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Laura Riley, MD

When Are Stitches Removed After Birth?

Eager to get those sitches out? Whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section, here's the deal on postpartum recovery.

If you had a vaginal birth and had tearing or an episiotomy, your stitches will dissolve within a few weeks, so no removal is needed.

In the meantime, if they get itchy, use chilled witch-hazel pads or ice packs to soothe the area and do  Kegel exercises to help promote blood flow and muscle strength and encourage healing. And you know that feeding pillow shaped like a doughnut you have? Sit on it. Sigh in relief.

If you had a c-section, your stitches or staples will probably be removed within four to five days after your surgery, usually while you’re still recovering in the hospital. For the most part, c-section incisions are horizontal, but if you’re one of those rare mamas with a vertical cut, the stitches will need to stay in for about seven days or so (well, you wanted to be unique!).

You’ll probably be sore in your abdomen for a couple of weeks after the surgery, and your doctor may prescribe pain medication. If it’s not just soreness but actual pain or a burning sensation, or if you have a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, be sure to call your doctor. Those may be signs of infection and should be checked out. You also don’t want to take any baths, go up and down the stairs a lot or lift anything heavier than your baby while you’re recovering until your doctor gives you the go-ahead to go back to your usual routine.

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