Whether or not you had an episiotomy or stitches from a tear, you'll feel sore or swollen for a few days to weeks after giving birth. Experts say you'll heal faster if you:
- Use an ice pack for 24 hours, then take frequent warm sitz baths (you should receive one from the hospital; they're also available at your local pharmacy).
- Keep the area clean and apply witch hazel or a topical anesthetic.
- Do frequent Kegels to improve circulation and speed healing.
- Drink lots of water to keep your urine diluted so it doesn't sting.
- Don't sit on an inner tube to avoid pain -- this pulls stitches apart. Instead, choose a firm seat and do a Kegel before you sit down.
- Don't baby the area; the sooner you move around, the faster your pain will decrease.
Adrienne B. Lieberman, a childbirth educator, is coauthor of Nine Months and a Day (Harvard Common Press).
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.