After the birth of my first daughter–17 hours of labor, and just 10 minutes of pushing–I tore considerably and was unimaginably uncomfortable for many weeks and months. I was diagnosed and misdiagnosed repeatedly–low estrogen, “all in my head,” lack of muscle tone–it took months of appointments to figure out I needed pelvic floor physical therapy to deal with the painful scar tissue I’d developed. It wasn’t until my daughter turned 18 months, that I really began to notice a difference in the discomfort.
Needless to say, I am not eager for a repeat experience with my upcoming birth. I have a lot going for me this time – more education around pushing and tearing, and it’s my second birth, hopefully in the water, with midwives who are committed to helping me have a slow, controlled birth (the nurses at the hospital told me to push as hard as I could, and AnaBella literally flew out!). While I know this doesn’t guarantee a totally intact perineum, I’m hopeful that it will dramatically lessen my recovery time.
Regardless of what happens, I would like to have a variety of herbal healing measures for the postpartum period. I’ve created a sitz bath blend based on recommendations by my midwives and some research I’ve done. I also got this fantastic Comfrey/St. John’s Wort salve for healing damaged skin from Mountain Rose Herbs–which is actually where I purchased all of the below herbs and dead sea salt!
Sitz Bath Herbal Recipe
Start with equal parts (I used 1/4 c each):
witch hazel root (anti-inflammatory, astringent)
plantain root (anti-inflammatory)
calendula blossoms (anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, and antiviral!)
lavender flowers (relaxing, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial)
marshmallow root (soothes, lubricates, and heals)
rosemary (improves circulation, anti-inflammatory)
dead sea salt (contains an abundance of healing minerals)
For a sitz bath: Mix all except salt well and put in a tightly sealed jar. A half hour before you’re ready to take your bath, add 2 T of the herbs to a quart of boiling water. Steep for 30 minutes, drain, and pour into your bath water. Add 1/2 c dead sea salt to the water. Soak for about 20 minutes per day.
For a peri bottle: (to be used after going to the bathroom, to rinse yourself) Prepare as above, omitting sea salt. Fill peri bottle when herbal mixture is cool. You will likely have some left over, so feel free to bottle it and put in fridge for the next day.
What was your birth experience like? Do you have any helpful tips to help recovery for moms who have experienced tearing?
Check out the rest of the series here!
Part 4: Creating a Nursing Basket
Megan McGrory Massaro is a mother, freelance writer, and author. She wrote The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year to empower women to make the best choices for their families.