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After Episiotomy

Your healthcare provider either performed an episiotomy (an incision made to enlarge the opening of the vagina) or repaired tissue that was torn during your baby’s birth. Stitches were used to repair the skin in or near your vagina. The stitches will dissolve on their own within a few weeks. They don’t need to be removed by your healthcare provider.

Avoid infection

Lower the risk of infection by keeping your stitches clean:

  • Gently wipe from front to back after you have a bowel movement.

  • After wiping, spray warm water on the stitches. Pat dry.

  • After urination, it's OK not to wipe. Just spray with warm water and then pat dry.

  • Don’t use soap or any solution except water.

  • Change sanitary pads at least every 2 to 4 hours.

Avoid constipation

Follow these suggestions:

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and bran cereals.

  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day, unless directed otherwise.

  • Don’t strain to have a bowel movement.

  • Ask your healthcare provider about using a stool softener.

  • If you are breastfeeding, ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine.

Ease pain

Try to make yourself more comfortable by:

  • Sitting in a warm 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 to your healthcare provider about the use of an anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen, to ease the pain.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment 

 

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Clots of blood (the size of a quarter or larger) passing continually from your vagina

  • Heavy or gushing bleeding from your vagina

  • Smelly discharge from your vagina

  • Severe pain in the stomach or increased pain near your stitches

  • Fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher or shaking chills

  • No bowel movement within 1 week after the birth of your baby

  • Trouble urinating, or pain or urgency with urination

  • Stitches that come out or pieces of stitches passing from your vagina

 

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