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  • Reduce swelling by applying ice packs.
  • Special perineal pads are soothing. These pads fit between a sanitary napkin and the wound. Chilled witch hazel pads are also helpful.
  • Avoid constipation and don’t strain to move your bowels. The pressure can stretch your tissue and cause pain around the wound.
  • Apply a numbing spray to the area. Numbing sprays are usually available at hospitals.
  • Sit carefully, and on one cheek if possible. You may find it more comfortable to sit on hard surfaces, since soft surfaces allow your bottom to stretch and pull on the stitches.

If the wound area becomes hot, swollen, and painful or if it produces a pus-like discharge, you may have an infection and should call your doctor immediately.

An episiotomy is a controversial procedure and you should learn all the facts, discuss it with your doctor, and weigh the benefits and risks carefully before you make a decision. Ask your doctor how often and under what circumstances he performs an episiotomy, and how he might help you avoid spontaneous tearing as well. If you choose not to have an unnecessary episiotomy, express your feelings to your doctor well in advance of delivery, and include instructions in your birth plan.

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