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Caring For Vaginal Stitches After Delivery

4 min read

Normal vaginal delivery is what most of the pregnant women wish to have. But the vaginal birth renders the vagina swollen and sore. According to obstetricians one in every three prim gravidae or first time mothers, usually tear their vaginal wall during normal delivery. Perineal stitches are needed to avoid the further tear and ascending infection. For some women, episiotomy is also done.
Caring for vaginal stitches

  • Will I Need Stitches After Vaginal Delivery?
  • In What Circumstances Will I Get A Tear During Vaginal Delivery?
  • 12 Tips To Take Care Of Vaginal Stitches After Delivery

Will I Need Stitches After Vaginal Delivery?

That truly depends on how your birthing experience goes. Your baby will pass through an opening in the vagina and the back passage. Though this gets stretched and wide as you prepare for labor, sometimes, a baby may need more room to be born. In such a case, the perineum stretches beyond its limit and causes tears, which may need stitches. Mostly, these tears are small and may be left as they are to heal naturally, but some may need stitches. Additionally, if a cut is made in the perineum to enable the baby to be born (episiotomy), stitches will be required. Skin deep tears are quite common, and heal on their own. However, tears that extend to the muscles and the skin, or those that are more severe and deep will be required to stitch. Rarely, tears stretch to the muscles of the anus, occur, which will not only need stitches but also a lot of care.

In What Circumstances Will I Get A Tear During Vaginal Delivery?

Though tears of extending beyond the muscles and towards the anus are quite rare, yet the below scenarios may make you more likely to get a severe tear:

  1. This is your first baby
  2. The baby is born with the use of external instruments like forceps
  3. The baby weighs more than 4kgs- Click here
  4. The baby is born in a back to back position
  5. Your mother or sisters have had tears

After a vaginal delivery, your doctor will ask you to keep your stitches clean and dry, and not spread your thighs apart. Plus, to minimize the strain during urination and stool, you will be advised certain medications. You must not lift heavy weights and avoid strenuous activity so as to not cause any complications in the vaginal stitches.

12 Tips To Take Care Of Vaginal Stitches After Delivery

There will be pain, there will be lots of postnatal bleeding and there will be a tiny, little life who depends on you entirely. Too much of too much? Well, yes, but you must hang in there and be strong. You will not even remember these pains after a few months. The healing process takes up to 2-3 weeks post the birth, and the below tips would prove to be helpful.
Vaginal stitches
Here are 12 useful tips to hasten the healing process

  1. Apply few drops of lavender oil or tea tree oil on the stitches and bruises. The light lavender oil has amazing antiseptic properties and help in soothing the sore skin
  2. To minimize pain and discomfort use ring cushion filled with air, foam or water for helping you sit comfortably
  3. Cold therapy is also helpful in prompt pain relief. You can use ice packs to reduce swelling and pain around the stitches. Keep ice packs on the skin for 20 minutes and off the skin for 10 minutes. Repeat it several times during a day
  4. Clean the stitches with plain non-fragrant soap and warm water
  5. Another effective method is to sit in warm water tub for 15-20 minutes four to five times a day. Pat the area with linen clean cloth or cotton ball
  6. You should expose the perineal stitches to atmospheric air at least 15-20 minutes a day
  7. Use clean water to wash when you urinate
  8. Use commodes for toilet purposes and avoid Indian style toilets. Keep constipation at bay, get some stool softeners prescribed by your doctor
  9. Eat balanced diet rich in fiber and drink a lot of water
  10. It is good to squeeze buttocks tightly together when you sit or get up from your seated position. This eases discomfort arising from your stitches
  11. Fever is sometimes common, however, immediately consult your doctor immediately if your body temperature rises above 104.5°
  12. Personal hygiene is very crucial as your perineal stitch area is quite vulnerable to get infected by notorious disease-causing microorganisms

You should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water before and after going to washroom or changing maternity pads. Use medicated hand-washes to cut down the risk of transmitting infection to your tiny baby. Hand-sanitizers are also good for maintaining good personal hygiene. Pelvic floor exercises can be helpful if your perineal muscles are badly injured. Gently walk around the hall twice a day. This will increase blood circulation in the pelvic area and will expedite the process of healing.
Click here to read about perineal stitches and here to know more about episiotomy. To read more about the changes and complications after a vaginal delivery, click here.

Call The Doctor

If you experience chills, fever, redness, pain, swelling or any discharge from the incision or stitches, you should immediately call your doctor for further intervention.

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