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Postpartum Perineal Care
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Postpartum perineal care is care for your perineum after you have a baby. The perineum is your vagina and anus.
Care for your perineum:
Healthcare providers will give you a small squirt bottle and show you how to use it. Do the following after you use the toilet and before you put on a new pad:
- Remove the soiled pad
- Use the squirt bottle to rinse your perineum from front to back while you sit on the toilet
- Pat the area dry from front to back with toilet paper or a cotton cloth
- Put on a fresh pad
- Wash your hands
Ask your healthcare provider about these and other ways to decrease perineal pain:
- Sitz baths: Healthcare providers may give you a portable sitz bath. This is a small tub that fits in the toilet. Fill the sitz bath or bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. Sit in the warm water for 20 minutes 2 to 3 times a day.
- Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your perineum for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or as directed.
- Medicine spray, wipes, or pads: Healthcare providers may give you a medicine spray or wipes soaked with numbing medicine to decrease the pain. Pads that contain an herb called witch hazel may also help reduce pain. Use these after perineal care or a sitz bath.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have heavy vaginal bleeding that fills 1 or more sanitary pads in 1 hour.
- You have foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
- You feel weak or lightheaded.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You have large blood clots or bright red blood coming from your vagina.
- You have abdominal pain, vomiting, and a fever.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.