Perineal Care After A Tear
Perineal Care After A Tear
Tearing is often at the very top of our clients’ list of concerns when it comes to giving birth, and we are frequently asked what can be done to prevent it from happening. While there are some tips and tricks that may decrease the chances of perineal tearing or the degree of the tear (like pushing in an upright position, for example), sometimes tears just happen.
It’s normal, but we know it can also be pretty uncomfortable, so here’s our simple guide to caring for your perineum postpartum and keeping comfy while you heal.
STEP ONE: REST
It goes without saying that activities should probably be limited postpartum, but this is especially true if you are dealing with a painful perineum. Resting, especially in reclined or side-lying position, can help with recovery since these position keep pressure off of the affected area.
STEP TWO: SIT ON A DONUT
For sitting, consider investing in a donut pillow! It’s a pillow, often inflatable, with a hole cut out of the middle (hence the name) so that you are sitting on your thighs and buttocks without also having pressure applied to everything else. (P.S. These pillows are great when dealing with hemorrhoids, too!)
STEP THREE: WARM RINSE
Before each bathroom trip, fill a peri bottle with warm water—after you go, use the bottle to gentle rinse the area, then pat dry. This will be much more comfortable than attempting to wipe, and cleaner, too. (These are frequently provided by the hospital, but if you find yourself headed home without them, Fridababy makes a version you can usually grab at a Target near you.)
STEP FOUR: BLOW DRY
After bathroom breaks and baths or showers, pull out the blowdryer! Keeping the area dry will help with healing, and the blowdryer provides a towels-off (thus less irritating) method that ensures the area is really dry before you cover up.
STEP FIVE: SITZ (IN A) BATH
So many people find relief in a sitz bath, which is a warm (not hot!) bath that cleanses the perineum. Whether you choose to purchase a sitz kit or simply run a shallow bath in your tub, a sitz bath can be used multiple times a day to soothe any pain and itching you may be experiencing as your perineum heals. Some people add epsom salts and herbal teas to their sitz baths to boost its healing impact, too! Before utilizing this option, it’s a good idea to run your plan past your medical provider to make sure it’s safe for your individual recovery needs.
Taking care of your perineum is just one more way to practice self-care in the postpartum period, and the better you care for it from the get-go, the sooner you can focus all of your time and attention on those sweet baby snuggles.
Whether you’ve been down this road before or you’re caring for your perineum for the first time, we hope that some of these tips help in your healing!