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Healing the Perineum after Birth

by Dr. Sarah Winward, ND IBCLC

Vaginal birth takes a toll on the perineum. Even if you don’t experience tears, you will still have lots of healing to do. These recipes contain soothing herbs that will help speed tissue recovery. I recommend you make them up before your birth so they are on hand and ready to go when you need them. All of the recipes use an herbal infusion, which you’ll find at the bottom of the page. The herbs in this infusion are antimicrobial, vulnerary (help heal wounds) and very soothing.


Padsicles are live-savers after birth, they combine cold which helps bring down swelling with the healing and antimicrobial properties of the herbs plus the astringent wound healing benefits of witch hazel. These can be used within a couple of hours of birth or as soon as you’re home. I generally recommend using them only for the first 24-48 hours postpartum – cold will help reduce swelling after an acute injury. After this, most people find switching to warmth, like a sitz bath, more comfortable. 

What you will need:

  • 1 package of Maxipads
  • Herbal Infusion (see the end of the article for how to make this)
  • Alcohol free Witch Hazel
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Small spray bottle
  • Ziplock bag

Make sure both your hands and the surface you’re working on are clean to start. Fill the spray bottle ½ full of herbal infusion and ½ full of the witch hazel. Shake the bottle to mix the two together.Open the maxipads but don’t detach them from the outer packaging-they’re easier to store this way. Spray the maxipads with the herb-witch hazel mixture until they are thoroughly covered, damp but not soaked. Next cover the pad with a thin layer of the aloe gel. You can either rewrap the pad in its original packaging or wrap them in tinfoil. Once you’ve done all the pads in the package, place them all in a large ziplock bag and store in the freezer until you need them.


Having a bottle of periwash in the bathroom is a really good idea, it can be used to clean the perineum after any time you use the toilet and facilitates healing.

  • 1 Spray bottle (can be the same one that you used to make the padsicles)
  • Alcohol free Witch Hazel
  • Herbal Infusion (see the end of the article for how to make this)

 Fill the bottle up 2/3 with the Herbal infusion and 1/3 with the witch hazel. Shake to mix then store in the washroom.

Sitz Bath

Sitz baths are an old form of hydrotherapy that can be extremely soothing. You can buy a sitz bath at most Shopper’s Drugmarts or you can simply fill your bath tub with a couple of inches of warm water and double the ingredients. Either way, you’ll want to soak in the bath for about 20 minutes.

  • 1 cup herbal infusion (see the end of the article for how to make this)
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup Alcohol free Witch Hazel
  • 1 tbsp Baking Soda

Fill the sitz bath with warm water, combine all ingredients, stir. Soak for at least 20 minute

Herbal Infusion

  • 1 oz dried Comfrey leaves*
  • 1 oz dried Calendula flowers
  • 1 oz dried Yarrow flowers
  • 1 oz dried Lavendar flowers
Comfrey leaves

*Make sure you are purchasing comfrey leaves, not the roots. Comfrey leaves are safe to use externally and help with healing, the root can be toxic

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add all herbs. Remove from heat, cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain herbs and store liquid for use in the following recipes.

To make this infusion, you will need to pick up some good quality herbs. Here are a couple of places in downtown Toronto where you can find them.


Herbie’s Herbs: Located at Queen and Bathurst. The store doesn’t look like much, but it has quality products. You can also order herbs online at

The Herbal Clinic and Dispensary: Located at Roncesvalles and Howard Park. This is a beautiful ND run clinic that sells a premade perineal wash herbal blend.

This article is meant to provide information only, it does not substitute for personalized medical care.

Sarah Winward
CO-FOUNDER: Dr. Sarah Winward, ND IBCLC

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