It's important to be very careful about your recovery after giving birth. You may have experienced tearing and had an episiotomy or some form of perineum repair. Here are some tips on caring for the area and getting it back into shape postpartum.
Perineum repair is done surgically after delivery and normally occurs if there was a tear during labour or if an episiotomy was performed. Even if this didn’t happen to you, perineal pain is a common after effect of a vaginal delivery. Postpartum care of this area is essential to help speed up the healing process and prevent infection or future health problems.
RELATED: What exactly is an episiotomy?
Perineum repair: What to do right after delivery
For the first few weeks after delivery, you may experience perineal pain, especially if you have stitches. A good personal hygiene routine and a few simple remedies can really help relieve the soreness you will feel in that area. Try these tips:
- Wash with warm water after each toilet use. Make sure that your hands are clean when changing your pad.
- Use an ice pack if you feel a lot of discomfort. An antiseptic spray can also be very useful for bigger wounds.
- Make sure you eat enough fibre to avoid constipation.
Perineum repair: Perineal re-education
Perineal re-education refers to the strengthening of the perineum and pelvic floor muscles. This is important for all new mums whether they had a vaginal birth or not. The pregnancy weight is enough to weaken those muscles.
During your post-natal appointments, the doctor should let you know if your perineum has healed properly. Normally, you need to wait around eight weeks before starting perineal re-education. The area needs to be totally healed and any bleeding should have stopped.
Find out what you can do to rehabilitate these muscles on the next page…