Postpartum Care: Your Vagina After Birth

Having a child changes your body in a variety of ways and more ways than anticipated.
The changes don’t stop when the baby is born, so here are a few tips on what to
expect physically after a vaginal delivery.

Vaginal Soreness

If a tear took place during delivery or if your doctor had to make an incision,
the wound could take a few weeks to heal. If the tearing was extensive, then
the healing process might take longer. To ease some discomfort while you’re
recovering try the following:

  • Cool the area with an ice pack.
  • Try sitting on a pillow or padded ring.
  • Try using a squeeze bottle to pour warm water over the perineum as you’re passing
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Ask your healthcare provider about a numbing
    spray or cream, if needed.

If you are experiencing severe, persistent, or increasing pain please contact your
health care provider. It could be a sign of infection.

Vaginal Discharge

After delivery, you’ll begin to shed the superficial mucous membrane that lined your
uterus during pregnancy. There will be a vaginal discharge made up of this
membrane and blood for several weeks. This discharge will be heavy and red for
the first few days. Then it will slow down, become watery and change from
pinkish brown to yellowish white. Please contact your health care provider if
you have heavy vaginal bleeding (soaking a pad in less than an hour- especially
if it’s accompanied by pelvic pain, fever, or tenderness).


Sometimes during the first few days after delivery, you might feel an occasional
contraction sometimes referred to as afterpains. These afterpains which often
resemble menstrual cramps help to prevent excessive bleeding by compressing the
blood vessels in the uterus. These afterpains are common during breastfeeding
as well due to the release of the hormone oxytocin.

Hemorrhoids and Bowel Movements

If there is pain during bowel movements and swelling near your anus, there might
be swollen veins in the anus or lower rectum (hemorrhoids). To ease this area
while you heal try the following:

· Tryan over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream or suppository containing hydrocortisone.

· Use a pad containing a numbing agent or witch hazel.

· Soak the area in plain warm water for 10 minutes two to three times a day.


Pelvic floor muscles can be stretched or injured during pregnancy, labor, and vaginal
delivery. Pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder, and rectum this muscle is stretched during labor you could experience leaking a few drops of urine while sneezing, laughing, or coughing. These problems typically improve within a few weeks but might persist long term. While experiencing this wear sanitary pads and do pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) to help tone your pelvic floor muscles and control your bladder.

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Postpartum Checkup

It is recommended by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that
postpartum care be an ongoing process rather than just a single visit after
your delivery. Please ensure that after delivery you see your health care
provider for a postpartum evaluation. You can also learn more about postpartum
personal care by attending a post-birth workshop or having a consultation with
a doula to see how they may assist as well.

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