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An episiotomy is an incision between a woman's vagina and rectum that is sometimes made during a vaginal delivery. An episiotomy makes your vaginal opening larger, so your baby can be born faster and more easily. An episiotomy may prevent skin and muscle tears around your vaginal area and rectum.



  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask your healthcare provider which medicine is right for you, and how much to take. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Sit on a cushion: This will help decrease pain.
  • Sitz bath: You may need to soak in a warm tub or use a sitz bath. A sitz bath is a pan that fits on the toilet bowl. You fill it with warm water and sit in it to help decrease pain, swelling, and bruising. Ask how long and how often to take a sitz bath.
  • Wound care: When you are allowed to bathe, carefully wash the incisions with soap and water.
  • Kegel exercises: These exercises help make your pelvic muscles stronger. Tighten and relax the muscles around your vagina. Ask for more information about Kegel exercises.
  • Sexual activity: You may need to wait at least 6 weeks before you have sex.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are leaking urine or bowel movement.
  • You have a hard, painful lump on or near your wound.
  • Your pain does not go away or gets worse, even after you take medicine.
  • Your incision is swollen, warm, or red.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You are urinating small amounts, or not at all.
  • You have pus or yellow drainage coming from your wound.
  • Your stitches come loose, or your wound breaks open.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Episiotomy (Discharge Care)

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