The Postpartum Underwear Guide Every New Mom Needs (2024)

The Postpartum Underwear Guide Every New Mom Needs (1)

On this blog I write a lot about the postpartum phase of motherhood for two main reasons. The first being that I think it is the single most area where new moms are underserved as far as content and support. And secondly because I personally found it to be the most difficult part of pregnancy.

After I had my first baby I felt very lost and was constantly wondering how other moms were copping with the challenges that come with new motherhood. So as unglamorous as it may be, here you’ll find all the nitty gritty details of how to navigate those first couple months after delivering your baby.

All About Post Delivery Underwear for Postpartum Mothers

One of the many new experiences that you’ll encounter after you’ve had your baby is the realization that regular underwear is just not going to cut it anymore. At least for a while, anyway!

You’re going to need panties that can keep large pads in place to absorb the bleeding, discharge, and possibly even incontinence that you’re going to deal with in the days, weeks, and possibly even months after you’ve given birth.

Luckily, there's no need to ruin your Victoria’s Secret lingerie or favorite Agent Provocateur thong. And chances are, you won’t feel like wearing them either. Products known collectively as postpartum underwear are here to save the day. They’re the perfect option for new moms as they're designed specifically for this purpose.

Need a little more info on what postpartum underwear is and what it does? Not sure if you need to pack a pair or two into your hospital bag? Or just confused about the many options available? Let’s have a look at some of the most frequently asked questions new mothers ask about postpartum underwear and everything that goes along with it.

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Why Do I Need To Wear Postpartum Underwear?

After you give birth, whether by c-section or vagin*lly, you’re going to experience postpartum bleeding to one degree or another. Postpartum bleeding and discharge is medically known as lochia, how long and how heavy this bleeding is varies. Generally, however, you should bank on between four and six weeks, although it is only very heavy for the first week, at most 10 days.

Lochia is musty-smelling and begins as a dark-red color, typically with large blood clots present. After a few days, you will see it starts thinning and turning light pink or brown before becoming creamy or yellow. Wearing the right underwear will give you the tools you need to handle this postpartum bleeding quickly and efficiently. Switching to period pads as it slows down will let you focus on caring for yourself and your new baby.

What Does Postpartum Underwear Do?

You will find that postpartum underwear will hold pads in place, keeping them where they need to be, and even helping to protect your c-section stitches, if that's the birthing route you’ve taken.

Certain postpartum panties will not only replace the need for a pad but also make you as comfortable as possible because they feature the wide, flexible openings your post-delivery body is going to need to function painlessly.

Many women experience significant swelling in the abdomen area after delivery and in this case you’ll need very soft and stretchy undergarments that don’t have tight elastic waistbands.

Why Won’t Regular Underwear Suit My Needs?

Regular underwear was just not created with the postpartum body in mind, and it’s thus not adequate to deal with your delicate areas post-delivery. Nor is it gentle enough in the kind of support it offers to your body as a whole.

You need postpartum underwear that is stretchy, soft, comfortable, and made from breathable fabric. These panties need to hold pads in place if you are wearing them, prevent unwanted leaks, and conform with the changes you’re physically going to be going through without digging into your skin.In short, you need your underwear to stay up without putting any added pressure on your body.

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Do I Need Disposable Underwear After Birth?

Disposable postpartum underwear is a great choice for immediately after you’ve delivered your baby. Some maternity hospitals may supply disposable underwear to get you through your couple days in the hospital.

I advise you buy your own packs of disposable postpartum underwear for a week after you get home since your bleeding will be particularly heavy during this time.

You can follow this up with washable underwear that you can team with a heavy-duty pad once your flow starts to lessen.

What Are Period Panties?

Period underwear is totally reusable, washable and a more eco-friendly approach to dealing with female menstrual bleeding. These kinds of panties are designed to be worn as a replacement for pads and panty-liners. This means you can also use them for extra protection against leaks. There is a mistaken idea that likens period panties to diapers. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Shop around and you will be able to find period underwear that feels just like regular underwear but that offers you a heads-up when it comes to potentially embarrassing leaks.

Being uncomfortable and worrying about spills is not just an unnecessary distraction but a factor that can seriously affect your levels of self-confidence. Wearing period underwear lets you do what needs to be done feeling just fine and you won’t be reduced to a panic should you feel a little rush. Whatever discharge occurs as you go about your day will be soaked up at once and whisked away from your sensitive parts.

Mesh Postpartum Underwear

Mesh postpartum underwear is very similar to what they give you in the hospital. They are seamless, very stretchy and soft on the skin. They can easily fit a maxi pad without feeling tight. Most of the ones available are washable so you can buy a pack and keep using them over and over again. These are also a much cheaper option if you’re not looking to spend a bundle on new underwear.

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Is There Such A Thing As C-Section Postpartum Underwear?

