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Postpartum Perineal Care

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What is postpartum perineal care?

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

How do I care for my perineum?

Caregivers 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 pain?

Ask your caregiver about these and other ways to decrease perineal pain:

  • Sitz baths: Caregivers 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: Caregivers 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 caregiver?

Contact your caregiver 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.

When should I seek immediate 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.

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 caregivers 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.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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