A woman goes through great physical and emotional stress during the birthing process. Much attention is given to the pain during labor, that some women don’t expect postpartum pain to cause too much discomfort. Women usually complain of the discomfort due to vaginal tearing or an episiotomy. An episiotomy is an incision that is performed by the doctor in order to facilitate passage of the baby. Although the incision may be small in size, it may cause too much discomfort because the perineum is an extremely tender area. The discomfort may interfere with a woman’s usual activities, and even maternal and child bonding. In order to promote comfort and healing during this time, here are a few tips:
1. Apply cold therapy after delivery. Ice packs are necessary during the first 24 hours after delivery because it will lessen perineal edema. It also reduces pain and promotes healing. Be certain that you wrap the ice pack with a towel before applying, in order to avoid thermal injury.
2. Administer hot therapy 24 hours after delivery. Cold therapy during this time is no longer therapeutic. In order to promote healing, circulation to the area needs to be increased. Hot pack applications promote increased circulation thereby promoting comfort and healing. Again, make sure it is lined with a thin towel to prevent occurrence of burns.
3. Perform Kegel’s exercises. Some women find that if they perform perineal exercises three to four times a day greatly relieves their discomfort. The exercise requires that you contract and relax the muscles of the perineum as if interrupting the flow of urine. When you contract the muscles surrounding the vagina, you need to hold it for approximately 3 seconds before you relax. This should be repeated ten times each interval.
4. Sit down properly in order to prevent further stretching. Squeeze your buttocks together as you sit down. If you find this uncomfortable, you can use a doughnut-shaped pillow to relieve the pressure.
5. Use witch hazel preparations. Although this is generally used to provide comfort for hemorrhoids, it also relieves perineal pain due to its soothing effects. The pads can be tucked between the perineum and sanitary pads to promote comfort.
6. Squirt warm water over the perineum during urination. Women may find urinating after delivery to be really painful. By squirting warm water over the perineum, it greatly lessens the burning sensation thus promoting relief.
7. Stay well hydrated. This will promote proper bowel function in order to avoid straining during a bowel movement. Straining will only aggravate the problem because it will stretch the episiotomy scar. Adding fiber rich foods to your diet may also be helpful.
8. Perineal hygiene is very important. In order for your incision or wound to heal faster, it is best to stay clean to avoid postpartum infections. If you notice that your pain has intensified, or if it has become swollen with pus-like discharges, notify your doctor right away. These are signs of infection and your doctor may prescribe treatments necessary to fight off infection.
9. Ask your doctor as to which medications you can take to relieve pain. Some doctors may prescribe topical medications in the form of gels or sprays. Be certain that you know how to properly apply it in order to attain pain relief.
A woman may experience various discomforts even after delivery of her baby, but with proper care, the road to recovery will not be long. If you were able to surpass the challenges of labor and delivery, then definitely you will be able handle this stage as well.