Go With The Flow

Pregnancy Care: Tips for Prenatal and Postpartum Hygiene

Welcome to yet another blog on personal and feminine hygiene! Whether it's during pregnancy or after childbirth, every decision you make that affects your mind and body, no matter how small or straightforward, also affects the well-being of your child. With that in mind, one of the most important aspects of this journey is ensuring proper hygiene practices both before and after giving birth.Even the simple choice of maintaining pregnancy hygiene can play a huge role in your child's health and development and increase the chances of a safe and healthy delivery.Similarly, postpartum hygiene plays a huge role in helping you recover and heal from the journey that was childbirth while also reducing the risk of infections.Now, most women believe that staying away from dirty places and washing their hands every now and then is being hygienic. While it’s a good starting point, there is more to prenatal and postpartum hygiene than just basic cleanliness practices. Keep reading!

The importance of prenatal and postpartum hygiene

During pregnancy, your body goes through a plethora of changes, and these dynamic changes can negatively affect your immunity, leaving you more vulnerable to infections and diseases than ever before.Certain infections can reach your baby and affect them as well, causing the possibility of serious and long-term defects. Ill health during pregnancy may also result in an underweight baby, preterm delivery, or even miscarriage. The good news is that all this can be prevented from happening with simple, but a handful of basic hygiene practices.On the other hand, after giving birth, the body needs time to heal. Maintaining postpartum hygiene can help prevent complications such as infections and promote healing during this period. This will ensure a safe and healthy environment for both you and your baby.

Tips for prenatal hygiene

To maintain prenatal hygiene for the best prenatal care, there are a bunch of areas you should focus on.

Vaginal hygiene

The vagina serves as both the birth canal and a potential route for infections to pass to the baby, which makes it a crucial player in the health of both the baby and mother during pregnancy.When you are pregnant, you will experience a lot of hormonal changes. Additionally, there may be an increased amount of blood flowing to your intimate area, which can cause an increased amount of vaginal discharge. This discharge is harmless and, in fact, helps prevent any bacteria or microorganisms from traveling from the vagina to the womb.Typically, this discharge is odorless and turns yellow when it dries. But if you experience an unusual discharge or foul-smelling discharge, reach out to your doctor as quickly as possible as this could be a sign of an infection.If you clean your vagina regularly, you can minimize your risk of contracting vaginal infections.Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for maintaining vaginal hygiene during pregnancy:
  • Do use plain and unperfumed intimate washes for the vulva – the outer part of the vaginal region. Perfumed washes and soaps can wreak havoc with the delicate pH balance and the good bacteria that keep the vagina healthy, making you more vulnerable to infections.
  • Don’t use vaginal douches (where water or other fluid is used to rinse out the vagina), as this can flush out the good bacteria in the vagina too and actually increase the risk of an infection.
  • Don’t wash the inside of the vagina as the vagina is already a self-cleaning organ. Only the outer region – or the vulva – needs your help.
Vaginal hygiene during pregnancy can be hard with a huge baby bump blocking your view. However, it is crucial to prioritize vaginal hygiene for both you and your baby’s well-being.

Skin & Hair hygiene

During pregnancy, your unborn child will take a lot of nutrients that are typically reserved for your skin and hair. Furthermore, your body will produce a lot more sweat, oils, and grease than usual, significantly impacting the appearance and texture of your skin and hair.Some Do’s and Don’ts to take care of your skin during pregnancy:
  • Do wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with high SPF that protects against UVA and UVB rays, as your skin is more sensitive than before during pregnancy.
  • Read the ingredient list before using any product on your skin or hair, and avoid anything that contains oral tetracycline, salicylic acid, or isotretinoin that can cause birth defects to your developing baby.
  • Don't scrub your skin too hard to avoid inflammation and irritation.
  • Use a skin balm to keep your skin hydrated and avoid cracking, peeling, or bleeding.
  • Change your pillowcases and towels frequently to reduce acne as your body is going to produce more oil than usual.
  • Moisturize your skin around your hips, thighs, and abdomen regularly to minimize stretch marks.
  • Choose skin care items that are fragrance-free to avoid skin irritation.
Now something for hair hygiene:
  • Avoid going to the hairstylist to get perms, highlights, or dyes during pregnancy as many of the chemicals used to style your hair are not safe for your skin.
  • Do stick to your regular hair care routine involving shampoo and conditioner but also read the ingredient list carefully.
If you’re concerned regarding the ingredients of anything, reach out to your doctor for guidance.

Oral hygiene

Since the mouth is the portal to the rest of the body, taking care of your gums and teeth becomes even more necessary, given the numerous changes within your body during pregnancy.
  • Do see your dentist as early as possible in your pregnancy and get yourself checked and treated for cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems. Be sure to tell your dentist that you’re pregnant.
  • Don’t consume food that can increase your risk of developing cavities.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and use toothpaste that has fluoride in it.
  • Postpone major dental work, such as dental surgery, until after childbirth to avoid the use of anesthetics that can affect the developing fetus.
Whatever the case with oral hygiene, just let your dentist know that you’re pregnant and they will take care of the rest.

