By Frida Mom
What You Need to Know and How Long It Takes to Heal
No one likes to talk about it, but the state of your vagina after childbirth can be rough. But we’re a big army of tear survivors: an estimated 85% of women suffer some degree of perineal tearing during their first childbirth, and more severe tears can require stitches.
Stitches itch, pull, tighten and are a general pain from vag to tush. But have no fear. It may only take a couple of weeks to start feeling better for a 1st-degree tear, and up to 12 weeks for a 3rd or 4th degree. You'll get through it if you have a really good postpartum care routine lined up. Here are a few pointers from our "Tear Team" to get your bottom back in tip-top shape.
Forget the toilet paper.
Running a wad of dry, linty toilet paper across our swollen, stitched-up vag is too coarse for comfort. So for the first few weeks after childbirth, your peri bottle will be your best friend. But don’t settle for some hospital freebie or generic squirt bottle. Our Upside Down Peri Bottle is designed with an angled neck so you don’t have to stick your whole hand in the toilet or hover precariously over the toilet, putting undue pressure on your stitches. The water comes out with gentle precision and gives you a continuous stream for efficient cleansing. Use it every time you go to the bathroom to keep your wound clean and infection-free.
Keep your vag on ice.
You know when you twist your ankle, it swells up, and your doc tells you to ice it to get the swelling down and promote healing? Same idea, but for your vagina. Aside from the stitches, you’re going to have some pretty significant swelling in the vaginal area after childbirth. This is normal but also painful and uncomfortable.You need Instant Ice Maxi Pads. It’s instant cold therapy locked in an absorbent maxi pad that will deliver 20 minutes of sweet relief. It also has an adhesive strip to keep in place, because no one needs to deal with a wayward maxi.
Embrace the Witch Hazel magic.
It’s not actually magic, but sure feels like it. Witch Hazel will be your best friend during your postpartum recovery. Here are our favorite ways to use Witch Hazel for your wound and stitches care:
• A liner made with medicated Witch Hazel like our Witch Hazel Perineal Cooling Pad Liners can be layered on top of your pad to provide cool healing support and relief from swelling. Bonus points: Witch Hazel fights bacteria and helps prevent infection.
• Back in the day, sprays with lidocaine were the go-to. They numb the area, yes, but they mask the pain rather than promote healing. Plus, it’s not recommended to use sprays on broken skin or open wounds. So your best bet is to have a Witch Hazel foam party. A few generous pumps of Witch Hazel Perineal Healing Foam right on top of your pad or liner can provide immediate relief from pain, itching, and swelling, while also promoting tissue healing. And it won't soak into the pad like other Witch Hazel sprays.
Give yourself a good soak.
Contrary to popular lore, you don’t have to avoid the tub or a sitz bath soak if you have stitches following delivery. In fact, your doctor may recommend that you bathe more often than you normally would to keep your stitches clean. The caveat being, you’ll need to avoid your usual soaps in the bath. But just because you can’t sink into a tub full of suds doesn’t mean you can’t take care of your vag. Our Sitz Bath Tablets are pre-measured, quick-dissolving tablets with zero prep. They contain Witch Hazel, Epsom salt, and healing herbs to keep stitches clean and free of bacteria. You can drop your butt in a sitz bath (one tablet will dissolve in 1.5L of warm water), and if you’re looking for a full-body soak, use one tablet per 1.5L of water in the tub (that’s about 3 tablets per gallon).
Have a seat, gently.
You’d be amazed by how many everyday things you can’t do when you’re healing a stitched-up vag. You’ve probably seen those donut cushions in the tush care aisle at your local drugstore and thought you'd never need one. Guess what? You might need one now. But like, a discreet one that also helps your sore perineum. The Perineal Comfort Cushion offers two-fold relief: it pads your seat so you’re not putting a lot of pressure on your butt, and it also has a cold therapy side with reusable cold pack insert to reduce pain and swelling. It folds up so you can throw it in the diaper bag and be on your way. Even after your tear heals, those postpartum hemorrhoids may be calling out for the cush from time to time.