If you’ve been an avid reusables user, a menstrual cup postpartum can be a tempting solution. While you’ll bleed for 4-6 weeks post labor — lochia, or postnatal bleeding, should be done with sanitary pads due to increased risk of infection. Once your period returns, however, you might find more success with a menstrual disc due to its shape, positioning, and capacity. Not sure what I mean? Here’s how to use a menstrual disc postpartum.
Why Not a Menstrual Cup?
When you’re ready to get back to your DIVA Cup, it’s not uncommon to run into some challenges. Pregnancy can stretch and weaken muscles of the vagina. The DIVA Cup is normally held in place by these muscles and when you try it again you might have difficulty keeping it in place or find that it slides down.
A reusable menstrual disc is an eco-friendly alternative to tampons that sits higher up than a menstrual cup, in the vaginal fornix. It isn’t held in place by the vaginal muscles, like a DIVA Cup. And instead of the multiple menstrual cup sizes, it comes in one-size-fits-most. The disc that fits you before pregnancy can also fit you afterwards!
The Postnatal Cervix
During pregnancy, your cervix will shorten and thin out to stretch to allow room for the baby. When fully dilated, the cervix is a 10cm or 3.9” opening – large enough for a vaginal birth.
Prior to labor, the cervix is a powerfully protective sphincter. If then a baby passes through, it will stretch, along with the muscles of the vaginal canal. Although the amount of stretching varies from person to person, working to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles can be a vital part of postnatal care. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist for guided care. These muscles have been under immense pressure, not only during labor, but throughout the last nine months that you’ve carried your child. The human body is truly incredible, and it can bounce back!
After you give birth, muscular recovery, as well as returning to a regular menstrual cycle will take time.
When you get your first postpartum period; it can come with an increase in flow and cramping. As your hormones regulate again, your period will likely be irregular. This is where the DIVA Disc, with a larger capacity than your DIVA Cup, can come in handy.
Choosing a Menstrual Disc Postpartum
Switching to a menstrual disc may be easier than using a menstrual cup after pregnancy. The best things about the DIVA Disc are its shape, positioning and capacity. The DIVA Disc comes in a one-size-fits-most because the cervix, or sphincter of the uterus, is a small opening, with more a uniform shape. The diameter of this disc is 68mm – well beyond what is needed to comfortably sit around and cover the cervix.
Thanks to the oval-shaped design, it doesn’t rotate when you try to remove it like other menstrual discs, helping to make removal quicker and smoother. We’ve also chosen a sloped basin with a Leakproof Shield™ to prevent mid-wear leaks and spills during removal.
You position a menstrual disc in the vaginal fornix. Push it back as far as it will comfortably go, so that it is around the entirety of the cervix. It is then tucked behind the pubic bone to be held in place. This higher placement means it doesn’t require assistance from the vaginal muscles to be held in place as a cup does.
The DIVA Disc can hold up to 36mL of fluid, whereas the average tampon only absorbs close to 5mL. Being a new mom comes with a highly demanding schedule. Worrying less about changing a tampon can be a game-changer!
Once placed in the vaginal fornix – which might take some time to get used to – you get up to 12 hours of continuous protection and have more worry-free time to spend with your new family.
Consult with your healthcare provider before using either discs or menstrual cups postpartum. And give yourself some grace when returning to insertables.
How to Use a Menstrual Disc Postpartum
- Take your time. As is the case with learning to insert and remove a menstrual disc at any time, there is a learning curve. It’s best to prepare yourself with some backup pads and tampons, just in case. Then, set aside some time to relax your body and practice insertion.
- Have patience. Taking time to strengthen the vaginal muscles can give us the opportunity to get in touch with our bodies as they are now, post-baby. While it might be a dissociating process, know that the body is designed to bounce back and that postpartum bodies are beautiful.
- Trust that you’ll find your fit. A reusable menstrual disc is a great option for a postpartum body! But if you’re not there yet or it turns out to not be the right fit for you, there are always other great reusable options.
Whether you were wearing a menstrual cup prior to pregnancy or not, the DIVA Disc is an eco-friendly alternative to tampons. And a great option for our beautiful postpartum bodies!