Chronic pain from childbirth is a common problem. For some women, it can last days, but for others, it can be weeks (source: ACOG). It usually starts in the days after delivery, which is an important recovery period.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help relieve afterbirth pain and discomfort during your postpartum period.
The key is finding the best heating pads for postpartum pain and cramps – ones that provide relief without being too hot or uncomfortable on sensitive skin.
Why Use a Heat Pad After Giving Birth?
The uterus is the strongest muscle in your body by weight, and it changes dramatically during pregnancy to accommodate growing a baby.
After you give birth, this organ has been enlarged significantly, which puts extreme pressure on other muscles as well. If those muscles are not given time to heal from giving birth, they can remain sore long after the postpartum period is over.
This can lead to chronic pain that is sometimes referred to as “postpartum pelvic girdle pain”, and it can last for months or years (source: NCBI). It may also feel like generalized abdominal pain, too.
Many women turn to ice packs, warm compresses, a hot water bottle or other methods to deal with uterine cramping and pain after giving birth. Heat pads are another great option, and the one I’m going to talk about here.
What Are Some Options for Using a Heat Pad After Birth?
There are several products available on the market designed specifically with postpartum relief in mind- and many of them can be used while you rest or take care of your newborn.
The best heating pads for postpartum pain and cramps will warm up quickly, give off a soothing heat that is not too hot to handle comfortably, and last long enough to get you comfortable before needing to be recharged.
Best Heating Pads for Postpartum Pain and Cramps
The Mighty Bliss Heat Pad is a great example of an effective heating pad for postpartum pain relief. This comes in the form of a single-use patch, which you can apply directly to your skin. It contains flexible fabric that stays securely in place while it warms up, and the heat lasts for up to eight hours.
The PureRelief Heating Pad is also designed with an innovative shape that fits around your lower back- which means you can get relief even if you are sitting or walking around.
Another great option is the Dr Relief Set , which provides pain relief in different areas of your body- including your shoulders, lower back, hips and abdomen, so it’s useful even after you’ve recovered, should you ever need a heat pad again.
It is adjustable to fit comfortably around almost any size of waistline or torso area , making it suitable for nearly all women in the postpartum period.
Finally, there are also perineal hot and cold packs. These are small devices that contain gel packets filled with either hot or cool liquid. They come in various sizes so that you can choose one that works best for your needs, depending on how severe your perineal pain is.
You simply insert these into your underwear and leave them in place until they need to be changed out. Perineal hot and cold therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation, much in the same way padsicles do. For more on padsicles, check our article on how to make your own.
How Can I Choose the Best Heating Pad for My Needs?
There are several factors that can affect how well a heating pad works for you, including your skin type and sensitivity.
If you have very sensitive skin or are prone to allergic reactions, the PureRelief Heating Pad by ThermaCare is a great option because it has been dermatologist tested.
You should also consider how long each heating pad lasts after being recharged, as well as whether there is a warranty attached.
If you are a first-time mother or have concerns about your safety, it is usually best to go with a well-reviewed brand (like one of the ones above) that has been on the market for years and proven effective by many other women – and those with similar pain.
Can I Sit On the Heat Pad for Postpartum Pain?
The short answer is yes- but it’s not recommended for everyone. If you are one of the many women who experience postpartum pain in your lower back, sitting on a heating pad may help to relieve that discomfort.
If you want relief “down there”, then the perineal packs are the ones to go for as these sit inside your pants.
However, if you have an abdominal hernia or other medical condition, this may worsen the problem and make your pain worse. If you are unsure, it is best to consult with your doctor or health care provider before sitting on the heat pad for postpartum pain relief- especially if you have never used one before.
Can I Use the Heat Pad on My Stomach Area?
It is absolutely safe to use the heating pad on your stomach area, but it may not be as comfortable or effective as using another type of heat source. Heat pads are designed specifically for long-lasting comfort and pain relief in areas that have a greater concentration of muscles, such as your lower back, shoulders, hips and abdomen.
For this reason, they are often more effective if you use them in combination with other postpartum pain relief products.
What Are Some Other Benefits of Using a Heat Pad?
In addition to reducing pain after giving birth, there are other benefits you may experience when using a heat pad regularly. Heat can help increase circulation to your muscles, which promotes faster healing and less soreness.
It also increases the rate at which lactic acid is removed from tissues that are injured or damaged, so it helps prevent cramps and spasms as well.
What Are Some Tips for Using Heating Pads Postpartum?
The best heating pads for postpartum pain and cramps are designed to be used at least twice a day- both morning and evening. It is important not to use these products too often, as this can dry out your skin over time.
How long each pad lasts before needing recharging depends on how hot it gets, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended use.
Choosing a heating pad designed specifically for postpartum pain relief can make all the difference in your recovery after giving birth- and many of these products can also help relieve menstrual cramps or other aches and pains that are not related to pregnancy.
Keep this in mind as you look for the best heating pad that works for your unique needs.
If you have unusual symptoms like vaginal bleeding or are in severe pain, always speak to your doctor about other pain medications or further options to help your postpartum recovery.