Stitches After Normal Delivery

The excitement of a new baby being born can also leave many questions for new moms. One concern is how to deal with stitches after normal delivery. During delivery, your doctor may have to give you an episiotomy. This can sometimes extend the time you need to rest after delivery and you will need to know how to care for them. This article explains in detail why stitches are important and what to watch out for.

How to Take Care of Stitches After Normal Delivery

After your baby is born vaginally, your perineum is going to need a little more care than you may be used to. If your baby was considerably large, you may be really sore just from the birth process. Even if you had a six pound baby, you will still feel pretty sore for a while.

If you had an episiotomy or even just a small tear, the doctor most likely gave you a few stitches to help you heal. They will be sore and after a few days, may start to itch as the area heals. This is all normal and not to worry. As long as you are giving yourself good self-care you should be just fine. Here is what to do about them:

1.      Use Your Peri Bottle

That squirt bottle in your hospital room, it is for your peri area. Just fill it up with warm water and rinse yourself after you use the restroom. You may find it hard to wipe with toilet paper the first few days. Rinse with the bottle and pat yourself dry with the paper. This will also help prevent bacteria build-up that could lead to infection. You can use it while you pee to prevent the urine from stinging the open area and use it again after you go to clean yourself.

2.      Use Witch Hazel to Cool the Burn

Witch hazel is a godsend to new moms. You can mix your peri bottle with ½ water and ½ witch hazel and use it every time you pee, or use it whenever you need to cool the burn.

3.      Apply Iced Pad

You can wet a pad and place it in the freezer. Apply it to your peri area for 20 minutes or so. This will help cool down the area. Another idea is to soak a pad in witch hazel and place it in the fridge.

4.      Use a Stool Softener

Many women with stitches after normal delivery are afraid to have a bowel movement. With your doctor’s okay, use a stool softener to help things come out a little easier.

5.      Keep Stitches Clean and Dry

Clean yourself a few times daily even if you have not used the bathroom. Bacteria can start growing pretty quick, especially if you are bleeding pretty heavily. Go in the bathroom and rinse with your peri bottle and pat dry.

More tips to help recover stitches after normal delivery as well as general recovery:

How Long Does It Take the Stitches to Heal?

Stitches in normal delivery usually heal pretty quickly if you care for them well. When you deliver a baby vaginally, your perineum is stretched to the limit. The bigger the tear or cut, then your healing time may take longer.

When you have a normal incision that cuts through both muscle and the top skin layer, stitches typically take around two to three weeks to heal. The stitches doctors use for this will dissolve by themselves. The pain may subside after about a week, but could take as long as a month.

A severe tear that needs stitches may be painful for a month or longer. The healing time may take six weeks and needs to be kept very clean to prevent infection. The doctor will recheck the stitches at your six-week checkup and let you know if they are totally healed. For some women, it may even take up to eight weeks for them to heal.

You may also notice some urine or bowel leakage with stitches after pregnancy. The muscles in the area will still be very loose and Kegel exercises will help with this issue. This can last until your perineal muscles are back in tone, or it may continue for years after childbirth. Talk to your doctor at your six-week checkup if you have any concerns about incontinence.

Are There Any Other Things to Watch Out For?

An episiotomy is an incision that cuts through skin and possibly muscle. When this happens, this leaves the body open to complications. They are actually pretty rare with episiotomy if cared for properly, but it is good to know what to watch for with stitches after normal delivery.

Complications With Episiotomy

  • Bleeding
  • Tearing that continues up into the anal canal
  • Infection
  • Pain with sex
  • Pain in the perineum that lasts more than six weeks
  • Hematoma (a blood filled pocket)
  • Latex sensitivities

Things You Should Report To Your Doctor

  • Excessive bleeding from episiotomy
  • Foul odor from perineal area
  • Severe pain not relieved by rest or medication
  • Chills and fever

What About Sex?

Honestly, not everyone waits the full six-weeks to have intercourse even though their doctor tells them to. There are no set rules other than the “advised” six weeks and what your body tells you. Understand that if you have sex too soon you may rip a stitch open. If you try to have sex before sixweeks and it is unusually painful then stop and give yourself more time. If you are able to have intercourse, make sure you clean yourself well afterwards.

Here’s all you need to know about vaginal birth problems and how to solve these problems. 

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