Peer Recommended Products

Navigating life and your new body's needs after a severe obstetric injury can be extremely difficult. In an attempt to make this experience a little easier for you, we have compiled a list of resources other women with severe obstetric lacerations have found beneficial. You know of a resource that you found helpful that is not listed, please contact us at: [email protected]. Also, these resources are not to be substituted for proper medical advice. If your healthcare provider recommends a specific product for you, please follow their directions. A portion of the recommended books and podcasts are brought to you in thanks from our friends at MASIC.

Recommended Books

The Day My Vagina Broke by Stephanie Thompson

The Day My Vagina Broke tells the story of Stephanie Thompson's journey to motherhood, and of medical professionals who dismissed her fears and concerns. The author writes openly about her traumatic birth, and the ongoing physical, emotional and physiological impacts of her injuries. But it is also a story of hope, courage and heart that explores ways to adjust and live with a new reality, and to finally find a way to begin to heal. It's essential reading for all mothers and the professionals charged with caring for them.

Why Did No One Tell Me? by Emma Brockwell

Emma Brockwell's mission is to change the dismissive culture women face with debilitating conditions after childbirth. She has been through two difficult pregnancies herself. Emma combines her expertise as a specialist women's health physiotherapist with personal experience to create a warm, honest, informative and essential handbook to help pregnant women and new mums take control and care for their changing bodies. Find out how to: Protect your pelvic floor, heal effectively from birth – both vaginal deliveries and caesarean sections, Tackle common and treatable post-birth problems, and how to exercise safely after birth.

Every woman has the right to be informed! This empowering guide gives you all the tools you need to look after your amazing body throughout motherhood.

PMSL: Or How I Literally Pissed Myself Laughing and Survived the Last Taboo to Tell the Tale by Luce Brett

When Luce Brett became incontinent at the age of 30, after the birth of her first son, she felt her life had ended. She also felt scared, upset, embarrassed and shocked. How the hell had she ended up there, the youngest woman in the waiting room at the incontinence clinic?

Luce Brett is a writer and health advocate who lives in the UK. She started writing about women's health, bodies and taboo after the birth of her second baby. Like many women born in an analogue age her sex and body education was a combined effort – she learned about her nether regions from magazines, other peoples' big sisters and Tampax leaflets. This meant she wasn't brilliantly prepared for the realities of childbirth.

Passionate about feminism, healthcare, and smashing the stigma around women's bodies she has spoken about her condition, and also the wider impact of taboo in women's healthcare, and become a respected spokesperson on the issue of incontinence that affects around 1 in 3 women in the UK. Part memoir, part best friend, part stigma smashing call to action PMSL is her first book.

Why Mums Don't Jump: Ending the Pelvic Floor Taboo by Helen Ledwick

When Helen Ledwick discovered she had a prolapse after the birth of her second child, she was devastated, not just by the constant discomfort but also by the pervasive shame she felt and the lack of available information and support. When she learned that one in three women have pelvic floor disorders, she was horrified... and determined to do something about it.

Following on from the success of her taboo-busting podcast of the same name, in this warm, factual and anecdote-rich look at a taboo subject, Helen shares her story along with those of many other women. From postpartum care to incontinence, with expert advice on returning to sport, the impact on sex and intimacy, and having another baby after pelvic floor injury, Why Mums Don't Jump is a groundbreaking book that will have readers laughing, crying and cringing as finally women come together to break the stigma around pelvic floor issues.

After Birth: What Nobody Tells You – How to Recover Body and Mind by Jessica Hatcher-Moore

While there is a wealth of advice for new mums on caring for their babies the same is not true for postpartum health. Fulfilling this vital need, After Birth is the ultimate postnatal primer for women facing changes to their bodies after having a baby. Featuring a chapter on 'Pelvic Floor, Incontinence, Prolapse and Pain' and featuring the work of MASIC, this book also addresses issues great and small – from hair loss and stretch marks, to bladder and bowel leaks, painful sex, diastasis recti and mental health. Researcher and writer Jessica Hatcher-Moore brings together straight-talking advice on preparation for childbirth, healing, and recovery in the weeks, months and even years that follow. She also offers insights for partners, whose role is often overlooked at this critical time. Blending knowledge from the full spectrum of modern and traditional therapies with honest experiences from mothers, here is balanced advice with no agenda. Taking a broad look at what we can do for ourselves at home, and also when to seek expert help, After Birth will reassure, inform and empower women to reclaim their post-birth bodies.

Pelvic Floor Health: Your Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Care

As the leader in urogynecology, the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS) developed this book to provide you with expert advice and guidance on pelvic floor health and to highlight the changes you may experience during and after pregnancy.

The authors of this book are dedicated clinicians with years of experience helping patients maintain or, in some cases, regain pelvic floor health. It is important to note that most women still have at least one pelvic floor problem that bothers them a year after childbirth. This book will provide you with answers to important pelvic floor-related questions, help prepare you for the expected and unexpected, and present you with a list of invaluable tips and resources. After reading, you will become not only familiar with possible pelvic floor specific issues, but also solutions to recovery (such as physical therapy exercises) for pelvic rehabilitation.

