With so many different pads on the market, knowing what works (and works well) can feel challenging, especially when finding the best postpartum pads. This post will walk you through what you need and more.
Becoming a parent to a new little one is an exciting and joyous time, but it can also be challenging, especially for mothers recovering from childbirth.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself during this time is to take care of your physical and emotional well-being.
Jump to a section:
- What are the best pads to wear after giving birth?
- How many pads do I need for postpartum?
- Our picks for the best postpartum pads
- Can you use normal pads after giving birth?
- Why you should find the right postpartum pad
This includes choosing the best postpartum pads to ensure you stay as comfortable as possible while your body heals. We’ll review our top picks and what makes them stand out.
Every woman’s needs and preferences are different, so we’ll be sure to cover a wide range of options to help you find the postpartum pads that suit you the best. Above all, take good care of yourself and give yourself ample time and space to heal during this transitional season.
What are the best pads to wear after giving birth?
When choosing the best postpartum pads, a few things to consider will ensure you find the right fit for your individual needs.
- Overall thickness and absorbency
- The shape of the pad (wings or no wings?)
- Fabric and material (synthetic or cotton?)
- Added features (cooling herbs, extra leak protection, etc.)
You will likely experience different types of bleeding and discharge after giving birth (especially depending on how you gave birth), which can vary in intensity and duration. Therefore, it’s essential to have a variety of pads on hand to accommodate these changes.
Many find it helpful to start with thicker overnight pads in the days immediately following birth and then gradually transition to lighter daytime pads as bleeding decreases over time.
For postpartum pads, there is also the shape of it to consider – some women prefer pads with wings to hold everything securely in place, and others prefer more contoured or thin pads.
It’s also essential to consider the different materials used in postpartum pads. Many women prefer their pads to be made with organic cotton, as these are typically more breathable and can help reduce the risk of irritation.
Others may choose pads with added features such as cooling agents or anti-leak barriers for an extra layer of protection. Most of all, it’s essential that you listen to your body and choose the postpartum pad that feels the most comfortable to you.
A note on postpartum underwear
Some brands make specially designed postpartum underwear (some are disposable, and some are washable), which is worn in place of regular underwear and made with a built-in absorbent pad.
Postpartum underwear is often made with breathable, stretchy material that ensures a higher comfort level in the days following birth.
You may find that you need a combination of both postpartum pads and postpartum underwear during this healing period, and it’s ultimately up to each individual’s preference and recovery process to decide what is best for them.
How many pads do I need for postpartum?
As your body begins to heal from birth and the bleeding subsides, you may not need to change your pad as often. Many women have to change their pads about 4 to 8 times per day in the first week following childbirth.
A reasonable estimate is in the 36 to 48 range to get through the initial and heaviest days of bleeding.
Before giving birth, it’s essential to stock up on postpartum pads that you’ll need to support recovery so that you have enough to last through the first six weeks of your healing journey.
The number of pads you’ll need will depend on the intensity of your bleeding, which can vary for each woman. The first week or so will be when bleeding is the heaviest, and you’ll likely need to change your pad every couple of hours.
It’s always better to have more than enough postpartum pads, so you don’t have to worry about running out. Every woman’s experience is different, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer regarding how many postpartum pads you may need.
Round-up: our picks for the best postpartum pads
We’re sharing our pad picks from the most absorbent to the least.
That way, you can easily stock up on what you need depending on where you are in your pregnancy and postpartum recovery journey.
1. Extra Large Super-Absorbent Contoured Hospital Style Pad Liners
Great for right after birth, contoured shape
These ultra-absorbant pads offer a contoured shape to better fit your body’s natural shape, plus they’re super wide and extra long. They would work great layered in mesh underwear for the first few days after birth.
2. Postpartum Maternity Pads Extra-Absorbent After-Birth Pads
Newly postpartum pick, ultra-absorbent core
While these postpartum pads aren’t contoured like the ones above, they have a dense, ultra-absorbent core to catch and trap all liquid. Plus, they have leakproof backing to further help prevent leaks.
3. Instant Postpartum Pads for Women After Birth plus Perineal Ice Packs
Hospital must-have with cooling ice packs
A 2-for-1 pack, these instant cooling postpartum pads are 14 inches long and can hold ample liquid following your birth and offer the instant cooling sensation of ice.
