Episiotomy or Perineal Tear

Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your episiotomy or perineal tear. Your caregiver may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your caregiver if you have any problems or questions after your episiotomy or delivery. An episiotomy is a surgical cut (incision) made in the perineum. The perineum is the area of skin between the vaginal opening and the anus.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • The first day, put ice on the episiotomy or torn area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

  • Sit in warm sitz baths as directed by your caregiver. This can speed up healing. Make sure the water is not hot enough to cause burns. The use of sitz baths may be continued for several days, or as directed by your caregiver.

  • Keep the skin dry and clean. Use a towel to lightly clean the area of the episiotomy or tear. Avoid rubbing.

  • Wash your hands before and after applying medicine to the episiotomy or tear area.

  • Put about 3 hemorrhoid pads in your sanitary pad. The witch hazel in the hemorrhoid pads helps with the discomfort and swelling.

  • Get a peri-bottle to squeeze warm water on the perineum area when urinating. Pat the area to dry it.

  • Apply a numbing spray to the episiotomy or tear area as directed by your caregiver. This may help with discomfort.

  • Sitting on an inflatable ring or pillow may provide comfort.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Do not have intercourse or use tampons until your caregiver says it is okay. Typically, you must wait at least 6 weeks.

  • Keep all postpartum appointments.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You need stronger pain medicine.

  • You have painful urination.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have redness, swelling, or increasing pain in the episiotomy or tear area.

  • You have pus coming from the episiotomy or tear area.

  • You have a fever.

  • You notice a bad smell coming from the episiotomy or tear area.

  • Your episiotomy or tear opens.

  • You notice swelling that is larger than when you left the hospital in the episiotomy area.

  • You cannot urinate.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.