Your Pelvic Floor by Kim Vopni

This is the first pelvic floor health book aimed at ALL women, including trans women, outlining the importance of understanding your pelvic floor and how it impacts on overall health, fitness and wellbeing for life – not just around pregnancy and childbirth. This book outlines symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, and shows you how to fix them.

What is pelvic organ prolapse which 50% of women will experience and can it be prevented?

Urinary incontinence is treatable with physio. Women on average suffer symptoms for 7 years before going to a healthcare professional which has a huge effect on mental health.

Pelvic floor issues are often only talked about in relation to pregnancy and childbirth. This is not just a ”mum issue”: high impact exercise (running, HIIT, CrossFit) affect the pelvic floor. Young athletes/gymnasts who have never had children are highly likely to suffer from incontinence.

Women should not accept dysfunction as a ”normal part of being a woman”, but instead need to prioritize their pelvic floor health – this book shows that it is never too early and, crucially, never too late to do so.

Birth Shock: How to recover from birth trauma – why 'at least you've got a healthy baby' isn't enough by Mia Scotland

Perhaps you had a difficult birth. Hopefully, you have a healthy baby. That, after all, is the most important thing. Or is it? So why are you struggling to move on? Why do you keep thinking about the birth or replaying it in your mind? Why do you feel guilty when other people say 'at least you have a healthy baby'? In Birth Shock, perinatal clinical psychologist Mia Scotland explains clearly what can be harmful about birth, how birth trauma can affect mothers, fathers and health professionals, and why it seems to be on the rise.

If you are suffering from the effects of a difficult birth, even if the birth doesn't sound bad to others, then this book is for you. Perhaps the birth was really bad and your baby isn't okay. Perhaps you are a partner who feels traumatized, or you are a midwife or a doctor. In these pages you will find:

  • a clear, concise, psychological explanation of what birth trauma actually is
  • discussion of what causes birth trauma
  • clear tips and advice on how to put yourself on the path to recovery

Birth Shock draws on what we know about trauma, PTSD and the nature of birth and maternity systems to show how you can take steps toward letting go of any guilt, self-blame or confusion that you may be feeling.

Heal Pelvic Pain: A Proven Stretching, Strengthening, and Nutrition Program for Relieving Pain, Incontinence, I.B.S, and Other Symptoms Without Surgery by Amy Stein

If you suffer from an agonizing and emotionally stressful pelvic floor disorder, including pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, prostatitis, incontinence, or discomfort during sex, urination, or bowel movements, it's time to alleviate your symptoms and start healing–without drugs or surgery. Natural cures, in the form of exercise, nutrition, massage, and self-care therapy, focus on the underlying cause of your pain, heal your condition, and stop your pain forever.

This book gets to the root of your disorder with:

  • A stretching, muscle-strengthening, and massage program you can do at home
  • Guidelines on foods that will ease your discomfort
  • Suggestions for stress- and pain-reducing home spa treatments
  • Exercises for building core strength and enhancing sexual pleasure
Your Postnatal Body: A top to toe guide to caring for yourself after pregnancy and birth by Lyanne Nicholl

You matter. Your body matters.

Pregnancy and birth may be everyday occurrences, but they are not easy, and the after-affects can be wide-ranging and sometimes difficult to live with.Taking care of your physical and mental health is paramount, not only because a healthy, happy you will be more able to cope with the demands of parenthood, but because you are still the whole human being you were before you conceived, and you deserve to recover and thrive. With proper care postnatally, we can strengthen and support our bodies to recover – and maintain optimal physical health for life.

This book aims to hold your hand and lift you up as you navigate your new body, giving you information to help you to relish motherhood, not just survive it. It deals comprehensively with the common bodily changes you may experience after birth, explaining what is normal and what may need attention.

Research and interviews with health experts are complemented by women's experiences of how they overcame a range of physical challenges postpartum, including stories that often go untold. The book does not shy away from tackling the hardest aspects of postnatal recovery, but aims to be hopeful and genuinely helpful.

Recommended Podcasts

The Golden Hour Birth Podcast
Bits of Me

A podcast about women's bodies, all the things we should know about them, and all the stories behind them.

At Your Cervix

At your cervix is a podcast dedicated to pelvic health issues such as incontinence, pelvic pain or sexual dysfunction affecting both men and women. Shrouded in stigma, these issues are often poorly understood and considered embarrassing or taboo resulting in a delay accessing help. Gráinne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell are two pelvic health physiotherapists on a mission to myth bust, empower and educate the public, health and fitness professionals about pelvic health. Join as they converse honestly and authentically with a variety of interesting guests on the taboo topics others don't discuss.

Mothers With 4th Degree Tears Podcast

Learn from first hand stories of women who have had 4th degree tears in childbirth and from the professionals who work with them.

Pregnancy Podcast on Vaginal Tears and Episiotomies: Prevention and Healing

This provides you with tips on how to try to prevent vaginal tearing and/or an episiotomy as well as how you can recover from these injuries.

