How to give proper care for your perineal area after birth
To say that the female body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy and after birth is true. However, it can also seem like an understatement. After birth, the body would (and is continuing to) have gone through so many changes that, sometimes, women say they feel like a whole new person. No other body part needs more TLC after childbirth than the perineal area.
What is the perineal area?
Loosely speaking, the female perineal area is the space “down there” where the private parts are. Strictly speaking, the female perineal area is the space between the anus and the vulva. The perineum is the region of the body between the pubic arch (pubic symphysis) and the tailbone (coccyx). The word itself comes from the Greek term perineos, perinaeon, or peri which means around, and inein, which means to defecate or discharge.
Afterbirth Perineum Care Set - 2 x Ice Packs£19.99
This is our most highly rated ice pack - with good reason! The afterbirth perineum care set does exactly that, ice packs for rapid swelling and inflammation reduction and the spray that keeps you clean and refreshed. More details below.View Product
How is the perineal area affected during pregnancy?
Usually, by the third trimester of a pregnancy, the baby has gained a lot of weight and is continuing to grow. This makes the baby drop lower into the pelvis. The added pressure can often lead to swelling of the genitals and perineum during this stage of the pregnancy. Combined with the increased blood flow in and around the pelvic region to support the growing baby, the perineal area, especially the vagina, may significantly swell. In the later stages of pregnancy, the perineum starts to stretch also in preparation for childbirth.
How is the perineal area affected after childbirth?
During the process of childbirth, the perineum gets stretched to make room for the baby’s exit. As the baby gets pushed or birthed out, the perineum can sometimes tear. Especially during a woman’s first vaginal birth, tearing in the perineum or labia (the folds of skin around the vagina) is quite common.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, around 40 to 85 percent of women have tearing during a vaginal delivery. About two-thirds of these women need stitches for damage repair.
What is episiotomy?
In order to keep the tearing in control and to lessen the chances of the vaginal tear being ragged, the doctor may opt to do a surgical cut to the perineum. This is what is known as an episiotomy. It provides more room for the baby to pass through without causing severe tears.
Previously, it was believed that an episiotomy wound heals better than a natural or spontaneous tear. However, more recent research suggests that an episiotomy may even increase the risk of infection. The rates of episiotomy are currently dropping. If you do not wish to undergo episiotomy during your child birth, you have every right to refuse it. It is highly suggested that you speak with your gynecologist or physician before you give birth.
Whether you receive an episiotomy or not, your perineal area is still bound to feel discomfort after childbirth. It’s bloodied and bruised after childbirth, so it needs the best TLC possible.
How to care for the perineal area after birth
Use a donut pillow or padded ring
As you can imagine, the perineal area is in great deal of pain and discomfort after childbirth, so the last thing you need is to put pressure and weight on the region when you sit or lie down.
Donut pillows or padded ring pillows are a must-have for all women who’ve just given birth. These are usually inflatable pillows that are shaped like a cylindrical donut. The space in between or the donut hole allows space for the perineal area not just to get breathing room but also space to heal.
Be sure to have one as new mothers will spend most of their time sitting down for feeding and caring for the baby and resting.
Make cleaning and washing easy
If the perineal area will be so affected and wounded after childbirth, one of the concerns of every new mother is how they will wash and keep the area clean without inflicting further pain. Luckily, a perineal ice pack and a bidet spray bottle are on hand to provide support and care for washing down there.
This tandem is a must-have for every mother who has just gave birth. The perineal ice pack, through cold therapy, will help reduce swelling in the perineal area, and because of the cold temperature, it will also provide cooling pain relief. The bidet spray bottle allows you to wash in the toilet without having to contact the perineal area with your hands or toilet paper.
This recovery care kit is every new mother’s best friend after giving birth. Be sure to bring your kit when you head to the hospital!
Change pads often
After delivery, the female body will produce a vaginal discharge called lochia. Perineal pads are often worn after delivery to absorb the blood and discharge, which is expected to last anywhere from six to eight weeks. Be sure to change and wash often during this time to avoid infection, and to also ensure fast wound recovery in the perineal area.
To help decrease pain in the area, you can soothe the soreness by taking a sitz bath. A sitz bath is a type of hydrotherapy done by sitting in warm, shallow water. It soothes pain, itching and other discomfort in the anal and genital areas. Especially when you can’t yet take a full shower or if it’s difficult for you to do so, sitz baths will help you feel refreshed. Be sure to change your pads after a sitz bath.
You may also like
Make sure you’re not constipated
When your anal and vaginal area is sore from childbirth and cuts, constipation is not your friend. We’re sure you can imagine the pain and the possible rupture it can bring when you have to exert much effort. Take lots of fibre through fruits and vegetables or fibre supplements. Drink lots of fluid, much more than the usual eight glasses a day. Take natural laxatives if you must—just don’t overdo it. You will want your bowel movement as soft or normal as possible during the time that your perineal area is healing.
Take it easy when resuming sexual activity
There really is no right time or set amount of time when one can resume sexual activity after birth. It’s a case to case basis and you will need to play it by ear or see how it goes. If you really must, do take things slow and use lots of lubrication during sexual intercourse so as not to re-open wounds in the perineal area.
We hope we’ve given you helpful ideas how to best care for your perineal area after birth. If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message!
Learn more about easy, affordable solutions for pain & recovery.
So you just hit your elbow really hard—the pain is through the roof and you don’t know what to do. If this incident has you rubbing elbows (and not in a socially graceful way), then read on. We’ll...Learn More
Also known as “piles”, hemorrhoids are quite common and can affect up to 5 percent of the general population, especially those over the age of 50. Although both men and women can be afflicted, it’s been found...Learn More
To say that the female body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy and after birth is true. However, it can also seem like an understatement. After birth, the body would (and is continuing to) have gone...Learn More
Wrist injuries can happen even to the most professionally agile beings. From renowned tennis players, golfers, boxers, weightlifters to office workers, typists and landscapers, it seems no one can escape from this overuse or traumatic injury. It...Learn More
Have you got one hand in your pocket, and the other one’s giving a “I surrender” sign? If you find your hands crippled from arthritis pain, please don’t lose hope. Yes, some things naturally come with age...Learn More
From health conditions to personality and the future, it seems that our hands can be used as indicators of many things. If they’re painful, swollen or inflamed, however, it can only mean one thing: there’s something wrong...Learn More
Signs and symptoms of the most common arthritis types and how ice packs and finger exercises can help
Creaky, aching and swollen joints are the most common symptoms of arthritis. In the early stages, your arthritis may only cause a mild, burning pain in one of your joints. Over time, arthritis can worsen and may...Learn More
The hand is an intricate and integral part of our lives and is very sensitive. Thus, an injured hand can really interfere with our daily lives. A quick and successful recovery after hand surgery depends greatly on...Learn More
They say that you can tell a lot about a person’s character from their hands, but ask any rheumatologist and it’s likely that they’ll be able to tell more than just your character from your hands. It...Learn More
Need a quick remedy for swollen hands? This article has some quick and easy at-home tips to help you treat your hands
Hand swelling occurs when there is fluid build-up or inflammation of the tissues or joints in the hand. Hand swelling, also known as oedema, can also be caused by serious infections, trauma and other abnormal processes. Whatever...Learn More