4. The Honey Pot Company Clean Cotton Herbal-Infused Postpartum Pads
Herbal-infused and designed for postpartum moms
Made with soothing and cooling herbs, these infused pads help promote comfort and peace of mind after giving birth. They’re gynecologist-approved and eco-friendly, providing the protection you need postpartum.
5. The Honey Pot Company Clean Cotton Herbal-Infused Overnight Pads with Wings
Overnight absorbency with soothing herbs
Once your bleeding slows, you can use overnight pads like these for your postpartum bleeding. Like the ones above, these pads are infused with calming, soothing, and cooling herbs to encourage healing after birth.
6. Cora Organic Cotton Topsheet Unscented Maxi Overnight Absorbency Pads
Overnight absorbency with no fragrance, organic
These overnight pads are similar to the ones above but don’t contain any infused herbs or scents. They’re longer than “super” pads but shorter than postpartum pads, so make sure your lochia (postpartum bleeding) has slowed enough before using.
7. Rael Organic Cotton Cover Pads Heavy Absorbency, Unscented, Ultra Thin Pads with Wings
Heavy absorbency made with organic cotton
Also overnight and unscented, these pads are contoured which might feel like they offer more protection for those using them. They’re also made with organic cotton.
8. Rael Organic Postpartum Pads Moderate with 4 Layer Core with Leak Guard Technology
Organic cotton pads with moderate absorbency and leak protection
Designed for incontinence, these Leak Guard postpartum pads offer extra leakage protection for postpartum bleeding and incontinence. They’re thin, discreet, have moderate absorbency, and have no wings.
8. Rael Organic Cotton Cover Pads Regular Absorbency Unscented Ultra Thin Pads with Wings
Organic cotton pads with regular absorbency
When your bleeding slows even more, you can wear regular absorbency pads. These are made from organic cotton and are chlorine and fragrance-free, offering great postpartum protection.
9. Cora Ultra Thin Organic Postpartum Pads (Extra-Long)1
Extra-long organic cotton postpartum pads
Technically, these extra-long pads are designed for bladder leaks but can also work well for postpartum bleeding. They feature breathable cotton and are made with no fragrance, dyes, or chlorine.
10. Rael Organic Unscented, Chlorine Free, Light Absorbency Liners
Daily panty liners with light absorbancy
Finally, when your postpartum bleeding is ending, you can use light absorbency panty liners for daily wear until your bleeding stops entirely. They are sticky and easy to attach to your underwear, offering extra protection should your bleeding randomly start.
Can you use normal pads after giving birth?
After giving birth, it’s recommended to use pads or underwear designed explicitly for postpartum bleeding. Postpartum pads are often longer, thicker, and more absorbent than regular pads to accommodate the heavier flow of bleeding during the postpartum period.
Additionally, some postpartum pads may contain added features, such as cooling inserts that can help relieve pain.
Still, it is recommended that you use postpartum pads designed to provide a higher degree of protection in the few weeks after birth.
However, it ultimately depends on each individual’s preference and comfort level – you can use your favorite “normal” pads. Everyone is different!
The right postpartum pads promote a comfortable and secure recovery
The postpartum period can undoubtedly be a challenging and overwhelming time to navigate for new mothers, but you definitely should not have to worry about knowing how to choose the best postpartum pads.
One of the physical aspects of this transition is the postpartum bleeding that occurs after giving birth (called lochia), which generally lasts from 4 to 6 weeks, but sometimes up to 12 weeks.
Because of this, regular pads may not provide enough protection. Using pads designed explicitly for postpartum bleeding makes new mothers feel more comfortable and secure.
It’s important to remember that every woman’s postpartum experience is unique, and it’s okay to experiment with different products to find what works best for your needs. It is also essential to listen to your body and not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider with any concerns or questions.
We sincerely hope this guide regarding the postpartum pads you’ll need to support recovery has presented helpful information and helped you feel more prepared.
Taking care of yourself throughout the postpartum period should be a top priority and will help you transition into this new phase of life with much more comfort and ease.
Other helpful articles on postpartum pads and recovery
Founded by new mom and self-care author Carley Schweet, Hello Postpartum aims to help fill in the gaps in postpartum care and support. At Hello Postpartum, we aim to create an accessible community where everyone can access postpartum education, research-backed articles, and support tools.