smaller ones should suffice. It's always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.

Types of Pads for Postpartum Recovery

This of exploring different menstrual products can be a little overwhelming if you’re only used to shopping for tampons. With a wide array of options available, it can take some time to navigate and find what works best for you. However, embracing this diversity allows you to discover alternative products that may offer added comfort, convenience, and sustainability.

Disposable vs Reusable

Disposable pads are undeniably convenient. You simply use them and then toss them away – no fuss, no mess, and no laundry. However, the environmental impact of these pads might weigh on your mind. That's where reusable items come in – they offer you a greener alternative. Although they require a little more effort since they need to be cleaned, they are eco-friendly and can the duration of your bleeding. By choosing reusable, you not only make a positive impact on the environment but also have the freedom to tailor your menstrual care to your specific needs.

Organic vs Non-Organic

Organic vs. Non-Organic. Does it really matter? Well, organic products are typically made without any harsh chemicals, making them a great choice if you're concerned about what's touching your skin. Plus, they're often hypoallergenic – ideal if you're prone to irritation, including stitches. But, they can be a bit pricier than your standard pad. Non-organic, on the other hand, are usually more affordable, but the trade-off is they can contain some unwanted chemicals, including chlorine. The lesson here? Like in all things post-birth, it's about finding a balance that works for you and your body.

Best Pads for Postpartum Bleeding on the Market

Best postpartum pads

Best Overall Pads

Always Infinity Size 4

A brand that's almost synonymous with menstruation for many of us. The Infinity Size 4 pads, in particular, have been my go-to after both children. Lightweight, comfortable, and ultra-absorbent, these have great reviews by me, and many new moms according to Amazon.

Here's why:

  • Their FlexFoam material makes them incredibly comfortable, almost like you're wearing nothing at all.
  • They boast a whopping 10 hours of leak protection. Yes, 10! Which makes these perfect for overnight wear.
  • With wings that grip and a shape that molds to your body, they're designed to stay put, no matter how much you move around.

And let's not forget the all-important factor: affordability. New motherhood brings enough expenses without breaking the bank.

Best postpartum pads

Best Organic Pads

Rael Organic Overnight

Rael has been a game-changer. Its Organic Overnight Pads are not just gentle on the environment, but also on our bodies.

  • They are made from 100% certified organic cotton that's incredibly soft and hypoallergenic, an undeniable boon when you're dealing with postpartum sensitivities.
  • Their overnight length offers amazing coverage, so you can catch up on all those Z's without a worry in the world.
  • Absorbency? Check. Comfort? Check. Eco-friendly? Check. They're like the trifecta of postpartum padding.

These are free from harmful chemicals, dyes, fragrances, and synthetic materials. 

Best postpartum pads

Best Reusable Pads

Rael Reusable Pads

They're not just super-absorbent, but also amazingly comfortable and eco-friendly. Here's why these are a good option:

  • They're crafted with four layers of certified organic cotton, offering softness and breathability, ideal for those days when your body is healing.
  • Stains? Don't fret. These pads are designed with a leak locker top core and leak blocker side panels, ensuring you remain fresh and worry-free all day long.
  • So, if you're someone who enjoys a good night's sleep, you'll love how they stay firmly in place, preventing any midnight mishaps.
  • Rael pads come with their own washing bag. So, no more fishing them out of the washing machine, just throw the bag in and you're good to go.

Rael has gone the extra mile to ensure these are not just reusable but biodegradable too.

Related: 5 Unexpected Postpartum Experiences

Best postpartum pads

Best Cold Ice Pack Pads

Frida Mom 2-in-1 postpartum perennial ice maxi pads

These are a favorite of new moms during the initial period after delivery – Frida Mom 2-in-1 Postpartum Perennial Ice Maxi Pads. These are no ordinary pads – think of them as your personal ice packs delivering instant cooling relief, right where you need it the most. Here's why these pads are my go-to:

  • No assembly required. Just crack, shake and slip them on.
  • And what I love the most about them? Their broad coverage. They are specifically designed to cater to bleeding after childbirth, providing relief over the entire perennial area.
  • But these aren’t just about cooling. They are super absorbent too, ensuring you remain dry and comfortable.

These pads are the real MVPs of postpartum recovery. If you're dreading those first few post-birth days, these will feel like a mini spa treatment for your nether regions.

Best postpartum pads

Best Pads For Lighter Bleeding

Always Infinity without wings Size 2

As your body gradually heals and the bleeding subsides, you'll require something less absorbent than your initial stash. Enter – Always Infinity without wings Size 2. These pads are the unsung heroes for that phase of postpartum recovery when the bleeding becomes lighter. So, let's dive into why these are an absolute steal:

  • First things first, their absorbency is top-notch. They can handle heavy flows, yet are light enough for those ‘lighter' days.
  • And what's more? These ones are incredibly thin! You might even forget you're wearing one. Yet, they deliver the security you need.
  • But let's not forget the comfort. No wings, no problems; they stay in place, preventing potential leaks.

They're not too heavy, not too light, just the right balance for those transitioning days.

