first period? Perhaps the school nurse handed you what appeared to be a mouse mattress... a giant pad you could hardly imagine fitting in your underpants. OK, now take that image and double it. Got it? That’s the size and structure we’re looking for when it comes to the best postpartum pads. Don’t shudder, trust us when we say you’ll thank us for this advice.
The thing is, after you’ve delivered, a heck of a lot of postpartum bleeding, or lochia, is in order. This discharge may include blood (naturally), bits of uterine lining, mucus, and white blood cells. And this discharge can happen even if you have a Cesarean. So it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Sure, the hospital will give you plenty of super jumbo postpartum pads (grab as many as you can get your hands on, you’re paying for them after all), but you’ll want to stock up on extras as well. But what to choose?
Here’s the great news for pregnant people everywhere: postpartum pad technology is at a golden age. No longer are you limited to just cotton strips. The postpartum care industry is now thinking more holistically about delivery recovery which means products include everything from chilled pads to herbal pads, reusable pads to organic pads. So what’s the best postpartum pad for you? It could be one or a few of the following.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Hospital Level Postpartum Pad
Want the kind of protection you get from the hospital postpartum pads? Check out
Covidien Curity pads. Critics (aka real moms), say these are about as close as you’ll get to what’s handed out in the maternity wing and praise the product’s soft cotton and large surface area. “My hospital gave me these pads after I gave birth, loved them so much I purchased more. Really good Bc they don't stick to your lady parts. I highly recommend,” one Amazon reviewer writes. Another pro-tip? Spring for more than one pack. One bag comes with 14, but that might not be enough to cover the early days when you’ve just returned home from the hospital. 2 A Really Big Pad
“What I like about these are their size - they're BIG,” writes one reviewer of the
Abena pads. Large and super absorbent, the idea with these pads is that you won’t have to fear leakage, something no new mom has time for. That means that not only are these the best postpartum pads for discharge, but also for postpartum incontinence, something many women experience after birth. An adhesive strip on the back adheres to underwear so the pad doesn’t shift around when moving, but there aren’t any wings to get caught on the leg and cause chaffing. They might even be an improvement on the pads you get at the hospital. “These pads are contoured and huge, waaaaay softer than the ones they give you at the hospital,” writes a fan. 3 An Odor Reducing Pad
It’s not a pretty thought, but the truth is not only is postpartum discharge messy, it can be smelly too. Reduce your fragrance anxiety with an odor cutting postpartum pad like
Tranquility Personal Care Pads. This product claims to use odor reduction technology to lock in foul fragrances. In addition, a gentle elastic design cups the body rather than sitting flat and loose to ensure a more comfortable fit. And the cotton is made to feel like fabric so there’s no irritation to the skin. A peach gel section soaks up liquid so the top sheet feels dry against the skin. 4 An Organic Postpartum Pad
If sustainability is important to you, then you might want to consider an organic postpartum pad. That’s what
Rael is. The company’s organic cotton overnight pads are designed to be used for both periods and postpartum bleeding and, as the name suggests, are extra long. So not only will your sheets and undies be saved, you’ll sleep better by getting a leak-free rest. Plus, these pads do include not one but two sets of wings, all the better to keep your business in place. “I love these! They’re so soft, comfy, and not bulky. Not to mention how protective they are because of the size. 10/10 will buy again,” writes one user. 5 A Reusable Pad
Want to limit your footprint on the environment even more? Skip the disposable pads altogether and go for a reusable option.
Natissy brand’s organic cotton cloth pads come in 6 count packs and are made of washable cotton with no chemicals. A waterproof layer is designed to avoid any leaks and they’re available in a variety of sizes so you can find just the right fit. The best postpartum pads for eco-conscious moms, not only do these limit your imprint on the environment, they save you a boatload too. And they’re guaranteed to last up to five years so you can use these with all of your children. 6 An Herbal Cooling Pad
Just like an injured knee can benefit from icing, so too can a postpartum vagina, be it from perineal tears, a contracting uterus, or cramping. That’s where herbal cooling pads can be a lifesaver. The Honey Pot has designed
postpartum herbal pads “which create a "cooling" sensation that provides a soothing experience.” You may be skeptical, but critics say this is the real deal. “Admittedly, when I put on the first one it was like OH, OH MY GOSH because it felt so weird and tingly but after a moment the sensation felt amazing. I bought overnights too, for when things are a little less than they are now, and I am looking forward to using those too. Consider me a convert,” writes a reviewer. 7 An Ice Pack Pad
To get even more of that cooling action, the best postpartum pads are
Perineal Ice Maxi Pads. From Frida Mom, one of the most trusted brands in maternity care, the pads come with instant first aid ice packs built into each pad. Each delivers 20 minutes of cooling action — no freezing required. Even better, these pads weren’t designed with just vaginal deliveries in mind. They also have a super soft top layer for comfort in the perineal area and option to use for soft cold therapy on c-section incisions. If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this: “If you’re contemplating wether or not these are worth purchasing, allow me to save you some brain energy - THEY ARE WORTH EVERY SINGLE PENNY!! Take it from a first time momma writing this review 3 days post partum - you will not regret this purchase!!” writes one Amazon reviewer. 8 A Postpartum Disposable Underwear
Let’s be real, sometimes fussing with a pad can be maddening. It’s like a flashback to middle school and who needs that when you’re suddenly the caretaker of a tiny human? If you want to skip the whole pad business altogether, just go straight to the diaper option. Trust us, no one will judge you for it.
Always Discreet postpartum disposable underwear are here for you when you need to break out the big guns. They come in three sizes in boxes of 56, so you will only have to make this weird purchase once, hopefully. Plus, you can order them online sparing you any check-out line drama. Wear them just like undies, then chuck them when you’re done. What could be better than that? 9 A Postpartum Panty
Want the best postpartum pads that won’t look like pads? Write this down:
Thinx Super Hi-Waist Postpartum Underwear. They’re reusable underwear with a pad built in that you can wash and re-wear again. The perfect marriage of postpartum discharge protection in a product that looks like a normal pair of high waisted panties. But they’re functional as well. “It’s amazing how much blood they actually hold!” writes one reviewer. Even more appealing? Thinx offers a wide range of sizes, from SX to 4X, so these postpartum pad panties are all inclusive for everyone and every body type, something ever mama can appreciate. 10 A Plus-Size Period Underwear
Want a postpartum pad situation that can double for use once your regular menstrual cycle returns? Check out Ruby. The brand makes
period underwear that you could use or even double up with a postpartum pad. Plus, they come in plus-size and offer a variety of colors and designs. 11 A Thin Silhouette Postpartum Pad
There comes a beautiful day in every postpartum woman’s life when her discharge begins to taper off. You’ll celebrate and think, “sweet, now I can chuck these pads.” Don’t. Just when you think the flow is over, you get an unwelcome leakage situation. Instead, switch to these think super absorbent
Always Infinity Flex Foam With Wings. You won’t feel like you’re walking around with a pillow in your panties because they’re so slim. Plus, you’ll get top notch absorbency at the same time thanks to the pad’s gel technology. As one reviewer wrote, “I love the Always Infinity Flex Foam pads - they are thin, didn’t seem to snag on the sutures and wick away the blood and discharge."
Make your days of discharge a little less stressful by investing in advance in the best postpartum pads. That way you can focus your attention on what’s important, that sweet new baby right in front of you.
This article was originally published on
Jan. 12, 2022