How to choose the postpartum intimate cleanser: the midwife’s advice

Postpartum intimate cleanser: how to choose the right one? We asked Dr. Federica Brandazza, a midwife specialized in postpartum and pelvic floor rehabilitation.

Natural childbirth can bring with it a series of consequences for the female intimate parts that can affect recovery times and the emotionality of the new mother.

After giving birth, all women experience the so-called lochia , abundant blood loss that can last up to 40 days. Furthermore, some may have undergone an episiotomy or lacerations and therefore have internal or external stitches. Consequently, it is easy to imagine that the perineal area, after the birth of the baby, can be painful and subject to many discomforts.

For all these reasons, it is very important to take care of your intimate hygiene and choose the right product. In fact, an unsuitable detergent could favor the appearance of irritation and accentuate any discomfort in the private parts.

In addition, increasing the comfort and well-being of the perineal area helps the new mother to face this delicate period with greater serenity. In fact, let’s not forget that self-love is an excellent starting point for being able to take care of the new arrival and the evolving family.

Which postpartum intimate cleanser to choose

So how to choose the most suitable intimate cleanser for postpartum? We asked Dr. Federica Brandazza, a midwife specializing in the care and re-education of the pelvic floor . Here’s what she told us.

“The ideal postpartum intimate cleanser should have the following characteristics: have an acid or neutral pH , not be too “aggressive” (and therefore produce little foam ) and not contain surfactants, dyes or perfumes “

“Furthermore, in the case of lacerations or episiotomy , for the first few times it would be preferable to rinse the private parts only with fresh running water, which immediately gives a feeling of relief and decongestation.

Next, you can choose a product that has a soothing action and can help you find pain relief and speed up the healing process of the perineal area.”

Why is it important to choose the right postpartum intimate cleanser?

“A woman of childbearing age has an  intimate pH  below 7 and therefore acidic .

This condition is due to the protective function performed by sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) which naturally modify our vaginal pH with the aim of creating the most unfavorable environment possible for any invader, including bacteria and fungi.

After childbirth , hormones undergo a very important alteration. In fact, the biological purpose foreseen by “mother nature” changes: now we have to be concentrated on our baby and our hormonal structure is also transformed, especially with breastfeeding .

Here then is that estrogen and progesterone take a nice break, leaving room for the hormones needed to care for the newborn. However, these hormones cause an alteration of the vaginal environment : in a nutshell, they act on the bacterial flora making the  vagina  more exposed to irritation and infection.

Using a postpartum intimate soap with too high a pH or too aggressive an action could upset this balance, increasing the risk of discomfort and complications .

How to take care of intimate hygiene after childbirth?

“A few simple rules are enough for correct postpartum intimate hygiene:

  • give him a suitable postpartum pad . Cotton pads are ideal as they hardly create skin irritation. Instead, be wary of sanitary pads that give off floral scents: they are chemical substances that could create discomfort;
  • change the absorbent very frequently and every time you replace it, wash your genitals with  running water without soap ;
  • once a day , for example in the morning as soon as you wake up, wash your private parts using a suitable detergent ;
  • when you use the cleanser, do not overdo it . If you have labor tears, dilute it with a little water before applying it to your genitals.
  • when you unload , wash your genitals and anus well (with a movement from front to back) always using the intimate cleanser ;
  • to dry, use a soft towel (your own), patting your private parts and not rubbing them , to remove all residual moisture
  • in case of lacerations or episiotomy , ask your trusted obstetrician or gynecologist which  products  to use to accelerate wound healing .

ATTENTION: unless otherwise indicated by the gynecologist (for example in the presence of an infection) it is not necessary to do internal douching . The vaginal canal is “self-cleaning: this is why we women have constant vaginal discharge.”

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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