As you heal after a vaginal delivery, the discomfort should slowly improve. Listening to your body and trying not to over-do will make it an easier and faster process.
How to ease discomfort and help the healing process:
- Sit on a pillow or a pillow ring.
- Swollen or bruised tissues around the bladder and urethra may make urinating difficult and painful. Keep a squeeze bottle in the bathroom. Fill it with warm water and squeeze the water over your vulva when you urinate.
- Use pain relievers and stool softeners prescribed or suggested by your OB/GYN.
- For a bowel movement, press a pad or a washcloth firmly against the wound as you bear down. If you are having trouble having a bowel movement, use a recommended stool softener!
- An ice pack on the wound, or between a sanitary napkin and the wound may also help with discomfort.
What if I had an episiotomy?
If there is the need for a wider opening for the baby’s head during delivery, the OB/GYN may need to make a surgical cut at the opening of the vagina. It is called an episiotomy and it may be an option to help in delivery if it appears that you might have an extensive vaginal tear, if your baby is in a difficult position or if your baby needs a quick delivery.
Will I have a vaginal discharge?
Yes, and it is called lochia. For the first days after delivery, you can expect a bright red, heavy flow of blood. That will gradually change in color to pink, brown, yellow or white, and the flow will become more watery.
Large sanitary pads are the best protection to use; do not use tampons.
What about afterpains?
You might have contractions for a few days after delivery. They are your body’s way of compressing blood vessels in your uterus to prevent excessive bleeding. They feel like menstrual cramps and your OB/GYN can recommend a pain reliever, if necessary.
Hemorrhoids are stretched and swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum. They sometimes develop during pregnancy or after childbirth. You can soak in a warm tub to help ease the discomfort. Your OB/GYN may recommend a topical hemorrhoid medication, if necessary.
When should I contact my OB/GYN?
Any of the following symptoms may be a reason to contact your OB/GYN:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding.
- Foul smelling vaginal discharge.
- Fever – 100.4F or more
- Fever and tender abdomen
- Symptoms of a urinary tract infection: a strong urge to urinate; a burning sensation while urinating; having frequent yet small amounts of urine.