Caring for yourselfCare of your stitches or episiotomy

Taking care of yourself

  • Your stitches, episiotomy site and hemorrhoids may take several weeks to heal. It is normal to feel soreness for the first few days after delivery.
  • A tugging or pulling sensation is normal two to three days after delivery.
  • It is normal for a small stitch to be passed in the course of bathing or taking a sitz bath.
  • Rinse off the perineal area after urinating or having a bowel movement. For one to two weeks, use warm water in your “Peri” squirt bottle given to you in the hospital.
  • Always wipe yourself from front to back.
  • Change your sanitary pad at least every four to six hours.

Suggested Comfort Measures

  • Two to four times a day, take a warm sitz bath or utilize the Hygienic from your hospital stay.
  • Use topical creams, sprays or ointments.
  • Use pre-moistened witch hazel soaked pads.
  • Use stool softeners, as suggested by your doctor.
  • Use a soft cushion.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long period of time. This will help avoid putting a strain on your stitches or episiotomy. Shift your position frequently while nursing or feeding.

Care of your abdominal incision after c-section

  • Your incision may take four to six weeks to heal.
  • Sutures or staples may be removed prior to discharge, or your doctor may have you return to his or her office for their removal during the first week after delivery.
  • You may shower and get your incision wet. Use only warm water and mild soap on your incision.
  • Avoid tub baths, hot tubs or swimming for the first four weeks after delivery.
  • Dry your incision gently.
  • It is normal for your incision to feel numb and may itch as the healing process begins.
  • It is normal for the “steri” strips that were placed over your incision to fall off during the first week.
  • DO NOT apply any lotions or creams to soften the C-section scar, as they may interfere with wound healing.

Vaginal Bleeding and Uterine Involution

Vaginal Bleeding/Perineal Care

  • Your vaginal discharge immediately after delivery will be red in color. It will change from red to pink to white, and could last for four to six weeks.
  • You will have a normal increase in vaginal discharge around 10-14 days after delivery which will be bright red in color. It will taper to a normal menstruation period. Vaginal bleeding may increase with breastfeeding or heavy physical activity. Remember, the more active you are the heavier your bleeding will be.
  • Your menstrual bleeding may begin from four to six weeks after delivery or not for several months, especially if you are breastfeeding. No matter when you get your first period after delivery it may be heavier than your normal flow.
  • Sanitary pads should be used for the first six weeks after delivery.
  • DO NOT douche or use tampons for six weeks after delivery or as instructed by your doctor.

Uterine involution

  • Your uterus will be firm and can be felt in the abdomen (about the size of a grapefruit) for 10 to 14 days after delivery. It returns to pre-pregnancy size in four to six weeks.
  • You may experience cramping or contractions which commonly are called “after-birth” pains.
  • These can cause discomfort for a few days after delivery.

Suggestions to relieve cramping/after-birth pains

  • Empty your bladder frequently
  • Lay on your abdomen
  • Take pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen prescribed by your doctor.