There sure is! C-section postpartum underwear is designed especially for women who have had a cesarean and they offer the specific support that these new mothers need. Compression is in place to reduce swelling around your cut and support weakened tissue. The way c-section postpartum underwear is structured decreases fluid build-up and helps bring your uterus down to its pre-baby size. You will also find that your cut’s bulge will be smoothed out and flattened.

C-section underwear has an ultra-comfortable fit and breathable material may help you to reduce itchiness as your incision heals while protecting the skin surrounding your c-section scar. You may also find c-section postpartum products that uses FDA-approved silicone to minimize scarring.

When shopping for c-section underwear, look for nonbinding, fluent designs for waists to spare you the aches and pains of elasticized waistbands and adjustable support features let you adjust the compression levels to suit your needs as you recover.

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How Important Is Postpartum Underwear Fabric?

When shopping for postpartum underwear the quality is important, and this all comes down to fabric. Your body is going to be ultra-sensitive just after you give birth and one of the most important considerations to take into account when shopping for underwear is the fabric. You need comfort, stretch, support, and absorbency and there are certain fabrics that are better than others in terms of these factors.

Postpartum underwear made from cotton fabrics is breathable, comfortable, and soft. Garments created with eco-friendly sustainable bamboo fabrics are also gaining in popularity, not just because they are good for the environment but because they're antibacterial too. This means that your panties will be actively at work protecting you from harmful microorganisms.

My advise is to avoid synthetic fabrics when you’re purchasing postpartum underwear because these fibers aren’t great when it comes to wicking or absorption. Polyester fabrics can make you hot and sweaty, and stick to you when it's hot. Postpartum hot flashes are a real thing and you need fabrics that keep you cool.

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Does Birth Control Help With Postpartum Bleeding?

Yes, in some cases, certain types of birth control can aid post-birth bleeding. Contraceptive implants are a small plastic rod inserted into the skin on the inside of your upper arm. It then slowly releases progesterone to stop your ovaries from releasing eggs monthly and this may disrupt your bleeding pattern or bring it to a complete halt. Be aware of the side effects of this contraceptive before you use it. The main issues are changes to your mood and skin and minor weight gain.

The pill is another option although it’s best avoided if you’re breastfeeding. This method has two hormones working to stop your ovaries from releasing eggs monthly and you may find your bleeding reduced if you start using it. Side effects include possible bloating, minor weight gain, and nausea but advantages like a lessening of acne and PMS may also occur. It’s not recommended for breastfeeding mothers because it can reduce breast milk supply.

My Top Tips for Dealing with vagin*l Itching, Irritation and Pain Post Delivery

After a vagin*l baby delivery, your vagin* will go through a series of stages during the recovery process. Along with investing in quality maternity underwear, here are some tips and products I found to be very helpful.

Postpartum Underwear with Ice Pack

With my first baby I didn’t have a ton of vagin*l pain, but with my second it was a whole different story. Not only did my stitches hurt but my entire vulva area was bruised up. The doctors will most likely prescribe you 600 - 800 ml of ibuprofen at the time of discharge from the hospital. Take these pain meds along with vagin*l ice packs. You can actually buy postpartum underwear with ice pack inserts.

You can also pair your cotton postpartum underwear with the Honey Pot Postpartum Mint Cooling Pads.

Relieving vagin*l Burning & Itching with Boric Acid Suppositories

Between the vagin*l delivery and all the bleeding, your vagin*’s natural flora (healthy bacteria) really takes a hit. When you’ve got an imbalance of bacteria and yeast in your vagin*, you’ll feel symptoms such as burning, stinging and itching in your vulva. These uncomfortable symptoms can last for months if left unaddressed.

It was seriously a godsent when I discovered Love Wellness The Killer Boric Acid Suppositories. After you’re past the 6 week postpartum milestone, you can insert these suppositories to help rebuild your vagin*’s healthy balance. These also work during non-postpartum months when you start feeling itchy and irritated in your vulva area.

Avoid Synthetic Sanitary Napkins for Postpartum Bleeding

I mentioned above that you should avoid synthetic fabrics in your postpartum underwear. Also when you’re shopping for pads for postpartum bleeding, make sure to avoid brands that use plastics and synthetic materials and chemicals. These types of cheap products can further irritate your delicate vagin*l tissue and cause more itching and burning. Always shop brands that use organic cotton and no chemicals or fragrances. Cora is one of my favorite organic cotton menstrual pads brands.

See More Content for New Mothers on the Blog:

  • What to Wear After Giving Birth in the Hospital

  • How to Lose the Baby Weight + Easy Healthy Meal Prep Recipes

  • Checklist and Shopping Guide for Second Baby

  • Review of Honest Company Diaper Subscription

  • List of 100 Baby Names for the Modern Mama

Our Favorite Postpartum Underwear Brands:

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Gennifer Rose

Modern Mama, Pregnancy


The Postpartum Underwear Guide Every New Mom Needs (2024)
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