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Published in: JOURNAL, postpartum

Postpartum Underwear: What They Are And How To Use Them

How do I take care of myself as I heal from birth? Will I bleed? How long will it take to recover? What should I buy?

These are just a handful of the questions that might come up as you prepare to give birth, whether it's your first time or your third.

Each pregnancy and recovery are unique, so these questions can be tricky to answer with certainty. Add on the fact that society teaches us to avoid discussing the messy, awkward, and more unpleasant aspects of childbirth and postpartum recovery and it’s no wonder that so many moms and moms-to-be find themselves in the dark when it comes to postpartum recovery prep.

At Nyssa, our mission is to directly address the ‘unmentionables’ of womanhood: those topics that people still feel embarrassed or awkward to talk about. And, trust us, there are plenty of those when it comes to discussing recovery from childbirth. We’re here to help answer some of your most pressing postpartum questions.

As you’ve worked on your birth plan and searched the internet for postpartum essentials, you may have seen ads for postpartum underwear popping up in your feed.

You likely wondered, ‘What is postpartum underwear, anyway?” and ‘Do I really need it?'

You can and should wear whatever underwear feels best to you. However, we designed our first-ever product– FourthWear Postpartum Recovery Underwear– to offer birthing people a therapeutic and comfortable option that will see you through the Fourth Trimester and beyond.

Below, we’ll provide an overview of the main types of postpartum underwear available and why we think you’ll find Nyssa’s FourthWear to be a game-changer as you move into motherhood.


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TYPES OF POSTPARTUM UNDERWEAR


The ‘Mesh’

The one-size-fits-all mesh surgical underwear provided for free at most hospitals and birthing centers has long been a secret solidarity symbol for folks who have given birth

While it’s handy to have on hand in a pinch –disposability is particularly useful in a hospital setting– the flimsy material simply does not work with the ice/heat packs and oversized postpartum pads that most people require after giving birth.

In fact, the lack of functionality and inadequacy of mesh undies is exactly why Nyssa’s founders created FourthWear. After all, there’s nothing worse than waddling around with a newborn while your underwear sags under the weight of a frozen padsicle!


Pros
  • Major stretch (one-size-fits-all).

  • Free (if the hospital provides them for you) or cheap if buying yourself.

Cons
  • Doesn’t hold pads and ice or heat packs in place.

  • Makes it difficult to move or walk around if you’re using ice or heat therapy.

  • One-size-fits-all design is often too big or too small for some bodies.

  • Disposable underwear can be convenient, but isn’t environmentally friendly.

  • Mesh often has large seams that can make it uncomfortable to wear under clothes or while sleeping.


C-Section Underwear

Caesarean delivery, commonly called a ‘c-section’ accounts for around 30% of births in the US (NCHS, Fast Stats). While some of these c-sections are planned in advance, others are performed as an emergency intervention to ensure the safety of the birthing parent and baby.

Depending on the situation and reason for taking this course of action, a caesarean delivery might happen through a transverse incision (a horizontal incision above the pubic bone/bikini line, usually performed when a baby is close to full-term which can vary in length) or a vertical incision (often performed in situations where medical professionals must act quickly (Mayo Clinic).

C-section delivery is a major abdominal surgery, and requires specialized care beyond the body's recovery from pregnancy.

Typically, c-section underwear features a high waist to keep pesky waistbands from irritating the site of incision, and often include a silicone gel sheeting panel to help reduce the appearance of a scar.

While minimizing the appearance of a scar on your bikini-line or mid-section is a nice idea, silicone paneling may actually cause more irritation than comfort, depending on the design of the underwear and the nature of your incision. This is especially true if a longer or vertical incision was performed.

C-section underwear is also often designed for compression, which for some can be uncomfortable on a sensitive recovering body. While medical compression can reduce pressure or help relieve pain, too much pressure can be dangerous and potentially cause pain, rash, or pelvic floor prolapse.


Pros
  • High waist.

  • Silicone lining (not a universal pro).

  • Reusable.


Cons
  • Potential irritation to incision.

