Having kids is a blessing, but the toll it takes on our bodies can feel like a curse. Your belly — and ankles, and more! — stretches and swells to house that bundle of joy and then contracts to push her out. No wonder we end up with stretch marks, hemorrhoids, and very sensitive, um, parts. Here’s how it happens: Your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins. The result? Swollen veins in the anus and rectum are otherwise known as itchy, painful hemorrhoids. Common in the third trimester when the extra enlarged uterus is exerting the most pressure on the veins, hemorrhoids are the last thing you want to be dealing with as you prepare for baby.
And when delivery day comes? Your hemorrhoids may go away, but now you’ve likely got a new problem: Painful lady parts from birthing that new family member. So what’s a new mom to do? Let us introduce you to your new best friend: cooling pads. The main ingredient in most cooling pads is witch hazel, a plant that contains chemicals called tannins. When applied directly to the skin, these tannins help reduce inflammation and swelling, repair broken skin, soothe irritation (pain and itching), and fight bacteria. What does this mean for you? Relief from hemorrhoids, postpartum tearing and more.
When shopping for cooling pads look for ones that are the right size for your needs and that are pH-balanced, hypoallergenic, fragrance- and dye-free to protect your delicate skin. Here are three cooling pads options we recommend for pregnant and postpartum moms.
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1. Tucks Md Cool Hemorrhoid Pad
Tucks pads with witch hazel provide immediate relief from burning, itching and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids and other rectal and vaginal conditions. The ultra-soft pads are also effective for gentle cleansing and personal hygiene and can be used as a moist compress to help alleviate discomfort or inflamed tissue following childbirth, rectal or vaginal surgery. Tucks pads are pH-balanced, hypo-allergenic, and dye-free.
2. Frida Mom Full-Length Cooling Pad Liners
These witch hazel pad liners from Frida Mom cover the full length of most maternity pads to deliver cooling relief in one single sheet — no more layering smaller pads to soothe the entire perineal area! Made with medicated witch hazel, the liners can also be tucked in the refrigerator for extra cooling. Moms-to-be can pack them in their hospital bags to use after the first postpartum toilet trips, as well as stock them in their home medicine cabinet. With no harsh chemicals, dyes or fragrances, Frida Mom pads help reduce swelling and speed up healing so you can focus on your new baby and not your down-there discomfort.
3. Birchwood Laboratories A-E-R Pre-Moistened Witch Hazel Pads
Birchwood Labs AER Witch Hazel Pads are saturated with 50% witch hazel to shrink swollen or inflamed tissues and relieve irritation, and 12.5% non-greasy glycerin that acts as a protectant. Together they provide a cool, soothing compress. Plus, these pads also can be used in daily vaginal care to cleanse and freshen and as a final step in infant cleansing while changing diapers. Measuring 3.25 inches in diameter, these medicated pads are pH-balanced, dye-free, and both flushable and biodegradable.