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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

An episiotomy is an incision between your vagina and rectum made during a vaginal delivery. An episiotomy makes your vaginal opening larger. This allows your baby to be born more easily and quickly. An episiotomy may prevent skin and muscle tears around your vaginal area and rectum.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have sudden trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or obstetrician 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 incision breaks open.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • 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.


You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider 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.


  • Sit on a cushion to help decrease pain.
  • Take a sitz bath. Fill a bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. You may also use a sitz bath pan that fits over a toilet. Sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times a day, or as directed. The warm water can help decrease pain and swelling.
  • Care for your episiotomy area as directed. When you are allowed to bathe, carefully wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Do not put anything in your vagina for 6 weeks. This includes tampons, douching, and sexual activity.

Follow up with your doctor or obstetrician as directed:

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

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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.

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