Vaginal stitches can be a nightmare to go through and make it very difficult to care for your newborn baby. I didn’t have them with all my boys, but, I did after my 1st and 2nd sons were born. It was almost impossible to function and get around with them unless I cared for them properly.
The first time around, I didn’t know how to take care of them and was so miserable because they kept swelling up and getting infected! I knew I needed to keep them dry and clean. I knew to use an antiseptic, but, despite my efforts, they still got infected causing so much pain I thought I was going to go crazy.
The second time around, I still had a few stitches, but I’d learned what worked to take care of them and several great ways to offer relief. The stitches will generally take one-two weeks to heal, depending on how you care for them and how severe the tearing is.
That healing time doesn’t have to be dreaded though; if you properly care for your stitches, they actually shouldn’t bother you much at all. They might get uncomfortable at times, but they’re usually not downright painful if they’re taken care of. Here are some great ways you can do that and get relief!
Caring for Vaginal Stitches After Birth
- Keep your stitches clean: keeping your stitches clean is one of the most important ways to avoid infections. Keep them clean by doing the following:
- Don’t use tampons
- Change your pads regularly
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after using the bathroom.
- Shower Daily
- If you need to, take a quick bath with a little antiseptic in the water to help clean your stitches.
- Keep your stitches dry: If your stitches are kept dry, they will heal faster and are less likely to become infected. After you bathe or shower, use a cloth to gently pat them dry.
- Sit on a pillow: It may feel like it’s impossible to sit in a position that is comfortable and doesn’t pull at your stitches. Sitting on a pillow can help quite a bit to keep you comfortable.
- Spend as little time on your feet as possible: I noticed that anytime I was on my feet too much, whether I was just standing, or walking around, my stitches would start to swell up. The more they swell, the more pressure you’ll feel on them, and it can get to the point where it is very painful! Don’t be afraid to ask for help those first two weeks as they heal and stay off your feet as much as possible.
- Wear loose fitting clothing: Tight clothing will make it more uncomfortable to get around and can also prevent air from getting to your stitches keeping them wet and uncomfortable which makes them more prone to infection.
- If you need to use the bathroom, don’t hold it in: I always dreaded using the bathroom after having my first son so I held off as long as I could. What I didn’t realize was that this in itself can cause infections which only make things more painful.
- Don’t strain when you use the bathroom: The first time you have to go after you have a baby is hard. Add stitches to the equation and its downright torture! You can get some relief by taking a clean piece of tissue and holding it gently against the stitches to protect them and stop them from stretching. I promise it will get better.
- Pelvic Floor Exercises: These can help your stitches to heal faster because they’ll increase the flow of blood to your perineum. Try to do several sets throughout the day but be careful as you do, so you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your stitches.
- Drink Plenty of Water and Healthy Foods: Staying hydrated and eating fiber rich foods can help prevent constipation.
- Use Witch Hazel to Treat the Pain: Mix together ½ cup of water and ½ cup of witch hazel. Use it anytime your stitches start to ache or swell up.
- Use Listerine as an Antiseptic: This was literally my lifesaver, I wish I knew about it after my first son! Listerine is a great way to combat infections and I used it every time I used the bathroom after my second son. I didn’t get a single infection because of it! I had used another antiseptic after my first son but it was just painful and didn’t prevent the infections.
To Use the Listerine
- Get a soft paper towel and pour a little listerine on it.
- Gently use the paper towel to clean the entire vaginal area.
- Pat the stitches with it to make sure they’re clean.
- Do this at least four or five times a day after you use the bathroom or if you feel an infection coming on.
How Long is the Bleeding Going to Last?
I’m sorry to say that bleeding is probably not going away anytime soon. Some lucky women only bleed for a week or two, but most will bleed for 6-8 weeks after having a baby! Your body is cleaning out the uterus and the tears from where the placenta was attached to it are healing.
The discharge you’re seeing is called lochia and is a mix of blood, mucus, and tissue from your uterus. It’ll likely be heavy for 3-4 weeks then start to stem off afterwards. Light bleeding will probably continue for another 2-3 weeks afterwards. Be sure to change your pads regularly and avoid using tampons so you don’t get an infection.
Last but Not Least!
In caring for your stitches, don’t be afraid to ask for help so that you can stay off your feet! There is nothing wrong with it and it’ll help you to recover much quicker. If your stitches are starting to swell or holding your baby while walking is too painful, ask your partner or a friend to help you out.
You’ll only need the stitches for about 10-12 days after your baby is born, then, once they’re gone, you’ll feel so much better and be better able to care for your son or daughter.
I wish you the best of luck and if you have any comments or questions you can let me know by leaving me a comment below! Thank you for reading!