If you’ve had stitches after tearing or an episiotomy, bathe the area often in clean warm water to help it to heal. Have a bath or shower with plain warm water. After bathing, dry yourself carefully.
In the first few days remember to sit down gently and lie on your side rather than on your back. Pelvic floor exercises can also help healing. You can read about pelvic floor exercises in the article .
If the stitches are sore and uncomfortable, tell your doctor as they may be able to recommend treatment. Painkillers will also help. If you’re breastfeeding, check with your doctor or pharmacist before you buy over-the-counter products, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Usually stitches just dissolve by the time the cut or the tear has healed, but sometimes they have to be taken out.
Going to the loo
At first, the thought of passing urine can be a bit frightening because of the soreness and because you can’t feel what you’re doing. Drinking lots of water dilutes your urine, but if you really find it difficult to pass urine, tell your doctor.
You probably won’t need to open your bowels for a few days after the birth, but it’s important not to let yourself become . Eat fresh fruit, vegetables, salad, bran and wholemeal bread, and drink plenty of water.
Whatever it may feel like, it’s very unlikely that you’ll break the stitches or open up the cut or tear again, but it might feel better if you hold a pad of clean tissue over the stitches during a bowel movement. Do not strain to pass a bowel movement.
Piles (haemorrhoids) are very common after delivery but they usually disappear within a few days. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, salad, wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals, and drink plenty of water. This should make bowel movements easier and less painful. Don’t push or strain because this will make the piles worse. Let the doctor know if you feel very uncomfortable and they will be able to give you an ointment to soothe the piles.
Bleeding after the birth
After the birth, you will bleed from your vagina. This will be quite heavy at first, which is why you’ll need super-absorbent sanitary towels. Do not use tampons until after your postnatal check because they can cause infections.
While breastfeeding you may notice that the bleeding is redder and heavier. You may also feel cramps like period pains, known as ‘after pains’. These are both because feeding causes the womb (uterus) to contract.
Gradually the bleeding will become a brownish colour and may continue for some weeks, getting less and less until it stops.If you find you are losing blood in large clots, you should save your sanitary towels to show the doctor as you may need some treatment.
Find out about after the birth.