Caring for Stitches After Vaginal Delivery

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Unfortunately, a lot of us ladies have to have stitches after our first baby.

And it is not fun. At all.

When I had my baby,  I had three very large cuts to prevent me from tearing. And I’m not talking little slices, these were several inches long. There was nothing I could have done more to prevent them, I did the exercises and everything to prepare for labor, but my body just would not open wide enough on its’ own.

Your case probably won’t be quite as extreme as mine. But stitches are no fun, no matter how many you’ve got. Here’s how I survived mine, and tips to help you survive yours!

(P.S. Save this even if you haven’t had your baby yet! It is better to prepare for the worst while expecting the best 🙂

Witch Hazel Pads

This is my NUMBER ONE topical pain reliever. I used witch hazel pads like these. Layer two or three of those on top of your pad or icepack every time you go to the bathroom.  They burn at first but the marvelous cooling that follows afterward is so worth it! Trust me on this!

Dermoplast Spray

Same thing here. Dermoplast is essential. It will burn at first, but the numbing afterward helps A TON. I went through a couple of cans of this. Do not cheap skate with this, apply as much as you can! (Also make sure to get the blue lid Dermoplast, not the red lid. Very important!)

Ice Pack Diapers

Hospitals truly give out the best ice pack diapers, so stock up on as many as they will give you. Once you’ve run out of those, I’d suggest trying this kind. I had to use regular ice packs and it was not fun at all (in fact I just gave up after a day or two). But ice packs will help the swelling down there and also ease the pain of sitting down. Use them!

Take Your Painkillers

Do not skip one pill. Ever. The times I was in agonizing pain were the times I’d forgotten my meds. Seriously set 6 different timers for all the pain meds you need to take that day. After my first agonizing episode I did this and I was so grateful for it afterward!

Caring for Stitches After Vaginal Delivery
mmmCCC / Pixabay

Use Your Arms to Sit Down (Not Your Legs)

This one is tricky, especially being weak after labor. Do not attempt to squat onto chairs or your bed. It hurts, and you will quickly find this out if you try it. Lower yourself onto surfaces using almost entirely your arm muscles, and be especially gentle when sitting onto soft surfaces that will ride up in between your legs. Sit on the back of your butt like you’re slouching. It’s okay to slouch for a week when you hurt that badly.

Take Ample Time to Go to the Bathroom (#1 & #2)

The first time you pee is going to hurt badly. Just accept that and plan for it. Give yourself plenty of time to go to the bathroom, and get as comfortable as you can on the seat. It’s okay if you can’t sit on both cheeks at first, I was only able to lean on one for the first couple days. Then take deep breaths, focus on breathing in and out very slowly, and relax. Let yourself relax into going to the bathroom. This will be the same case for going #2. Do not rush it, do not force it. Relax and let it happen. Your bladder will get full enough that it will come out if you relax.

Put Weight on Your Hip When Sitting

Do not try to scoot on your bum with stitches. Ever. Take your time and sit onto your hip on the hospital bed. Then rolling and scooting will be your friend. But don’t sit directly onto your bum!

Take Sitz Baths

Now I know it’s hard to sit down, especially to the ground. Have someone help you sit into a bath with epsom salt and alternate hot and cold water. This helps the swelling immensely and is also very relaxing.

Caring for Stitches After Vaginal Delivery
TonyZhu / Pixabay

If you can:

Have your man (or someone helpful) stay home to help you for at least a week

It is so helpful to have someone to hand you the baby so that you don’t have to get up. If you can’t do this, have both you and baby camp out in bed with a stash of food close by. Don’t get up or down anymore than you have to!

Use a wheelchair

My baby was in the NICU the first couple weeks after she was born, so I had to be mobile. If you have to be mobile, get a wheelchair. It will make your pain down there so much more manageable.

Stay in one place as long as possible

Don’t be in a rush! Take your time! The only thing worse than stitches are split stitches.

When Feeling Better

No fast movements for at least three weeks! I’m serious! You could split a stitch and that hurts extremely, extremely bad. Please don’t do it.

Remember, you need the swelling to go down to feel better. So do everything you can to make that happen! You can do this, you will survive the stitches and you will be able to move normally again!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel M

How did you survive stitches? Tell us in the comments below!

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