How to Take Care of Your Perineum After Birth

By Heidi Gonzales

After giving birth, your perineum may be swollen and sore from stretching. If you had an episiotomy or a tear that required stitches, the pain may be more intense. Taking care of your perineum is essential to prevent infection and promote healing. The following steps can help you heal faster and increase your comfort.

Lying on your stomach or side will be easier than sitting. If you do sit, make sure that you do not drag your bottom across the bed, tub or a chair. It may pull your stitches or irritate the tissues even if you don't have a tear.

Soak your bottom in a clean bathtub. You can add a handful of sea salt to your water to help the tissues heal, but be careful not to use scented soaps or bubble bath.

To minimize your discomfort while urinating, lean forward so that your urine stays away from the damaged tissues as much as possible. Mix some betadine and water in a squeeze bottle and squirt a little on your stitches as you urinate so that it may help minimize the burning.

When you have a bowel movement, place a gauze pad over your stitches and provide a little counter-pressure to help protect them from straining.

You can apply herbal compresses filled with comfrey root and aloe vera ointment to maximize the healing process.

Taking homeopathic arnica pellets can reduce bruising and swelling of the tissues.

If you have stitches, try to minimize big movements like stair climbing.

About the Author

Heidi Gonzales is a midwife, childbirth educator, doula, American Heart Association BLS instructor, author and editor for the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association e-mag. She left the Navy after 10 years to pursue her passion in birth work. She has attended over 60 births in Louisiana and has helped over 150 families through birth consultations. She volunteers as a childbirth educator at a pregnancy crisis center in Louisiana and also as an online career mentor.