Coping with the Pain (Perineum Swelling, Episiotomies, & Tears)

Mom Testimonial: "I got to experience a real sitz bath while in the hospital. The nurses were so kind -- even bringing me a scented candle, heating the room prior to my use, and helping me arrange my robe so that I would not become chilled. That 10 minutes was so very comforting. I wanted to go back again and again! My husband decided to try and duplicate it as much as possible in our home tub -- running hot water in first to heat the surface, then filling it with a few inches of nicely, warmed water. Those few minutes were soothing to my stitches (I had a tear during delivery) and rejuvenated my spirit."

Hair Dryer: This advice is probably not listed in the "Product Uses" of your hair appliance -- but many women have learned to appreciate this trick. (There is some debate about blowing dust on open wounds, so if you have stitches you may prefer a different method of pain relief.) After finishing using the bathroom, your peri bottle, sitz bath, etc., train your hair dryer on the area for 2-3 minutes. This is a technique that most definitely is awkward at first but the testimonials on relief would be enough to sell you on trying it yourself. There is some current controversy on whether it could dry out the area too much, but it seems that the experts can agree that using the low heat or cool setting for a period of up to 3 minutes maximum is safe. To accomplish this, stand or even sit on a towel on the floor with your legs apart and knees slightly bent. Hold the dryer approximately 6-8 inches away from your vagina and then turn it on. Do not stay in one area for long but move back and forth, just as you would for drying your hair.

Mom Testimonial: "I would have never thought to expect my hair dryer to be used like this. My gynecologist was female and had experienced birth (along with a painful episiotomy) herself. She used it and highly recommended it. I can now do the same. This was my second birth experience and my healing time from my stitches was much easier this time around. You will feel awkward at first but once that warmth hits that area you won't care!"

Pain Relievers: Be certain to ask your doctor, but most women are able to take Tylenol for pain relief as directed. A tip for breastfeeding mothers -- while Tylenol is considered safe for lactating parents, it is always best to take any medication immediately after nursing to allow it to become less absorbent by your infant.

Mom Testimonial: "If the Tylenol doesn't touch the pain, ask your doctor or caregiver if Motrin is safe for your situation. I found alternating the two those first few days helped me."

Herbal Remedies: Try dabbing the area with Witch Hazel or Calendula. Also recommended are compresses soaked in lavender or chamomile oil to help reduce inflammation. If you are interested in more options or perhaps to learn about aromatherapy, please ask your midwife -- or better yet? Ask Our Midwife!

Mom Testimonial: "My midwife recommended a lotion that I could then apply 2-4 times per day. This was created by combining several essential oils such as Chamomile, Calendula, and other oils. Ask for the directions from your midwife."

Fluid Intake: It was important during pregnancy, but consider it even more so now. Up that fluid intake as much as possible. Think gallon, not quart! Consider this as an incentive -- The more you drink, the more diluted your urine will become. This, in turn, means less acidity, resulting in less burning! Other good choices are sports drinks such as Gatorade. These will help replenish those electrolytes lost in childbirth. The bottom line? Cheers!

Mom Testimonial: "I finally learned to take this advice after my third child. The difference is really worth feeling like you would float your very own Titanic. Seriously, there is much less burning (one of my personal complaints) and I believe it also helped my battle against constipation."