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Postpartum Perineal Care

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

What is postpartum perineal care?

Postpartum perineal care is care for your perineum after you have a baby. The perineum is the area between your vagina and anus.

How do I care for my 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

What can I do to decrease perineal swelling and 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.
  • Apply ice on your perineal area for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel.
  • Use medicine spray, wipes, or pads as directed. 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.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have blood clots that are bigger than a quarter.
  • You have heavy vaginal bleeding that fills 1 or more sanitary pads in 1 hour.
  • You have foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
  • Your pain does not go away or gets worse.
  • You have a fever higher than 100.4°F (38°C) and chills.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.