The Birth Trauma Mama Podcast

Birth trauma is the dark and sometimes scary side of pregnancy & postpartum that no one wants to talk about. But, we're here to change that! I'm Kayleigh, a licensed therapist and birth trauma survivor, determined to bring birth trauma out of the shadows and into the light. When we talk about birth trauma, we take away its power and leave space for healing. Your birth trauma does not need to “happen for a reason." Birth trauma sucks and it's okay to admit that. Join us as we navigate what it means to heal from birth trauma. You'll hear from experts in the field as well as others who have experienced birth trauma. Storytelling and education are keys to raising awareness and better understanding how we heal trauma. We don't do toxic positivity in this space, but you'll definitely hear some dark humor. You'll laugh and you'll cry, but, most importantly, you'll learn that you're not alone and that healing is possible. Birth trauma is bullish*it, but your healing is not.

3 in 30 Takeaways

A podcast with 3 actionable takeaways in every 30-minute episode because you are a busy mom with a full schedule and an even fuller brain. Episode 143 focuses specifically on how to heal emotionally after a traumatic birth experience. Listen in to feel encouraged and inspired, as we learn together how to overcome overwhelm and find more peace and magic in motherhood. Hosted by Rachel Nielson, a mother, teacher, and writer.

Why Mums Don't Jump

Honest chat about incontinence, prolapse and pelvic pain. Not a trampoline in sight. Helen Ledwick meets other mums who are struggling with pelvic floor dysfunction and hears from the health professionals who live and breathe pelvic floors.

Recommended Blogs

Stomachameleon Blog

The inspiring blog of Gill Castle who sustained a 4th degree tear resultant fistula and colostomy. About her blog: Welcome to a place of positivity and fun, where I will show you everything that can be achieved after suffering birth trauma injuries, and with a stoma, both of which I have. A chameleon can change itself according to the situation it finds itself in, and so can we. We can do anything! There are lots of different categories of blogs where I have photos and blogs on various activities I have done. Here's a little taster: Half Ironman, skydiving, scuba diving, open water skins swimming, and sea kayaking. If you want to understand the true extent of my recovery, please visit category “My diary of birth trauma and stoma“, excerpts from a diary I kept during my first initial months of hell in 2011-2012, and read it in date order from the bottom. Although grim reading it explains the dark place I was appreciate the light you need to understand the dark. If you just want the fun parts, jump right to the blog page and click on any link to get started with some of my activities! The dark was then. The light is now.

Recommended Postpartum or Repair Products

  • Ask your healthcare provider if you are a candidate for estrogen cream as this often speeds up recovery due to increased blood flow, reversing atrophy, and maintaining proper vaginal pH. Estrogen can often be low in breastfeeding, perimenopausal, and menopausal women. You are not a candidate for estrogen if you have a history of blood clots, stroke, severe heart disease, or breast cancer.
  • Frida Mom Peri Bottle to help keep your perineum clean and provide pain relief when urinating.
  • Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Kit includes disposable underwear, witch hazel spray and soothing pads, ice pads, hospital gown, upside down peri bottle, and socks. The Essential Frida Mom Recovery Kit comes with disposable underwear, witch hazel spray and soothing pads, and ice pads.
  • Medline Deluxe Postpartum Perineal Cold Pack Pads to help with swelling and pain relief.
  • Witch Hazel Pads to sooth your laceration or even use for wiping after a bowel movement.
  • Rael Organic Cotton period products and reusable period underwear that are breathable and unscented.
  • Destin Cream for irritated areas.
  • Aquaphor for irritated and dry areas.
  • Dermoplast Spray or Briotech Spray to help with itching and burning.
  • Lansinoh Sitz Bath Salts to help soothe your perineum.
  • Fivona Foldable Sitz Bath to help keep your laceration clean and aid in pain relief.
  • Squatty Potty is on sale on Amazon or purchase directly on the manufacturer site.
  • Bayes Food Grade Mineral Oil, take a tablespoon with orange juice every morning to help things pass more smoothly.
  • A low residue diet can also be helpful to keep things passing easily. Stool softeners (like Colace) can cause smearing so if needed use Miralax.

Recommended Everyday Products

  • TOTO Travel Handy Washlet
  • Rael Organic Cotton period products and reusable period underwear
  • Simple Leaf Fragrance Free Flushable Wipes for everyday use.
  • Aquaphor for irritated and dry areas
  • Tushy Bidet (both the classic and spa versions are great). This can really eliminate or lessen endless wiping.
  • Squatty Potty is on sale on Amazon or purchase directly on the manufacturer site.
  • The Leva Pelvic Floor Exercise Wand is an FDA approved first-line treatment to help with fecal incontinence/urinary incontinence and is often covered by insurance.
  • Natural lubricants can decrease risk of vulvar/vaginal irritation. Check out these articles at Womens Health Magazine and Medical News Today.
  • Bayes Food Grade Mineral Oil, take a tablespoon with orange juice every morning to help things pass more smoothly.