For the last 6-7 years there are doulas in Turkey, supporting women at childbirth to help protect the sacred and private space much needed by the new and expectant moms. I was so lucky to have two doulas -who were also my friends- attending my birth. Doulas provide the mothers (and the fathers) with physical, emotional and informational support, not only during birthing, but through the whole process as before and after. For instance, dear Burcu came to visit me the day after the birth bringing a sitz bath that she prepared with herbs specially for me.
Not everyone would prefer to have a doula attending the birth, or they may not find a doula in the area, or your doula may not have knowledge of such herbal treatments. In this article, I will share some simple herbal recipes from Dr.Aviva Romm that you can prepare for yourself before the delivery.
Some of the muscle groups -especially arms, legs and back- that are used intensively during birthing may ache postpartum. Relaxing and soothing herbal baths, a massage that you can have after a few days of childbirth, and a good rest will work wonders for you!
Apart from these, your perineal area may be pretty sensitive after the delivery. Even if you’ve had no tearing or no episiotomy was performed during the labor the perineal tissues still had to stretch considerably to enlarge the opening for the baby to pass through. There can be small tears that do not require stitching but may cause a burning sensation during urination for a few days after the birth.
Herbal baths, compresses and washes can be quite soothing as well as cold compresses with ice. If you have a small tear in the perineal area that does not require stitching, applying a teaspoon of Vitamin E, 2 or 3 times a day will support the healing process.
There are a lot of herbs that soothe the sensitive perineal area, heal the tears and episiotomies, reduce inflammation, cure hemorrhoids, and prevent infections. These herbs also have a calming effect, and nurture both the body and the mind. You can obtain these herbs prior to birth and prepare the mixtures to be used postpartum as well. You can even start to use them within the first hour after the delivery, and continue to apply once or twice a day for the following 3 to 5 days. (If you have stitches, apply once a day.)
This is an uplifting, soothing, healing and antiseptic blend.
55 gr comfrey leaves
30 gr calendula flowers
30 gr lavender
30 gr sage leaf
200 gr sea salt
Mix together the comfrey, calendula, lavender and sage. Bring 4 litre of water to boil. Turn off the heat and place 30 gr (approximately 1 large handful) of the mixture into the pot. Steep, covered for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid with a strainer and discard the herb.
Add 2 litre of the liquid to the tub, along with the salt. Reserve the remaining liquid for another bath or for compresses.
For compress, simply soak a washcloth in the herbal tea and apply warm or cold to the perineum, as needed to reduce the tenderness and swelling.
Deep Healing Bath
This blend is strongly antiseptic and astringent and perfect for healing trauma to the perineum including tears and episiotomies.
30 gr dried comfrey leaf
30 gr yarrow blossoms
30 gr dried sage leaf
30 gr dried rosemary leaf
1 large fresh bulb of garlic
150 gr sea salt
In a medium bowl, mix together the comfrey, yarrow, sage and rosemary.
Peel all the garlic cloves and place them in a blender with 500 ml of water. Blend at high speed until you have a milky liquid and the garlic is completely pulverized. Strain through a strainer.
Bring 1.5 litre of water to a boil and then turn off the heat. Add 1 large handful of the herbal mixture to the pot and steep for 30 min. Strain the liquid and discard the herb material.
Pour 250 ml of the garlic “milk” and 1 litre of the herb tea into the bath along with the salt. Reserve the remaining liquids for a subsequent bath.
This blend is only for herbal bath, do not use it for compresses.
After Birth Massage Oil
Even if you had a baby or not, this is a great relief for aching muscles.
100 ml almond oil
15 ml arnica oil
8 ml essential oil of rosemary
8 ml essential oil of wintergreen
Mix well in a small squeeze bottle and store in a cool, dark place. Apply as needed, shaking well before each use.
For the Turkish translations of the herbs you can check this post.