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Paula Kashtan

Healing After a Vaginal Birth

Still sore down there after a vaginal birth? Find out how you can speed up the healing—and how to deal with the discomfort in the meantime.

We feel your pain. The days after delivery can be pretty tough, especially if you had an episiotomy or tear. Here are some ways you can speed up healing:

• Keep your perineum (the tissue between the vagina and rectum) clean and dry.

• Change sanitary pads every four to six hours, or whenever you go to the bathroom.

• Always move from front to back when removing pads or wiping, and wash your hands before and after. These steps prevent bacteria in your stool from entering your vagina (yick!). If it hurts to pee or wipe, use a squirt bottle of warm water to spray the area while you go, and pat dry with gauze after.

• Sitz baths (a few inches of warm water in the tub) are also helpful. Try to take one after every bowel movement. Cold water can also be soothing in the first few days—try gradually adding ice cubes as you sit in the tub.

• Don’t forget your Kegel exercises—they’ll help tighten your muscles, improve circulation and ultimately reduce the pain. Donut pillows, sexy as they are, can also help your hurting hiney.

Photo: Trinette Reed