You don’t want to undergo a childbirth that will end with you in stitches. But, if circumstances so dictate, then you might have to go under the knife. And, those stitches will take some time to heal, and it will take you time to feel normal again. But, you need to ensure that the discomfort doesn’t last too long. So, here’s what you might want to do about healing your stitches:
The stitches in the perineum area would be bruised or swollen in the initial days. You can alleviate them using ice packs in the first one or two days postpartum. Sometimes, longer ice application can help reduce the swelling. While ice packs or pads are initially offered at the hospital, you can make yours at home. Apart from using ice-packs, you can simply use sanitary pads soaked in water and place them in the freezer for next use. However, you should use it only once and dispose it to maintain hygiene because you might still be bleeding this time around.
2. Pelvic Floor Exercises:
You might be advised to do pelvic floor exercises. It’s important to do them because pelvic floor muscle exercises help heal your stitches fast. You might want to check with your midwife or physiotherapist for guidance if you are not sure how to go about it. These exercises not only reduce swelling but also improve circulation in the perineal area as pelvic floor exercises lift the perineum upwards. Initially, you might think that it will hurt to do these exercises, but as you do them, you will feel surprisingly comfortable. Remember to be gentle, though. Doing the exercises little and frequently instead of going at them vigorously in one go is the key.
3. Ultrasound Treatment:
Ultrasound treatment can give you some relief from stitches. While at the hospital or home, you can have your physiotherapist give you ultrasound treatment to reduce swelling and tenderness around the stitches. Ultrasound treatment employs the use of a cold gel that makes it quite soothing. The ultrasound is applied directly over scar around the vagina. It could be a bit embarrassing, but rest assured, it does not hurt. So you might as well want to try.
4. Perineal Massage:
How about trying the perineal massage from your antenatal classes or literature on pregnancy and postpartum care? You might want to start by massaging the scar gently, then pressing it hard to the threshold level of your pain, then use some lubricant to massage it with. If it pains too much even after a few weeks, you might want to talk to your physiotherapist. A perineal massage is easier after the ultrasound and can be performed at home for speedy recovery.
The concern most women have with stitches is how they could affect their sex lives. Having a scar means that your vagina doesn’t stretch as easily as it should. The discomfort of the scars can force many couples to give up intercourse, while a few couples continue to have intercourse despite the discomfort. You should not feel discomfort around the scars after the intercourse, but if it does happen then it is not a sign of being normal and it is best to abstain. With subsequent intercourse, the pain and the discomfort should lessen, but if it doesn’t improve, then you might have to seek advice and treatment. For the rest, the problems could be as little as sitting comfortable while your underwear rubs against the scars or even going to toilet. But going to the extremes, it might interfere with your relationship with your spouse. So timely care is a must. Seek professional help, should there be a need.