How Should You Cure an Episiotomy?

An episiotomy carries certain risks and healthcare professionals should ask for the consent of the future mother in order to carry it out.
How Should You Cure an Episiotomy?

Last update: 16 September, 2019

It’s normal for a pregnant woman to have certain concerns when she goes to see her consultant. She’ll often hear terms that can sound quite frightening, and episiotomy is one of them. We’ll explain how to cure an episiotomy in this article, as well as what it’s for.

The doctor should always be careful to answer a mother’s questions and explain the terms to her clearly when talking about the episiotomy, so that the patient understands everything during the consultant’s interview and the physical evaluation.

The episiotomy is a surgical incision that a doctor will make during labor to widen the vaginal opening. They’ll carry it out a few seconds before the baby comes out. What they do is make a cut in the perineum; that is, the area between the vulva and the anus. The intervention requires stitches and subsequent treatment.

The objective of the incision is to prevent the tearing of the vaginal muscles. It isn’t as serious a wound as the one that results from a cesarean section, where successive layers of tissues are cut open in order to remove the baby, but it is in a delicate area.

We should be clear that, even though the doctor may suggest or recommend it, the patient will always have the final say. If you decide to consent to this, you must sign a consent form which will explain all the details about the process, its meaning, and even the subsequent care that will be required.

Episiotomy characteristics

After the baby leaves the vagina, the doctor proceeds to apply stitches to the wound. This procedure isn’t performed in all vaginal births, but only when necessary. After all, the ideal situation is that the woman will be able to give birth naturally.

The healthcare professional may consider that, if they don’t carry out the episiotomy, then the subsequent tear may be greater, or the baby may suffer. Because of this, you must consider all the advantages and disadvantages.

How Should You Cure an Episiotomy?

The episiotomy may require between two to five stitches, and this procedure is known by the name of episiorrhaphy.

It may occur that, even without an episiotomy, you’ll need stitches. This often happens due to tears that occur naturally in some cases, and will ensure that no future intervention is necessary.

In both circumstances, before applying stitches, the doctor must perform repair work on the vaginal area, as well as on the muscle and skin. He’ll then proceed to apply the stitches, using a synthetic material which will be absorbed by the skin when its task is complete.

This is slightly different in an episiotomy, although it’s very likely that the stitches will come out by themselves. If this doesn’t happen after ten days – which can also happen quite frequently – the doctor will remove them. This is a quick and easy process.

The stitches may not fall out by themselves, or be reabsorbed by the skin, because the thread used was too thick, or because the wound hasn’t dried out properly.

How to cure an episiotomy

When the intervention occurs in a hospital, then health personnel will carry out the necessary aftercare. They’ll also give you precise instructions on how to continue to treat and cure the episiotomy at home. The main secret to a successful outcome is proper hygiene.

After giving birth, and for two or three days afterwards, the vagina emits a flow called lochia, which is like a very heavy period. Having the wound and stitches simultaneously with the lochia creates great discomfort at first. To cope with it, you should carefully follow medical instructions in order to cure the episiotomy correctly.

It’s sufficient to wash the area twice a day (but always after a bowel movement). The skin’s natural properties will take care of the rest and prevent infections. To wash the episiotomy wound, you should use a neutral soap. It isn’t a good idea to use a bathtub; you should carry this out in the shower.

After washing the area, you should ensure that it’s completely dry. You should never rub the wound with a towel, but rather give soft dabbing actions. Airing the wound will also help it to dry better. Another tip is to urinate leaning forwards, so that the urine doesn’t come into contact with the stitches.

You should change the antiseptic pads often, in order to keep the area as clean as possible. In this sense, there are special pads used in obstetrics that will help the area breathe better.

What happens if it hurts?

Usually, after a few days, you’ll no longer feel the stitches, except for a slight discomfort or tightness. To maintain good air circulation around the episiotomy wound, wear loose cotton clothing. In case of inflammation, you can apply ice wrapped in a towel. You can also use a pain reliever if the discomfort persists.

Finally, the patient who goes through the healing of the episiotomy shouldn’t overexert herself nor stand for long periods of time.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.