An episiotomy is a minor surgery that widens the opening of the vagina during childbirth. It is a cut to the perineum, which is the skin and muscles between the vaginal opening and anus.
Most women heal without problems, although it may take many weeks.
Your stitches do not need to be removed. Your body will absorb them. You can return to normal activities, such as light office work or house cleaning, when you feel ready. Wait 6 weeks before you:
To relieve pain or discomfort:
You can do many other things to help speed up the healing process. These include:
Take stool softeners and drink lots of water. This will prevent constipation (not being able to move your bowels). Eating lots of fiber will also help. Your doctor can suggest foods with plenty of fiber.
Do Kegel exercises. Squeeze the muscles that you use to hold in urine for 5 minutes. Do this 10 times each day throughout the day.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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