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Thread: Compresses - warm or cold?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Compresses - warm or cold?

    Reading Yael's birth story the other day reminded me of something I had been meaning to post. When I had Tom, I asked my ob if I could have a warm compress and she said she doesn't use warm compresses as they draw blood to the site and make it worse. Instead she put a cold compress on my peri. TBH I couldn't really say if it worked or not, but my fuzzy memory of the pain and sensation is that it did ease (as I say though, I can't really be sure). So, my question is what experiences have people had with warm vs cold compresses? Not that I'm planning another birth, but I'd be interested to know.


  2. #2

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    May 2007
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    Interesting...I'd love to hear more.

  3. #3

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    When I was in labour with Maddison the Midwife asked my sister to run one of the maternity pads under the HOTTTEST water she could handle & then compress that against my now stretching peri... INSTANTLY it was numbed!!!!
    I used a hot compress again with Zyon, but kinda wanted it to be more ala naturale & moved it, (silly as it freaking stings!) LOL

    I swear by the hot!!!

  4. #4

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    pulling this out of my head

    hot or cold compress to the skin works on the gate control theory...the skin nerve fibres block the sensory (in the brain) interpretation of the perineal stretch

    cold reduces blood flow to the area...reducing swelling but can also tense the tissue
    hot promotes blood flow, but also acts to soften the tissue, allowing the stretch

    You would have to have a hot compress on your peri for a good while to draw that much blood to the site and make it worse...but sitting on a (poorly designed) birthing stool can cause venous congestion and actually work to increase the risk of tearing

    I had Jay in the bath...warm and yummy...and had a 2nd degree tear (had epis firts time round) but had no pain as water acts to cushion the peri

    does that make sense?

    xx yogababy

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