6 Perineal Care Tips For Women
Worried about a Perineal Tear or Episiotomy during childbirth?
You are NOT alone, it is quite common 3/4 women will experience some kind of laceration following a vaginal birth. There are many types of lacerations that can occur during a vaginal birth. Tears can not only occur on the perineum but can also occur inside the vagina or other parts of the vulva, including the labia. Tears vary in their severity and whilst all will require care and patience to heal, not all require immediate medical attention.
The different types of lacerations include:
- First-degree. Small tears affecting only the skin which usually heal quickly without medical attention.
- Second-degree. Tears affecting the muscle of the perineum and the skin that often require stitches.
- For some women (approximately 3.5%) the tear may be deeper. Third or fourth degree tears extend into the muscle that controls the anus. These deeper tears need repair in an operating theatre.
- An episiotomy is a cut made by your doctor into the perineum and vaginal wall. These are only done if your baby needs to be born quickly or if you are at risk of a serious perineal tear.
If you do suffer a laceration during your birth experience do not worry – it will heal. Often new mums just carry on through the pain and discomfort and forget about themselves but to look after your new baby it is important that you look after you too!
Taking care of your perineum post-partum
- Take Regular Pain Relief – particularly in the first couple of weeks post-partum – start with Paracetamol and Nurofen and if this isn’t enough to manage your pain talk to your doctor
- Use ice to help with pain and suffering – *Hot Tip* small hot and cold packs placed within your post-partum disposable underwear are perfect for this
- Try to eat a healthy and balanced diet to help with repairing tissues and reduce constipation, take Metamucil regularly if you struggle with your bowel movements
- Drink plenty of water and use Urals to alkaline your urine
- See a Woman's Physio ASAP‼️
- And most importantly, practice good hygiene
Perineal Care and Good Hygiene
Taking the time to practice good hygiene while struggling with the demands of life with a newborn can be hard but it is so important. Simply applying water to the site twice a day will help with healing, and if you can manage it mixing a little Witch Hazel and Arnica in with your water will help with inflammation and bruising. You can apply by dabbing gently with a damp cloth or if you want a cleaner solution using a water bottle - but the angle can be tricky. A neater solution is using a Peri Bottle. Peri Bottles are uniquely shaped to be held upside down, with a narrow-angled neck for a continuous and targeted stream of relief. See our shop if you are interested in learning more about our Peri Bottles.
If you feel concerned with your recovery or pain increases please see your Midwife or GP straight away.