Private parts after birth

What does it feel like after you've birthed a baby vaginally? Unfortunately, things don’t bounce back immediately after you leave the hospital, and you’ll probably be uncomfortable for a few weeks after delivery.

Here are a few things you may experience and ways to make yourself feel better.

Vaginal soreness

Episiotomies or spontaneous tears during delivery are often the cause of prolonged discomfort. You can expedite the healing process by applying ice packs and sitting carefully on cushions or padded rings. Washing your private areas with warm water during and after you use the toilet may also help relieve some of the discomfort. Squirt bottles may also help.

Vaginal discharge

In the days after delivery, you’ll probably see a bright, bloody discharge with a heavy flow. Over the next few weeks, it will gradually transition to a less frequent yellow or white discharge.

Most of what you see will be totally normal, but if you have a fever or notice the discharge has an unpleasant odor, talk to your healthcare provider. Use sanitary napkins rather than tampons to reduce the risk of infection, as tampons are not recommended.

Trouble with urination

Childbirth can affect the tissue around your urethra and bladder, which might mean you’re peeing too much or not enough. Look for signs of urinary tract infections, specifically pain during urination or unusually frequent trips to the bathroom.

Leaking urine is common for up to 3 months after delivery, so doing kegels to tighten your pelvic muscles is always a good idea. You should call your healthcare provider if you feel you aren't urinating enough. You should also talk to your healthcare provider about any leakage of urine or stool that you notice.

Perineum pain

The area between your vagina and anus stretches a lot due to pressure from childbirth. If you have stitches from a tear, your recovery will be a bit more painful. To reduce discomfort, you can apply ice packs and make sure to keep the area clean with squirt bottles and cotton soaked with witch hazel.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo

Read more
  • DE Rizk, MN Abadir, LB Thomas, F Abu-Zidan. "Determinants of the length of episiotomy or spontaneous posterior perineal lacerations during vaginal birth." International urogynecology journal and pelvic floor dysfunction. 16:5 pg 395-400. Web. 1/20/2005.
  • G Carroll, L Mignini. "Episiotomy for vaginal birth." Cochrane. Cochrane, Januari 21 2009. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Postpartum care: After a vaginal delivery." Mayo Clinic. Mayo, 3/24/2015. Web.
  • "Postpartum Care." Core Physicians. Core Physicians, n.d. Web.
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