Cheeky Wipes AU - Ultimate Guide to Postpartum Undies

13 September 2022  |  Admin

After the birth of your baby, you'll have enough to cope with without worrying about a leaky undercarriage. The good news is that you can stay leak free, feel beautiful and minimise landfill waste at the same time by following the Cheeky ultimate guide to postpartum underwear:

You have heroically brought new life into the world, you deserve pampering, looking after and spoiling.  But then you are given a pair of NHS disposable paper 'after birth pants'.  Honestly whose idea was it to provide paper knickers after you've had a baby?  Yikes

Reusable maternity undies can be multi purpose.  They can save you from little leaks late in pregnancy when your baby is using your bladder as a trampoline. They can be worn in labour once your waters have broken and you're en-route to the hospital.  And of course once you have used them for postpartum bleeding and lochia they can be used for the return of your regular menstrual cycle.


What is postpartum underwear?

Postpartum underwear is absorbent undies for new mums to wear once their baby has been born. They can be absorbent disposable paper pants which sit high to avoid c-section scars, or they can be normal underwear made larger to accommodate pads and scars - think Bridget Jones.

However the best postpartum undies also include both absorbency, space for pads, and have been designed to avoid the c-section area - Reusable Cheeky Pants!

Disposable maternity knickers can seem like a good idea and maybe your 'go to' for a few days in hospital. However they are bulky and add to landfill. They are also crinkly and you'll rustle as you walk and as you can imagine are uncomfortable to wear.

Disposable postpartum underwear can also end up being pricey, you can run out of it an inopportune moments, and they cause quite a lot of chafing when worn over a few weeks.

Cheeky reusable postpartum underwear is just so much better. The top layer is just like your normal everyday underwear so won't cause irritation.   Midwives recommend only natural fibres such as cotton or bamboo come into contact with your stitches, no matter whether you have a caesarean or vaginal delivery.

Postpartum knickers are usually black so staining won't be an issue.  This uses the least amount of dye making them better for sensitive, healing skin than bleached products. Obviously they can be washed and reused so you will never run out. They're also great if you need a 'sweep' towards the end of your pregnancy and of course you can wear them when your normal cycle returns.


Why do you need postpartum underwear?

You need postpartum underwear because after birth you'll have four to six weeks of discharge which is made up of the uterine lining of blood and mucus (lochia).

This could be heavy and bright red for the first few days but will likely ease up over the next few weeks.  You can suffer with losing fairly large clots (sometimes as big as a lemon!) and it can be worse if you had a difficult delivery.  Breast feeding can also make it increase.

Doctors and midwives recommend avoiding internal protection such as tampons and menstrual cups - during this period to avoid infections and furthering injuring tears and episiotomy scars. 

It takes around six weeks for your uterus to finish contracting.   Depending on your delivery you may have pain in and around your vulva and perineum or along your c-section scar as it heals.  

Are maternity pants better as under bump or over bump pants?

Maternity pants aren't better as under bump or over pants, it just comes down to whichever style feels most comfortable for you.   Once your little one is born reusable period pants can be worn immediately.  If you had a caesarean section, opt for styles that sit either below or well above your scar because even once healed it can stay sensitive for quite some time. Your tummy will also take a while to deflate and for your body to return to your new normal.

Also remember that reusable period pants are brilliant to have on hand BEFORE your little one is born.  Particularly if you are having little leaks or issues with discharge, residue from sweeps and checks, or perhaps a slow leak of your waters / broken back waters.

Low rise period pants will sit below your bump and these can of course be used after the birth for postpartum bleeding and once again for the return of your normal menstrual cycle. We recommend going up one size to cover this period of time. Over the bump pants are great before baby is born too as they gently support your growing tummy too.

On return of your normal cycle you can continue the period knickers and reusable pads you used for postpartum! 

Feeling Confident - These are brilliant maternity pants because the rise goes over your bump. They are high waisted, great for gentle support when pregnant.  They're also excellent postpartum as they help compress and hold your tummy whilst your uterus contracts in the postpartum weeks.   

They're also great for holding in your stomach and keeping you snug during those awkward weeks where your bump outgrows all your tops and is visible over the top of your maternity trousers! You can combine this style with reusable pads too.


'Really comfy, slight 'spanx' vibes which I really like because I've gone all jelly-belly. It's nice to be held-in, not even from an aesthetic perspective.

Just the feeling of having my stomach held by material is nice. I still had a slight bump on the initial wear and they were comfortable. And they still fit nicely now, sometimes I wear them just for the spanx effect" Ashton, Jan 2022 reviewing our Feeling Confident

"I love them! Almost feel sexy, which is saying something 1 week after giving birth! Much prefer to (sic) disposable because of silky feel, high rise (covers belly button and dark line, which I don’t like looking at right now) and close fit. And of course, reusable!

Wore once in late pregnancy and fitted over bump fine. I feel like a kind of Bridget Jones, kind of sexy. Wouldn’t mind fiancé seeing me in them but was embarrassed if he saw me in (sic) disposables." Zoe, Nov 2021 reviewing our Feeling Confident

Feeling Sporty These knickers are super low rise.  This means that they'll sit below your bump when pregnant and below your scar too if you have your baby by c-section.

This style can also be used with resuable pads too.

"Excellent speedy service, good value for money, comfy supportive postpartum pants, and pretty lacy period pants too. What more can you ask for?"  Emma July 22


Feeling Cosy bamboo - These period sleep shorts aren't just for sleeping!   Super soft and stretchy with an elasticated waistband to expand and contract with your changing body, they're made from  naturally antibacterial, absorbent bamboo.



What size postpartum underwear do you need?

For postpartum underwear, it's recommended to size up one size from your normal pre-pregnancy size.  To decide which size postpartum pants to opt for you can use our measurement guide.

How long to wear postpartum underwear?

You'll  wear postpartum underwear for as long as you continue to have discharge after birth, usually between 3 to 6 weeks.  Simply wash and reuse during this period until you stop bleeding, then when your periods return, you can start using them again. Remember when using them, stick to a 30 degree wash and avoid fabric softener.

You should change your pants in line with your flow.  If you wear the correct absorbency you'll likely need a fresh pair when you wake in the morning, one change for the afternoon and once again at bedtime. Keeping your vulva clean and changing regularly will also help any healing stitches.

Reusable pads might be convenient also during this period.   Reusable maternity pads can be put inside the maternity pants and whipped out at lunchtime to carry on in the washable pants alone. Postpartum pads can be also be soaked in water or witch hazel and stored in the fridge or freezer to soothe stitches and swollen vulvas! Pad popsicle!

Can you use incontinence underwear for postpartum?

Yes, incontinence underwear can be used for postpartum. They are very absorbent and easy to wash!

Can you use period underwear postpartum?

Yes, period underwear can be used postpartum, and all of our washable pads can be used too. We have a really handy 4th trimester kit that covers pads, and reusable wet wipes for baby too! Perfect addition to add to your hospital bag.

We hope you've enjoyed our Cheeky Ultimate guide to postpartum pants.  We are so sure that you will love our period pants and pads that we have created a 90 day trial scheme for them, so if they don't work for you, we'll refund you in full.

If you enjoyed this, we think you would like this blogs on what to pack in your hospital bag - and what not to!

or have a browse of all our blogs!

As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...

About the Author:  Kirstin Scriven is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to 3 and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!

Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. The business was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.

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