Need disposable all-cotton post-surgical underwear
February 16, 2011 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Disposable cotton underwear for post C-section -- where to find? NO LATEX!

So, spawn #2 is about half-baked and I, lucky woman, have developed a latex contact sensitivity. Spoke with the ob/gyn this week; a latex-free delivery (C-section or vaginal) and related care is no problem at all, but there are two things the local hospitals can't provide latex-free: the disposable underwear and the compression corset thingie for afterward.

The corset isn't such a problem; last time I was having a humongous non-specific skin allergy reaction (turned out to be the latex!) and just wore the corset over a cotton shirt or whatever, so I can work that out, if there are no sources. But the underwear is necessary.

So here's what I'm after: What they had last time was extremely stretchy (no compression, just loose stretch), very lightweight fabric, came up well above my bloated, post-partum bellybutton, didn't so much have a crotch as an area where the two panels attached since its purpose was basically to hold the lochia pads in place, and were easy to tear away and dispose of. (I could not google up a picture but could identify them if someone else found a picture.) But they must be all-cotton or similar. My googling is failing me and turning up a bewildering array of travel underwear with no fabric content listed.

In the alternative, the midwife suggested I could just get some "cheap, gigantic cotton granny panties" and throw them away, but the lightweight fabric, tear-away ease, lack of compression, and huge giganticness of the disposable panties would be preferable if I can locate them. And I was sure someone on mefi would have some idea where to find such a thing!

No rush, because I'm only half-baked. It's likely to be a C-section, but I'll need them whether it's C-section or vaginal.
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So I was staying at a hotel in Austin with some friends, when I realized that I forgot to pack any underwear. I walked over to the Walgreens (A drugstore chain), grabbed the first pack of "briefs" I could find - I think it was this Hanes 3-pack. 100% cotton and very light-weight. Gigantic does not begin to describe them.

And they only cost 6 bucks for 3.
posted by muddgirl at 2:22 PM on February 16, 2011

Oh, I bought the size reccommended on the label, and they did not compress at all - quite loose to me.
posted by muddgirl at 2:23 PM on February 16, 2011

Also, just realized that you weren't looking for granny panties per se. Ignore me!
posted by muddgirl at 2:24 PM on February 16, 2011

There are a lot of non-latex adult disposable undergarments--I used to have to get them for my Dad--but the ones made by the manufacturers I recall all seem to be made out of ringspun polypropylene. Are you sure the ones you had were cotton? (It is also possible that cotton ones have been phased out since your last happy event, as the price of cotton and cotton processing is way up internationally and has been since the Pakistan earthquakes a while back.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:27 PM on February 16, 2011

Hanes and similar won't work for you; they have latex in the leg and waistbands. OneDerWear does make briefs, which claim both to be "100% cotton" and to have an "elastic band", so I would check that bit out before buying, and the material is in between actual underpants material and the stuff that they make you wear during surgery in terms of thickness and weight. Certainly not compress-y.

Wearing disposable underpants for a trip report = one of my least favorite journalism gigs of the past few years.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:31 PM on February 16, 2011

I know exactly what you're talking about. Kind of like a sheer tube top with a few inch long seam where the crotch is.

I've noticed that my toddler's training pants have the similar tear away aspect on the sides, maybe you could invest in a package of Depends-style adult diapers and see if those would work?

Another option might be calling the hospital and specifically asking what they're called, then calling or looking up medical supply places.
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:32 PM on February 16, 2011

Would nylon be ok?
Comfort Disposable/Reusable Stretch Mesh Underwear
posted by ellenaim at 2:33 PM on February 16, 2011

You can get a 6 pack of cotton briefs at Walmart for 7 bucks. They're the kind I grew up with (my mom had a weird insistence that I only wear all-white cotton granny panties which, let me tell you, makes a kid feel ten kinds of cool), and I assume they haven't changed much since then. At just over a dollar apiece, they might as well be disposable. Heck, I'd even just cut them off of me if I wanted the tear-away effect.
posted by phunniemee at 2:35 PM on February 16, 2011

@TooFewShoes -- yes, exactly what I"m talking about, the sheer tube top thingie. (And depends would be too bulky, the incision has to breathe.)

