The 7 Best Quality Postpartum Pads to Buy (Avoid the Cheap Ones!)

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, CNM, RN
Reviewed by Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, CNM, RNWritten by Neve Spicer Updated on July 23rd, 2021

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Following the birth of your baby, you need great postpartum pads. You’ll soon realize that this flow is more than you’d see with any menstrual period. There’s also a raft of other happenings you may not have expected.

Postpartum pads are like menstrual pads, only more absorbent, and they cover more acreage. You’ll soon learn to be grateful for the difference. You might need this kind of protection for weeks. It’s hard to tell- we’re all different after all.

Read on to discover some of the issues and their solutions for a postpartum mom. This article will examine seven leading brands for the best postpartum pads.

A new mom’s guide to postpartum care

The total of postpartum care of mom is a rather long list. Fortunately, we have a list just as long for addressing every issue.

Vaginal soreness

Your vaginal area might be extra-sore if you had an episiotomy. That’s an opening the doctor made to help baby’s head exit the vaginal without tearing. It may be that you had a tear that occurred during the birth. No matter which wound you have, it might take a few weeks for the soreness to go away. Of course, longer tears will probably take longer. Here are some tried-and-true ways to help with the pain.

  • Be careful where you sit! A pillow or padded ring can help accommodate a nursing session without extra pain.
  • When you urinate… take an empty squeeze bottle and fill it with warm water. The kind of plastic bottle used for catsup or mustard is perfect. While you are urinating, squeeze the water onto your perineum.
  • A nice, warm bath is a delight. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or cold. When you hit the Goldilocks temperature, you’ll sigh in relief. Warning: cool or cold water may be more to your taste. You only need to fill the bath enough to cover your buttocks. Five minutes is long enough to help. You can repeat it several times during the day.
  • Take a sitz bath. Much like the above, a sitz bath allows you to use water to alleviate pain on your bottom. However, these devices go on top of your toilet and can be used several times per day.
  • An ice pack or a chilled witch hazel pad placed between your wound and a sanitary napkin can be greatly relieving. From a tree of the same name, witch hazel is a wonderful product that everyone should know. It looks like alcohol and is usually on the same shelf in the drug store. It has a pleasant odor and won’t sting. Simply pour the witch hazel onto a disposable pad and place it in the refrigerator or freezer. You’ll be glad to know you can get other uses from the witch hazel. It’s great for insect bites and sunburn.
  • Postpartum pain doesn’t call for prescription pain medications. Just use the over-the-counter brand you usually use for discomfort, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin). Studies demonstrate an increase in postpartum laceration pain relief for those who use ibuprofen. There are numbing sprays and creams you can get over-the-counter or from your doctor.
  • Constipation is no fun at any time, but just after childbirth, it is excruciating. You can ask your doctor if you can use an over-the-counter stool softener or a gentle laxative that will prevent constipation.
  • If your pain increases, is severe, you notice an abnormal odor, or you experience a fever, call your doctor immediately. You may have an infection.

Vaginal discharge

After you deliver your infant, you will begin the shed the lining that you used to allow Sam or Susie to live and grow large enough to live outside on their own. You shed the superficial mucous membrane and blood, called lochia, for several weeks. At first, your discharge will be heavy and red, like a heavy menstrual period. It then becomes more liquid — the color changes from pinkish brown to yellow-white. If your bleeding is so heavy that you are soaking a pad in less than one hour, call your physician’s office. A call is even more urgent if you also have a fever, pelvic pain, or tenderness in your uterus.


Afterpains is the name for these contractions that last only a few days after delivery. These feel like menstrual cramps and serve an essential purpose. They compress the blood vessels in the uterus, which prevents excessive bleeding. Afterpains often occur during nursing because of the release of your oxytocin. Your healthcare provider may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen to minimize the cramping pain.


Incontinence is the uncontrolled leaking of urine. It might dribble out, leaving you with wet undies. You might release some urine if you laugh, sneeze, or cough. The dribbles will often improve. For some women, it is a lifelong struggle.

The reason is that childbirth stretches or weakens your pelvic floor muscles. There are effective exercises that you can do anywhere and anytime that are called Kegel exercises. They will tone up your pelvic floor. You can perform them anywhere and they are the same muscles that you use to squeeze to stop from passing gas or to stop your urine flow. Do not do Kegels while urinating as it can increase your risk of a urinary tract infection. Hold for as long as you can, then release. After a few moments’ rest, repeat. Work up to holding for at least three seconds and repeating ten times for one set.

Hemorrhoids and bowel movements

Many women develop hemorrhoids while they are pregnant and after delivery. If you have itching, bleeding, or pain during bowel movements, you probably have hemorrhoids. While they heal up, use an over-the-counter cream for hemorrhoids or a suppository with hydrocortisone. You can use the chilled witch hazel pads for hemorrhoids. It will help if you soak your anal area in plain warm water for up to 15 minutes a few times each day. Keep your stools soft by staying hydrated and eating high-fiber foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.

When and why do I need postpartum pads?

You will need these pads from the time of delivery until your discharge lightens. It may take up to a month until it is light enough to use a regular sanitary napkin (not a tampon).

How many pads will I need each day?

Like menstrual pads and tampons, there is no average. Every woman has their own needs, and it won’t be the same, even for her subsequent children. Just know that soaking one pad in less than an hour is always worrisome. Since we can’t guess the total number of pads, buy the big bag and pass it along to a sister or friends when their time comes. You may want to buy them before you go into labor in case your water breaks at home. Some of these pads are great for absorbing amniotic fluid, too.

Which is best: Cloth vs. Disposable?