Best postpartum pads

Best Pads for Final Stages of Bleeding

Kotex Barely There Thong Liners

Marching towards the final stages of your post-baby journey, we encounter the ‘spotting' phase. It's here that you bid adieu to bulky pads and welcome something more discreet – Kotex Barely There Thong Liners.

  • For starters, these panty liners are as thin as your favorite summer linen!
  • And guess what? These liners are designed specifically for thongs, so you can finally reunite with your beloved pre-baby regular underwear.
  • Now, onto comfort. These liners feel like nothing is there, providing all-day comfort without compromising on protection.

These serve as the companion during the final stages of postpartum recuperation, and are great to have on hand when your period returns.

Alternatives to Postpartum Pads

Postpartum Diapers

Stepping into the brave new world of motherhood might have you trading your standard pads for something a little…well, different. These babies (pun intended) provide maximum coverage, comfort and are ideal for those very very early days when postpartum bleeding is at its peak. They're not just adult-sized versions of your newborn's diapers. They're specially designed for postpartum recovery, with a snug fit that keeps leaks minimal. While diapers offer excellent protection, they might not be everyone's cup of tea due to their bulk or if you are looking for a more discreet underwear.

Postpartum Underwear and Panties

Postpartum underwear look and feel just like your favorite pair, but with a major twist. They're engineered to catch leaks and keep you feeling fresh, no matter where your postpartum journey takes you. What's more, they're washable and reusable, making them an eco-friendly alternative. I’d caution though that there are none specifically designed for postpartum, so you’ll need to find some with overnight absorbency, and expect to change them throughout the day.

Postpartum Recovery Timeline

So, you've mastered the first few weeks of postpartum recovery; congratulations! But wait, we're not done quite yet. As we move forward on this journey, it's natural to start wondering, “How long do I need to wear these?”

How Long Should You Use Postpartum Pads?

Postpartum recovery isn't a one-size-fits-all process. It varies from woman to woman, but there are a few general timelines we can work with. Immediately after birth, you'll experience heavy bleeding, known as lochia. This is where those mighty postpartum pads and diapers we talked about earlier come in handy, offering unparalleled protection. This phase typically happens during the first week and lasts up to 10 days.

Next up, you'll transition into a phase of lighter bleeding or spotting. This could last up to six weeks postpartum and it's during this period that you might want to switch to a less bulky pad or even those sneaky period panties.

What About Postpartum Hemorrhage?

If you're a new mom or mom-to-be, you've probably heard the term ‘postpartum hemorrhage' tossed around. It sounds scary, doesn't it? This is a condition where excessive bleeding occurs following childbirth, usually within the first 24 hours. But, worry not! As intimidating as it sounds, it's quite rare and usually managed effectively with medical intervention.

In such instances, you'll need to continue with your maternity pads a bit longer. You might even need to switch back to those high-absorbency ones we talked about. It's essential to listen to your body during this time. Should you notice an increase in bleeding or clots, it's always a good idea to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Postpartum recovery isn't a race, ladies! Your body has done something amazing, and it deserves the time it needs to recover. So whether it's two weeks or six weeks, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and secure in the postpartum products you choose.

What are the Risks of Not Using the Right Maternity Pads?

Skipping over to the risks, not choosing the right postpartum pad can lead to some problems. For starters, inadequate absorbency can result in leaks and discomfort, which is the last thing you need when you’re caring for your newborn. In addition, using pads that are not designed for heavy postpartum flow can lead to skin irritation or even infections. And there's the risk of embarrassment and inconvenience of having to change your clothes due to a leak. So, it's crucial to find a pad that's specifically designed for postpartum use to ensure your comfort and health during this important recovery period. Plus, the pad’s super-absorbent top layer pulls moisture away from your skin to keep you feeling dry.

Best postpartum pads

Additional Questions

What's Better After Giving Birth: Pads or Diapers?

The choice between postpartum pads and adult diapers is a personal one, and it depends largely on your comfort and personal preference. Some women find that diapers provide better overall coverage and security in the initial days after birth when bleeding is typically the heaviest. Others prefer the feel of pads since they are similar to what they've been using during periods. The best advice is to have both on hand and decide what suits you best after delivery.

Do You Still Need Postpartum Pads if You Had a C-Section?

Yes, postpartum pads are still necessary even if you had a C-section. Lochia, is a natural process where your body sheds the uterine lining and excess blood after giving birth. This occurs irrespective of the delivery method, be it vaginal birth or C-section. Therefore, it is advisable to have an ample supply readily available to ensure comfort and hygiene during the after childbirth period.

Can I Use a Menstrual Cup for Postpartum Bleeding?

It is not recommended to use a menstrual cup for postpartum bleeding due to the risk of introducing bacteria into the vagina. During this time, when your body is particularly vulnerable to infection, it is advisable to avoid using tampons, cups, or any other internal products. Instead, it is better to opt for pads or consider using postpartum underwear until your doctor gives you the go-ahead to use such products internally. This will ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.

Photo by Gabriel Tovar on Unsplash


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