@Muddgirl -- plain ol' granny panty suggestions are welcome too if they fit the loose, gigantic, cotton criteria ... I may end up having to go that direction!

@SidheDevil -- "Are you sure the ones you had were cotton?" The ones I had last time contained latex, that's part of how I found out about the allergy ... and had a humongous itchy rash covering my entire belly and complicating healing of my incision to boot. It was awesome. The sensitivity's gotten worse since then so I now react faster to latex (it took a few days of constant contact the first time; now it only takes about five hours -- like from a bandaid from a blood draw, which is how we figured out the culprit).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:37 PM on February 16, 2011

...I should have previewed...

As per Sidhedevil's comment above about the latex in the bands, you can cut the band off without them unraveling everywhere. Might even be more comfy that way, too.
(I know because I did that myself. High-rise underpants + nothing but low-rise pants styles = problems.)
posted by phunniemee at 2:38 PM on February 16, 2011

these say they're latex free.

I'm surprised that the hospital doesn't have latex free mesh post-partum undies, they gave me heaps of them after I gave birth.
posted by katypickle at 2:39 PM on February 16, 2011

Yikes! So if polypropylene or nylon mesh that is latex-free is acceptable and the "cotton" isn't a deal-breaker, you've got affordable options.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:50 PM on February 16, 2011

I have no idea on the construction fabric, but my local mothering store sold mesh underpants, that looked very similar to the ones the hospital handed out. Maybe try calling a few local mothering stores and ask if they sell them, and what they are made of?
posted by Joh at 2:51 PM on February 16, 2011

The compression corset is fabulous, wish I'd had one! I had to look it up and it seems like an obvious great thing to have.

Pandeez look like disposable underwear you could try.

And I also hear good things about Belly Bandz, btw.
posted by misha at 3:33 PM on February 16, 2011

The most minor revelation with baby #2 was that there are at least TWO kinds of mesh underpants. The ones with my first were ridiculous, useless and full of enormous holes. The same hospital had these awesome ones this time around. I remember thinking 'why do people like these and take extras home' the first time, but the second type were pretty marvelous and I used them for almost a week. So if there are two kinds I bet maybe there are more. Everything with latex in hospitals is labeled because so many people are sensitive - maybe call the postpartum ward directly?
posted by pekala at 4:13 PM on February 16, 2011

Here are some latex-free mesh postpartum jobs. They claim to be "latex-free mesh" so perhaps you could email them to ensure the entire thing is non-latex?

And here's a latex-free support corset-type thing.
posted by barnone at 5:09 PM on February 16, 2011

Here are other mesh latex-free postpartum underpants. They claim to be washable but at $1.25 a pair, you could also just throw them out for the first few days after birth.
posted by barnone at 5:12 PM on February 16, 2011

Apparently they come in sizes?

You can buy them in bulk! And colors!
posted by barnone at 5:16 PM on February 16, 2011

Thought - could you use surgical gauze tape (I'm not sure the exact name) to tape over the latex band on the inside and thus insulate yourself?
posted by maryr at 7:21 PM on February 16, 2011

A lot of good options, thanks guys! I'll call the hospital to confirm about the lack of cotton underwear (my ob/gyn works very closely with them and are usually correct, but I'll make sure) and then maybe order a couple of the likeliest looking and do a skin patch test to be sure! I'll come back to mark answers. :) (And I'll look at any further posted.)

(Doesn't have to be cotton but my skin is fairly sensitive.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:24 PM on February 16, 2011

I had a 7-inch bikini line incision for a cyst when I was 20. My mom gave me some of her underwear which was about a size too big and all silk-y material. It was wonderful in regards to not bumping against my incision.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:43 PM on February 16, 2011

How about these?

They aren't cheap but they're soft and very 'breezy'.
posted by jaimystery at 12:03 PM on February 17, 2011

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