You may not know that you can use reusable cloth postpartum and menstrual pad rather than disposable. Our foremothers all used the cloth option, so something must be right. You can even make your pads or buy them from home business. You only need a half dozen or so, and they can be of varying thickness. The advantages are considerable:

  • One-time cost
  • Easy to wash by hand in a sink
  • No worries about running out
  • Easier on the skin
  • Environmentally friendly

Disposable pads are convenient and only require disposal. However, they are costly, and running out is a constant worry (by your partner who is probably the one going to the store). Each option has advantages. It’s up to you to choose the right one for your situation before you truly need it. Your hospital will probably send you home with enough to start.

Our top picks for the best postpartum pads

Editor’s Choice

Our opinion

We are all familiar with Always Maxi pads. Those of us with heavy flows find the Overnight version to be very effective. I’ll admit, I used these as postpartum pads after the third day, and they worked great. The trick here is to use the right size. Use the chart to pick the size that will work best for your body.

The Always Maxi Overnight (check price on Amazonhas wings to encompass the edges of your panty crotch to prevent slipping and stains. Add that to a LeakGuard Core that gives up to 10 hours of protection, and you have an excellent product for postpartum needs. In size 5, for instance, the back is twice as long as the regular Maxi with Wings.

Best Absorbent Pads

Our opinion

Seventh Generation has become ubiquitous in every grocery chain and online. They are known for A+ efforts regarding their products and ecological awareness. These Maxi Pads (check price on Amazon) have no leftovers from chlorinated hydrocarbons including dioxin. There are no fragrances or dyes in this product.

I raise my hand when they call out, “Blondes with sensitive skin to the right.” I find that my Seventh Generation products don’t irritate my skin or that of my Jack or Alice.

In the Maxi Pad department, you might want to wait for a week or so. The pads are ultra-thin, and women report that they are relatively short, so they don’t cover as well in the critical back area. Ladies say they are very comfortable for heavy flows, even calling them pillow-like. Seventh Generation is a good product to use if you are a smaller woman.

Best Maternity Pads

Our opinion

These Natracare Organic Maternity pads (check price on Amazon) are made specifically for new moms. They are extra-long and super-comfortable. They are serious about their organic pledge- even the packaging is 100 percent plastic-free. Of course, the pads themselves are not only plastic-free but have chlorine-free pulp and a certified 100 percent cotton cover. What’s not to like?

Using Natracare, you are kept in comfort while avoiding any unnatural substances whatsoever. The pads are biodegradable and compostable. Natracare would be an excellent pad for the serious-minded ecologist who wants to be in comfort and protected at the same time.

Best Organic Pads

Our opinion

The Organyc pads (check price on Amazonare a feminine hygiene product that is suitable for both menstrual periods and postpartum use, so now you see that you can use menstrual pads just as well as larger postpartum pads. It’s a matter of how heavy your flow turns out to be.

Organyc makes the pads from 100 percent biodegradable and compostable organic cotton. Organyc uses no chlorine in bleaching the cotton. The topsheet, next to your skin, is 100 percent organic cotton with non-woven biodegradable biopolymer on the backsheet. The company touts its products as the only complete line with all-organic cotton and biodegradable. Women with sensitive skin who want to avoid chemicals can find a product here that might meet all their needs, both cleanliness and comfort.

Our fifth choice

Our opinion

These Poise pads (check price on Amazonare not for postpartum bleeding. They are incontinence pads, which means if you have trouble with bladder leakage after your postpartum discharge term, this is the product to investigate.

They offer Poise Ultimate Absorbency, Long Pads to handle gushes rather than drips and leaks. The 3-in-1 protection offers comfort, odor control, and dryness. You can rest assured that you can avoid leaks- the sides have Leak-Block with an Absorb-Loc Core. They are supposed to handle postpartum bleeding or any post-maternity woman who has heavier bladder leakage. This product has a long length for better coverage.

Best Add-On Value

Our opinion

The Kindred underwear (check price on eBay)is explicitly made for postpartum women whether they’ve had a cesarean section or vaginal birth. These panties are made to hold in your abdomen. If you’ve had a C-section, it will keep your abdominal dressings in place. It’s also an excellent cover for your postpartum pads- much better than mesh panties.

The panties keep everything in place. Kindred makes the panty with nylon (95 percent) and Spandex (5 percent), so it will hold your tummy in without being too tight. Snug and secure are the watchwords. You can use these for even a year after delivery. It promises no muffin-top, no bulky bands, and no Velcro. It comes in three colors to match your mood, and three sizes, small through XXX-large.

Our seventh choice

Our opinion

These Ultra Extra pads (check price on Walmartare undoubtedly suitable for heavy menstrual bleeding and can also handle postpartum discharge. They have 9 percent organic cotton and 84 percent plant-based material. Users report that these are the longest pads they’ve ever used, so this will certainly be on many shoppers’ minds.
You need to change these more often because they don’t have much gel inside to absorb large quantities of fluid. That is true of any organic product. Another user reported that this pad is excellent for postpartum use. Price became an issue with some users.

And the winner is…

Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Maxi Pads (check price on Amazon).Seventh Generation’s cache in the organic home products space is bound to attract women who trust their brand implicitly. They have all the features we’ve come to expect from the company: no dyes, no fragrances, and no chlorinated hydrocarbons or dioxin. These are great pads to use after the supply from the hospital runs out. They should take care of things as your discharge becomes a bit lighter in the second week or so. It might work well if you would buy one pack of heavier use pads, then switch to a larger quantity ofSeventh Generation Chlorine Free Maxi Pads for the remainder of the time you need coverage.

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Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, CNM, RN
Reviewed by Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, CNM, RNWritten by Neve Spicer Updated on July 23rd, 2021

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