Immediately after the Birth
Caring for your perineum after birth
Stitches in the perineum after delivery can cause discomfort to the new mother. They can cause a lot of pain which may interfere in baby care as well. Caring for stitches is therefore important for both the mother and her child.
Good hygiene is extremely important, so change your maternity pads at regular intervals. Special Maternity pads are better than sanitary towels post birth as they are more padded and contain fewer plastics/chemicals.
You must wash the perineal area frequently. For that you can keep a small jug in the toilet, fill it with warm water then pour it gently between your legs while urinating. Taking showers at frequent intervals also helps. Bathe with plain water.
Remedies for Pain
In case of pain and swelling you can apply cold compress on the affected area for about 20 minutes every 2-4 hours. However, cold compresses only remain effective only up to 24-36 hours after delivery. Stitches may also hurt on sitting or getting up from a sitting position. You can try sitting on the padding of your bottom i.e. by squeezing it together before you sit or get up. You can hire special cushions such as the valley cushion or sit on something soft like a pillow. Consider wearing high-waist cotton knickers or disposable briefs instead of your low waist synthetic inner wear. Cotton is a natural breathable fabric, synthetic fabrics tend to cause a build up of heat and sweat.
If your stitches begin pulling or itching on the 2 nd or 3 rd day it could be a sign of their healing or being absorbed. If you feel something isn’t quite right or you feel the stitches are too tight don’t be afraid to get them checked.
It is advisable to take short slow paced walks followed by rest periods. Some doctors advise starting pelvic floor exercises 24 hours after delivery. This increases the circulation of blood, reduces swelling and helps in quick healing. It can be uncomfortable to start with but after a few days the pelvic floor squeeze can ease the pain.
Postnatal sanitary pads can be more comfortable for some women and are also more breathable – they are thicker than normal pads and that can be off putting but many midwives and women claim they help prevent infection. (normal pads have plastic backing which traps moisture and heat)
Witch Hazel Pads – you can buy witch hazel pads online they sold as haemorrhoid relief or you can save money and make your own.
Buy a bottle of distilled witch hazel (sold in most chemists)
Fold a piece of tissue (not toilet tissue as this tends to dissolve), softpaper towel, or soft cotton into the right size square.
Saturate the piece with witch hazel.
Keep them in a sealed plastic bag the fridge/freezer for maximum relief
Place the pad on top of your chosen sanitary pad
Do not use tampons, or scented products until your perineum and any other trauma has healed completely.
Change pads frequently
Fresh air – allow air to circulate freely over the area once a day by sitting on a pad without underwear or lying on a large pad or towel during naps.
Do not dry the area with a hair dryer heated air may promote infection and slow healing.
Arnica – some women report arnica helps with reducing any bruising