  • Often uncomfortable and too tight.

  • Improper compression may cause health problems.


Reusable Absorbent Underwear

Absorbent period underwear has recently been re-imagined and repurposed for postpartum use.

Generally, this type of underwear is very similar to regular underwear, but features additional layers of fabric to hold blood or other fluids...because another thing they don’t always tell you about postpartum recovery is just how much you bleed.

This postpartum bleeding, or lochia, is the shedding of excess tissue and mucus from the uterus after giving birth and can frankly be a bit alarming even if you’re prepared for it!

In that sense, absorbent underwear makes sense and is a huge improvement over wearing an adult diaper (one of many postpartum hacks some moms resort to, given the birth of options out there).

While extra-thick absorbent underwear can take on heavier bleeding, most are unlikely to adequately handle the thick clots that are a common aspect of lochia.

We’ll give it to you straight: you’re going to bleed. Like, a lot. And while absorbent underwear may be a good way to mitigate some postpartum inconvenience, what are they actually doing to help you heal?

Pros
  • Reusable.

  • Absorbs bleeding.

Cons
  • May not adequately handle all aspects of lochia, still requiring use of a pad and/or frequent changing.

  • Doesn’t offer other benefits related to healing and recovery.

Why We Invented (and Love!) FourthWear Postpartum Recovery Underwear

If you’re currently pregnant, you’ve probably had to make some big wardrobe adjustments to accommodate your changing body.

While maternity clothing is designed specifically for fit and comfort, often featuring free flowing cuts and waistbands that wrap ‘below the bump’ or ‘above the bump,’ we believe postpartum underwear should be elevated for function and should actively help your body recover from the major event of childbirth.

Feeling let down by the lack of effective products and honest conversations to guide us through our own postpartum recoveries and finding the mesh hospital underwear more frustrating and disappointing than helpful, we spent a full year designing our double-patented FourthWear Postpartum Recovery Underwear.

FourthWear is our buttery-soft, belly-hugging underwear with a patented pocket design to securely hold ice or heat therapy between the legs and over the lower abdomen where postpartum recovering bodies need it most. It can be used during pregnancy, immediately post-birth and beyond.

Ice and heat therapy are incredibly beneficial for postpartum healing. Cold therapy, also called cryotherapy, reduces inflammation and swelling, while heat has several potential pain-reducing properties such as opening up the blood vessels which increases circulation and helps relax your muscles, making it effective for dealing with postpartum cramps.

Our reusable ice/heat packs are a perfect companion for FourthWear, which allows you to position the packs anywhere within the underwear: between the legs, over the uterus and belly, or over your back.

FourthWear’s high waist provides comfort and coverage, especially if recovering from a c-section and it can also be rolled down over the hips to maintain fit. On top of all of that, these underwear are incredibly stretchy, designed to move with and gently accommodate your healing body–not confine it!

Pros
  • Securely holds an ice or heat pack virtually anywhere in the garment through our patented pocket design.

  • Recommended for use with Nyssa’s uniquely contoured Between Legs and Uterine Reusable Ice/Heat Packs.

  • Made with 4-way stretch, eco-friendly fabric that comfortably conforms to changing postpartum figures.

  • Has a seamless ultra-high waist that can be worn over or under a pregnant or postpartum belly.

  • Widened gusset and full seat to hold postpartum pads in place and never ride up.

  • Designed with an Advisory Board of medical professionals, including OB-GYNs, Pelvic Floor Therapists and Cryotherapists.

Cons

Let us know! We can always be reached at hello@nyssacare.com and would love to hear your feedback.

 


Get everything you need for postpartum recovery in one convenient set 

5-Piece Deluxe Postpartum Recovery Set ⟶


Nyssa Deluxe Postpartum Set featuring all ice heat packs, FourthWear Postpartum Recovery Underwear and Postpartum Recovery Bralette
 

Prep for the Fourth Trimester like a pro with Nyssa’s complete postpartum recovery collection, featuring our five bestselling Wear and Care essentials for moving into motherhood with ease 

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