9 ways to heal your vagina after an episiotomy following a vaginal birth

Here are some precautions you need to take post a vaginal delivery and episiotomy.
Pregnancy and labour can induce a lot of stress and pain in a woman, and one of them is to undergo an episiotomy, a cut or an incision made from the vagina to the rectum of a woman during the second stage of labour during a vaginal birth. During labour, the uterus contracts itself to allow the baby to come out through the vaginal opening. However, there can be times when a doctor or your healthcare staff might need to make an incision to make your vaginal opening a little larger to ensure smooth delivery. Episiotomy could be painful and a little difficult to deal with postpartum. Moreover, the incision might take some time to heal. Here is how you can treat your episiotomy wound post-delivery:

1. Keep the area clean and dry: Remember, the vaginal area is supposed to be self-lubricating. This is a little worrisome as that can lead to bacterial build-up in the area and lead to infection or set-up a stage for one. So use cotton towels to wipe clean the area from back to front cautiously after each time you use the rest room to release yourself. If you feel moist down there, go to the wash room, wash the area and wipe it clean again. Use a dry towel for this each time.

2. Allow fresh air in: Now the episiotomy wound needs some fresh air too. But this isn’t possible throughout the day so at night try sleeping without your innerwear. This will serve as an inlet of fresh air for your wound and help it heal faster.

3. Take your medicines on time: One thing that can save you from the aches and pain of an episiotomy is the timely medications as advised by your doctor which is usually a paracetamol. But beware of over-the-counter medications post delivery as they could lead to other consequences.

4. Be cautious while moving around: Take extreme care while sitting and getting up from a chair. As any force exerted could send out stinging pain in the vaginal area which could make it worse. Always lower your knees first before you try to sit and then rest your bottoms, while getting up do it in a slow motion manner. If sitting for too long makes you uncomfortable, use a cushion to counter the soreness.

5. Use sanitary pads: Even if lochia or vaginal bleeding stops before your wound heals, still use sanitary napkins. This will help to absorb blood if the wound starts bleeding and save you from the stains in your innerwear.

6. Keep your nails short: This is really important as you can hurt your wound while applying the analgesic creams down there. Yes you will be given few creams to apply there and you have to keep your hands really clean to touch the sensitive area. Always wash your hands and pat dry before applying the creams. If you wish you can use disposable gloves every time you touch there.

7. Use an ice pack: Cold packs have always been a good way to deal with surgical wounds, especially in the private areas. In case using an ice pack, becomes too cumbersome, opt for the chilled hazel pads and place them on a sanitary napkin and put them on. This will help you soothe the wound faster.

8. Soothe yourself during urination: Urinating amidst an episiotomy wound could be painful. To reduce the pain and discomfort keep pouring warm water on your vulva while urinating.

9. Avoid constipation: Pressure during a bowel movement could make the wound become more painful. Watch your diet carefully and include a lot of fibre to avoid a bout of constipation. Alternatively, use a clean cloth and press on your wound while bearing down a bowel movement.