Did you know it’s actually rare to get a perineal tear from a vaginal delivery and it only occurs 6 in 100 women. I was one of those 6 women who had a third-degree tear with a minor tear towards the anal and a medio-lateral episitomy and this is my story. A perineal tear also known as a third- or fourth-degree tear happen during childbirth in various ways and mine happened through a vacuum. I was in so much pain after having my baby. I couldn’t get out of bed, walk or even sit up without my husband’s assistance. The only way to describe my pain was how it made me shake uncontrollably. I went to see my OB-GYN 2 weeks postpartum because the pain wouldn’t subside, however, all I was told was that time will heal. So, I took it upon myself to do my own research and found some proven methods that helped me cope from the pain.
- Pain meds – make sure to ask for them! After childbirth I was only given 5 mg oxy and 1 Tylenol every 4-5 hours. This didn’t do anything for me, and I was in so much pain. It was not until after I spoke to some friends a few weeks later in which they told me that I should’ve asked for stronger pain meds. So, I called my doctor right away to dose up my pain meds and immediately felt better.
- Sitz bath – my doctors and nurses never informed me to do this, but this is something you will want to do. A sitz bath is basically soaking your vaginal/bottom area with warm water. You would place the sitz bath on top of your toilet. I was told by a nurse over the phone that the hospital should’ve given me a sitz bath to take home especially with my condition, but I never got one. So, make sure to ask your hospital before purchasing one! If you decide not to purchase one you can always use your bathtub like me, however, make sure to ask someone to clean your tub very well before using because you don’t want your vaginal/bottom area to get infected. Then add warm water no more than a few inches where the water is only touching your vaginal/bottom area. The only down fall of using the bathtub verses the sitz bath is you must get in and out of the bathtub which was painful for me. I soaked myself for 20-30 minutes at a time and did this 2-3 times a day or whenever the pain got bad.
- Padsicles – these are pads lathered with witch hazel and aloe vera gel that you put in the freezer. Super simple to make and you can buy everything from your local store, I purchased mines through Target. If you are unsure how to make them, there are tons of YouTube videos out there. These padsicles helped me healed so much quicker and the cold pads was soothing.
- Herbal Perineal Spray by Earth Mama – this spray is amazing, not only did I healed quicker by using it, but it just helped soothe the vaginal/bottom area. I used this every time after I went to the bathroom. It is best to place in the refrigerator, so it always stays nice and cold.
- Most importantly just give yourself time and grace. It is true that “time heals” our bodies are pretty amazing, and they will eventually go back to normal. Remember to also give yourself grace because you just went through a pretty traumatic thing so it’s okay to cry (a lot) and give time to be by yourself. Accept help from family and friends and your job is to rest and heal.
I would love to hear your story and what helped you recover from a perineal tear?
Photographer: Susan B. Photography