Are you looking for ways to care for your episiotomy or vaginal tear after your vaginal birth? You’re in the right place! I unfortunately experienced an episiotomy and let me tell you, it was not fun. Obviously, as you can imagine. I’m going to share with you these seriously helpful tips on how you can care for your vagina after childbirth so that you can heal faster and smoothly. Yes girl!
When I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t know what a vaginal tear or episiotomy was. My doctor never explained it to me or gave me a heads up about it. Which was sad because I would have prepared myself mentally. If it wasn’t for my cousin telling me about his girlfriend’s birth story and how she had an episiotomy during birth, I would have been totally clueless.
It’s so important to ask your doctor questions about every possible thing that could happen to you during labor. It is also important to read these episiotomy and vaginal tear tips after birth to heal postpartum.
What is the difference between an episiotomy and vaginal tear?
An episiotomy is basically an incision or cut made between your vagina and rectum (called third degree tear) and this is done intentionally by your doctor to help make your vagina opening larger. There are different reasons as to why you may need one, your baby is larger than your vagina can stretch, if your doctor is using forceps or vacuum to deliver your baby or if your baby is under stress and your doctor needs to delivery your baby quickly.
A vaginal tear on the other hand is a tear between the vagina and rectum but not intentional or done by your doctor. A vaginal tear is very normal for first-time moms to experience!
Some risks of having an episiotomy:
- pus in infected area
- urinary incontinence
- painful sex
- vaginal discharge
Best episiotomy and vaginal tear tips after birth for postpartum recovery
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1.Do not touch it
Whatever you do, do not touch your stitches or just simply do not touch that area at all. Touching it may cause it to develop an infection and that’s the last thing that you want to have. Also, touching your stitches may cause one of them to come off and it’s really not a sanitize thing to do. It’s always advised not to touch any scar and just let it heal naturally.
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2.Use a peri-bottle
A peri-bottle was my best friend for a couple of days after giving birth. It’s usually provided in the hospital for you to squirt your private area with and make sure it’s clean. You can use it after you use the bathroom to clean yourself, since you can’t use toilet paper just yet; it may irritate your tear. These peri-bottles can also be helpful when you are taking a shower, making it easy to squirt and clean your privates as well. These are very useful, so I would suggest you to ask your nurse for extras, so you can take home.
3.Damp cloth with soap
When you are taking a shower I suggest and advise you to use a damp cloth with a small amount of soap( not scented) on it. This is what I used every time I took a bath, only used it on my healing tear for a couple of days only. So, I would simply and carefully pat onto my healing area making sure it was clean. Using your hands may irritate it and may cause you to have pain as well. You want to be as gentle as possible and without having a possibility of your stitches coming off.
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A dry cloth is helpful to dry your healing vagina after you take a shower. Again, slowly pat your area dry and take your time with it, do not rush because you might hurt yourself in the process.
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5.Do not bend over or lift heavy objects
Another episiotomy and vaginal tear tips is to try your best not to put pressure on your healing tear or episiotomy because you want a fast and pain free healing experience. Do not bend over to get something from the floor because your stitches may come off and then it will not be pretty for you.
I was always so careful not to lift heavy objects or bend over because I was scared that my stitches would come off and then I would have to go back to the hospital to put more stitches on. I did not want that at all, so mama always be careful and ask for help if you need it.
6.Lay down or sit on top of a pillow
When you are recovering from an episiotomy or vaginal tear, it is always advised to rest as much as you can. Find a comfortable chair to sit on if your are breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby. Maybe putting a comfortable donut tailbone cushion pillow under your chair or sofa can help soothe the pain a little bit. Try not to walk a lot (I know this is hard!) it’s for your own good, walking makes you rub back and forth on your thighs and can irritate your healing tear. Do not do too much the first couple of days that you are healing, take it easy and let others help you.
7.Do not have sex
It is recommended by your doctor to wait 4 to 6 weeks before having sex with your partner after giving birth. I will suggest you to ask your doctor in this case because you are recovering not only from child birth but from a vaginal tear or an episiotomy. Your doctor may suggest for you to wait a couple more weeks than the “normal” time for you to start having sex again. If you have sex before the suggested waiting time, you are only making your healing time take longer, will be exposing your tear for infections and stitches coming off sooner than it should. Always, consult your doctor with any questions that you may have.
8. Tucks with Witch hazel
Witch hazel pads are great because they help reduce the swelling down there and also helps to fight bacteria. Just what we need! You can definitely add them to your cooling pads along with these Tucks (cooling pad) for the ultimate relief! Use it with your sanitary pads.
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9.Do not look at it
I don’t know why anyone would want to look at that but I would simply tell you to fight the urge. Unless of course you think something isn’t right down there, you think you may be bleeding or anything of that nature. first, I would recommend for you to call your doctor immediately for further instructions. Now, if you are not experiencing anything out of the ordinary and are simply curious as to how it looks, then girl, don’t! Just don’t, you will be scar for life. Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic but I don’t thin k you will want to look at your vagina in that state. It won’t be pretty and no I didn’t look at mine either, I just let it be and let it heal in private, haha!
10. Sitz bath
Creating a Sitz bath is a great way to find relief from your vaginal tear. You can easily use this Sitz bath, add warm water on it, place it on top of the toilet and sit on it. Your privates will be submerged in it, helping it heal faster!
11. Large maxi pads
Since you are going to bleed the minute after you give birth. It’s so important to stock up on large maxi pads. You can be expected to bleed several weeks after giving birth, so these maxi pads will literally be your friend.
If you have constipation, it’s okay to use stool softeners to help with bowel movements. Eating food rich in fiber helps as well.You do not want to strain or push too hard while recovering from an episiotomy postpartum.
12. Perineal cooling pad
I wish I had this when I was recovering from my episiotomy or perineum tear. It would have been a game changer. So, this cooling pad reduces swelling and itching. As well as helps with the pain. It’s washable and reusable! Buy it here!
Some women also numbing sprays like Dermoplast for itching and pain relief.
13. It will take time
The healing process from a vaginal tear or episiotomy takes time and patience. It will not take longer than 2 weeks that’s for sure, so you can breathe now. But it does take time for your body to feel and maybe look back to where it used to be. Just relax, enjoy being a mom and time will definitely 100% heal. You can ask your healthcare providers if they give you the green light to take painkillers.
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You will be given pain medication while staying in the hospital and maybe your doctor will even prescribe some for you to take home. So, it’s not all bad. In my case, I only took pain medication once being in the hospital and didn’t take any once I got home. I’m not too keen on taking pills, but that’s just me 🙂
These are my episiotomy and vaginal tear tips. Hope you found it help 🙂
Have you had an episiotomy or vaginal tear? How was your recovery?