Self-Care After Episiotomy
You had an episiotomy or a tissue tear during your baby’s birth. An episiotomy is a cut (incision) made to make the opening of the vagina larger. A tear happens on its own. The provider used stitches to repair the skin in or near your vagina. The stitches will dissolve on their own in a few weeks. They don’t need to be removed by your healthcare provider.
Lower the risk of infection by keeping your stitches clean. To do this:
Gently wipe from front to back after you have a bowel movement.
After wiping, spray warm water on the stitches. Pat dry.
After peeing, it's OK not to wipe. Just spray with warm water and then pat dry.
Don’t use soap or any fluid except water unless your healthcare provider advises it.
Change your sanitary pads at least every 2 to 4 hours.
Follow these suggestions:
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and bran cereals.
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day, unless told otherwise.
Don’t strain to have a bowel movement.
Ask your healthcare provider if you should use a stool softener.
If you are breastfeeding, ask your provider before you take any medicine.
Try to make yourself more comfortable by:
Sitting in a warm, shallow water bath (sitz bath).
Placing cold packs or heat packs on your stitches. Keep a thin towel between the pack and your skin.
Sitting on a firm seat so that the stitches pull less.
Using medicated spray as ordered by your healthcare provider.
Talking with your provider about using an anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen to ease the pain.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed.
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:
Blood clots the size of a quarter or larger that keep coming from your vagina
Heavy or gushing bleeding from your vagina
Smelly fluid from your vagina
Severe pain in the stomach or worse pain near your stitches
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
No bowel movement within 1 week after the birth of your baby
Pain or urgency with when you pee
Stitches that come out or pieces of stitches passing from your vagina
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