Advice on what to expect if you have had postnatal stitches or are experiencing constipation after the birth of your baby with information on treatment and remedies available.
If you've had stitches, bathing the area will often help with healing. Use a bath, shower or cotton wool and plain warm water. After bathing dry the vulva carefully. Pelvic floor exercise can also help healing.
If the stitches are sore and uncomfortable, tell your midwife as she may be able to recommend treatment. Painkilling tablets will also help. If there is swelling and bruising, it may be possible to have some ultrasound treatment from the physiotherapist. Remember to sit down gently and lie on your side rather than your back to start with.
The thought of passing urine can be a bit frightening at first because of the soreness and because you can't seem to feel what you are doing. Sometimes it is easier to pass urine while sitting in a bowl of water or a warm bath. The water dilutes the urine so that it does not sting. If you really find it impossible to pass urine, tell your midwife. Also drink lots of water to dilute the urine.
You probably will not need to open your bowels for a few days after the birth; but it is important not to let yourself become too constipated. Eat fresh fruit, vegetables, salad and brown bread and drink plenty of water. This should mean that when you do open your bowels you will pass a stool more easily.
Whatever it may feel like, it's very unlikely that you will break the stitches or open up the cut or tear again, but it might feel better if you hold a pad of clean tissues over the stitches when you are trying to pass a stool. Avoiding straining for the first few days. Sometimes stitches have to be taken out, but usually they just dissolve after a week or so by which time the cut or tear will have healed.
Author : Department of Health: The Pregnancy Book 2004 - 2005
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