As one might expect, delivering a baby vaginally can be quite traumatic to the perineal area. The consequences of childbirth can be bruising, stretching, and perhaps even stitching. Many techniques, i.e. perineal massage, birth positioning, and controlled pushing, can be employed to help minimize the possibility of damage. There are many natural remedies that you can use following the birth to assist in healing and help relieve discomfort. Following is a list of herbs and essential oils that can be used topically to help speed recovery. These herbs can also be used to assist healing after a cesarean incision.
METHODS OF USE
First make a strong infusion:
Bring two cups of water to a boil then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (you never want to pour boiling water directly onto your herbs). Pour the water over two heaping teaspoons of the desired combination of herbs and cover tightly. A wide mouth jar or teapot is useful. Allow the mixture to steep for at least one half hour (overnight is best) then strain well. Keep any unused mixture in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Put the undiluted mixture into a clean glass spray bottle and keep next to the toilet. Spray as needed, especially after urination.
Soak the perineal area in a basin of water with the full two cups of tea added to an additional 6 to 10 cups of clean water. Use cold water if there is inflammation or swelling. Once that has subsided, experiment with warmer water until you are comfortable. Some women find that very warm water helps encourage blood flow to the area and provide relief, whereas others find the opposite is true for them.
Add the full two cups of tea to your bath water.
A favorite! This is a plastic squirt bottle (a water bottle with a pop-up top can do in a pinch) that can be used to irrigate the perineal area. This can greatly reduce stinging if used during urination. Dilute the tea by one half with clean water and fill the bottle.
Soak a washcloth in the cooled mixture and apply to the sore area. Disposable breast pads, soaked and then inserted on top of your sanitary pad, can provide continual contact. Try freezing either the washcloth or pads ahead of time for a cold compress
If you are using the recommended essential oils:
Sitz baths: add up to 5 drops
Spray bottle: add 10-15 drops
Peri-bottle: add 5 drops per 500 ml
Essential oils in your regular bath can be very relaxing, but for full therapeutic effect localized application via the above methods is recommended.
CAUTION: Many essential oils, if used undiluted, can cause serious damage to tissues. Be sure to use only those that have been recommended by a professional for undiluted use. Both lavender and tea tree oils are safe when used as directed in this article.
Herbs for The Perineum
|Comfrey||cell proliferant, vulnerary|
|Witch Hazel||anti-inflam, vulnerary, astringent|
|Tea Tree e.o.||anti-septic, anti-microbial|
|Lavender e.o.||anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic|
|Aloe vera||vulnerary, anti-bacterial, analgesic|