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Perineum Care After Delivery

The perineum is the area between your vagina and rectum. For comfort and to prevent infection after giving birth, use a peri-wash bottle to clean the perineal area in a front-to-back direction after you go to the bathroom or when your vaginal discharge is heavy. Continue to use the peri-wash bottle until bloody vaginal flow has decreased. You may also wash the area with soap and a soft washcloth as you shower or bathe.

On the first day, you may apply ice packs to the perineum to reduce swelling and pain. After that, you may find that soaking in a clean bath tub for 10 to 20 minutes several times a day helps relieve pain and discomfort. Your doctor may prescribe creams or topical anesthetics, such as spray or jelly, hydrocortisone or vitamin E cream.

Vaginal and episiotomy stitches will dissolve during the healing process and do not need to be removed. You should, however, limit your activity, particularly lifting, for at least two to three weeks. You may be more comfortable if you lie down rather than sit for prolonged periods of time, elevate your feet while sitting, and, when you sit, use cushions.

Be sure to call your doctor promptly if you notice any of these signs:

  • Increasing pain
  • Redness
  • A foul odor in the perineal area
  • Fever