An episiotomy is an incision, made by your OB/GYN during delivery, in the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) to aid in delivery. While it used to be a routine part of delivering babies because it was believed to prevent vaginal tears and to prevent the uterus from drooping after delivery. Healthcare providers now know that an episiotomy does not prevent such problems.
When might my OB/GYN decide on an episiotomy?
- If it appears that you might have an extensive vaginal tear.
- If your baby is in a difficult position – one that will make it a bit harder to deliver.
- If your baby needs a quick delivery.
How can I help the healing process if I have an episiotomy?
Whether you have an episiotomy or a vaginal tear, it could hurt for several weeks or more.
- Use an ice pack on the area.
- Pour warm water over your vulva when you urinate to help prevent stinging.
- Press a clean pad against the wound when you have a bowel movement. You might want to ask your OB/GYN for a stool softener.
- Sit on a pillow or a padded ring.
- Ask your OB/GYN for a prescription medication or an over-the-counter pain reliever.
When should I contact my OB/GYN about my episiotomy?
- If you experience intense pain.
- If you develop a fever.
- If the episiotomy location produces a pus-like discharge.
How long should I wait to resume sex after an episiotomy?
While you should wait four to six weeks after childbirth to resume having sex, it makes sense to wait until the six-week post partum OB/GYN check-up. Talk to your OB/GYN about when you should resume sexual activity.