Breast care and hygiene

With all the changes taking place in your body due to pregnancy and hormonal changes, you may notice that your breasts get bigger to nurse your newborn. Some may even start to produce milk, or colostrum, weeks or months before the baby is due. Fortunately, there are some Do’s and Don’ts to take care of your breasts during pregnancy as well:
  • Stay well hydrated to give the skin on your breasts the moisture content needed to become or stay plump and elastic.
  • Get plenty of sleep to allow your skin to recover and rejuvenate, reducing your chances of developing stretch marks on your breasts.
  • Use nipple cream to treat cracked or sore nipples.
  • Don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals if you have colostrum (the thick first milk your breasts make while you are pregnant and just after birth) coming from your breast; only clean them through warm water.
Dealing with leaking breasts even before you have a baby in your arm to nurse can be frustrating, but with the right strategy to deal with it, you should be able to remain comfortable and cozy.That ends tips for prenatal hygiene, moving on to the next stage of life!

Tips for Postpartum care and hygiene

PREGNANCY CARE TIPS FOR PRENATAL AND POSTPARTUM HYGIENEMaintaining good hygiene during the postpartum period is extremely important for your health and for the fastest and safest recovery possible. But it can be difficult to maintain the correct hygiene when just thinking about toilet and incisions gives you chills.Moreover, in this stage, mothers tend to put themselves in the background; because after all, the baby is already in their hands and now only the baby’s care matters, right? No. We want you to realize something, if you’re not well, your baby is not going to be well. So, work towards restoring your body and mental state and have some else do heavy lifting until you recover. Sounds like a plan?

Episiotomy care and hygiene

An episiotomy is a surgical incision (cut) made in the perineum, which is the area between the vagina and anus, during childbirth to enlarge the vaginal opening and reduce the risk of tearing during delivery. Perineal care and hygiene are a crucial step in the healing of episiotomy.
  • Maintain good hand hygiene before washing the perineum and after using the bathroom.
  • Shower once a day and not more as excess moisture can hinder the process of healing.
  • Don't soak in a bathtub or go swimming until after your 6-week postpartum checkup.
  • Do use neutral soap (or just water) and a clean cotton towel that must be changed every time to clean the perineum. Dry the area by patting and not by dragging, starting at the front and ending at the anus.
  • Don’t use hot water to wash the area if your doctor has placed stitches as the hot water can dissolve the stitches too early.
Apart from maintaining hygiene, rest up to speed up healing.

Incisional care and hygiene

An incision is a cut made through the skin; in our case, an incision is made during C-section delivery. And just like episiotomy care, maintaining hygiene is a crucial step in C-section care.
  • Keep the incision site clean and dry. Gently wash the area with mild soap and water, and pat it dry with a clean towel.
  • Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby for the first few weeks.
  • Do wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid rubbing against the incision site.
  • Avoid baths until your doctor says it’s safe to do so.
  • Don’t use any creams, lotions, or oils on the incision site unless specifically instructed by your doctor.
And finally, don't ignore any signs of infection or complications such as redness, swelling, pus oozing, separation of stitches or reopening of healing perineum. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any concerning symptoms.

Breast hygiene

An important info: Breastfeeding takes less effort than bottle-feeding when it comes to hygiene as there is no need to wash bottles and sterilize items. Breastmilk also has infection-fighting properties which protects your baby from illness. But good breast and breastfeeding hygiene are still important for your health and comfort. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for you:
  • Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and water before touching your breasts or nipples.
  • Keep your breasts clean and dry. You can use warm water to clean your breasts and mild soap if necessary. After washing, dry your breasts and nipples with a clean towel or air dry.
  • Do not use soap or harsh chemicals on your nipples or breasts as it can dry out the skin and cause irritation.
  • Breastfeed your baby frequently. This will help prevent engorgement and mastitis.
  • Wear loose clothing in breathable fabric such as cotton and avoid wearing padded bras.
  • Do change your breast pad often or whenever they are wet.
  • Do use nipple cream if you are experiencing sore or cracked nipples.
  • Don’t ignore any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or pain in the breast area. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
You can also try rubbing a small amount of breastmilk onto your nipples and letting it dry in the air to reduce discomfort after breastfeeding.

Vaginal hygiene

After childbirth, it’s common to experience vaginal bleeding and discharge for several weeks after delivery. This is your body’s way of getting rid of all the extra tissue and blood it developed to nourish your baby during pregnancy. It’ll be bright or dark red in the beginning and gradually tapers to light bleeding and spotting, and eventually stops after about 6-weeks postpartum.Here are ways to maintain hygiene during this period and help your vagina heal from the trauma it suffered during childbirth:
  • Use maternity pads instead of tampons for the first few weeks after childbirth.
  • Do change your pads frequently, at least every four hours, to keep the area clean and dry.
  • Clean your vaginal area with warm water every time you use the bathroom. You can also use a perineal bottle filled with warm water to spray over your perineal area as you pee to ease discomfort and promote healing.
  • Don’t use douches or other cleansing products on your vaginal area unless specifically recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Don’t have sex until your healthcare provider gives you the go-ahead, usually around six weeks postpartum.
  • Don’t have sex until your healthcare provider gives you the go-ahead, usually around six weeks postpartum.
  • Don’t use any products that contain fragrances or other irritants on your vaginal area.
  • Don’t ignore any signs of infection, such as fever, foul-smelling discharge, or increasing pain or swelling in the area. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Well, we've covered a lot of ground in this blog about prenatal and postpartum hygiene, and we hope you've found it informative. While we know that keeping clean and taking care of yourself is important, we also know that being a new parent can be overwhelming. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just laugh at the chaos and find the humor in the messiness of it all.So, whether you're dealing with postpartum bleeding, sore nipples, or hair that seems to have a mind of its own, just remember that you're not alone. Every new parent is navigating this journey one day at a time, and it's okay to ask for help when you need it.And on those days when everything feels like it's falling apart, just remember the joy and love that your little one brings into your life. It's in those moments that we find the true heartwarming beauty of parenthood.


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