If you have a C-section, you'll most certainly come away from hospital with a scar. And if you had a vaginal birth, there's a fair chance you've had some stitches or a tear.
Having any of these in a 'delicate' place can be tricky – and it's normal to feel a bit nervous about how to look after them once you're home.
With this in mind, we asked our MFM mums on Facebook and our Chat forum to share their tips for keeping post-birth scars and stitches clean, and generally tending them so they heal as quickly and easily as possible.
Here's what they said.
1. Wear big pants
There's no doubt that, after a C-section, you'll probably want to be careful about what underwear you choose. Straight after major surgery isn't the time for Spanx or for teeny-weeny 'cheesegrater' briefs. You need something big and comfy that gives you the feeling that everything's held nicely in place.
"Definitely big pants that sit above the wound so high waisted pants," says Emma-Kate L. Natalie P agrees that "huge pants that sit above the wound" are probably your number 1 staple after a C-section.
2. Take salt baths
Sounds like they might sting, we know, but Jo Ann reckons they worked for her. "My advice is salt baths, yes it stings, but helps prevent infection," she says. And Mummy Tortoise, who had a C-section, says salty water is a good wound-cleaning choice: "I would recommend cleaning with boiled salty water and cotton wool while healing."
3. Use tea tree oil
If the thought of salt in your bath is a bit too much, tea tree oil is another option. Vicky L says: "When I got home the midwife advised short tea tree baths. I didn't get an infection."
4. Try arnica tablets
Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that's thought to help heal bruising and trauma. Emma-Kate L reckons it definitely worked for her. Worth a shot?
5. Let the air get to your C-section scar
Sarah A recommends "lots of air" – and plenty of you agree. "Plenty of air should help with the itching," says Natalie P. And Kerry W says: "I made sure I got air to it a couple of times a day."
6. Use a hair dryer
Georgina S tells us: "The top tip I was given was to blow dry my wound after showers with a hair dryer on the cool setting. It worked brilliantly!" This can also work brilliantly if you've had a lot of stitches or they feel very sensitive – much better than dabbing at them with a bath towel.
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7. Use warm water when you pee
If you had a tear or stitches, one of the main sore points is when it comes to going to the loo. As your urine is acidic, it can really sting. Yikes!
"I used to tip warm water when I went for a wee – that took the sting away a bit," says kyriex2. "And for poo – I don't know if everyone does this – but I'd wee first, so after I tipped water, I'd use a clean flannel or pad and hold it there to make things feel a bit more secure."
You might also want to invest in a peri bottle which has a small spout that lets out warm water while you pee (stars like Chrissy Teigen swear by them).
8. Drink a probiotic yoghurt drink
Drinking a probiotic yoghurt drink can help strengthen your body's natural defences and some of our mums swear it a good daily yogurty swig help their post-birth body heal. Rachel B says, "Drinking Actimel – I'd never have thought in a million years that would do anything until the doctor told me to try it, and within a week my scar was fully healed."
9. Get some bed aids
One of the tricky things to deal with when you've had a C-section is getting up out of bed without straining your scar. But a couple of our mums have come up with some ingenious solutions.
Emma-Kate L suggests, "Tie something around the headboard on your bed to pull up on and help you get out of bed."
And Smiley Face told us, "My mum put a plastic sheet under my bottom which made it easier to slide into bed. That was awesome after struggling to get in and out of bed. It was such a relief!"
10. Put a pad on the wound
Kelly S found that, as her wound got a bit messy, using a sanitary pad as a dressing helped her.
She says: "A... sanitary towel over wound as I still had a massive belly. This stopped any sweating or yucky stuff. I also showered twice a day."
11. Use E45 cream
"I was told to use E45 or Sudocrem on my scar to help the skin heal," Mummy Tortoise told us. Another simple tip you might just want to try, especially if you already have a tub of the stuff at home (lots of us do).
12. Ditch the toilet paper
Another tip if you get a tear is to dab very gently with cotton wool after you wee (forget wiping with loo roll like you normally do).
"I had a small but very painful tear near the front," says Tara B. "Once I ditched the toilet roll in favour of some super soft cotton balls and patted gently after I peed, going to the loo became a lot less daunting."
Got any tips?
If you have a tip you'd like to share for dealing with scars or tears after birth, tell us over on Facebook or in the comments below.
Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015
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