Your perineum after brith needs the same care as an ankle strain - advice from specialist physiotherapist Amanda Savage

Your perineum after birth – the same as a bad ankle strain….without the sympathy

A NASTY ANKLE SPRAIN AND THEN RUN HOME………

Imagine the state of your ankle if you fell on an uneven pavement, gave it a nasty twist and then still had to run home – you wouldn’t be at all surprised to be looking at a hot, red, swollen, bruised and very tender foot and ankle?  Add a cut and some stitches and you would feel very sorry for it.

Because everyone can see the damage you would be lavished with care and attention: crutches to keep the weight off; leg up when you sit down to reduce swelling; tubigrip; icepacks; exercises to keep it stiffening up and plenty of willing helpers to let you take it easy for a good few days.

Everyone knows that you have to nurse and care for an injury to help healing to take place successfully, to avoid complications and to get back to normal walking again as quickly as possible.

WE NEED TO CARE FOR BRUISED SORE VAGINAS TOO

During birth the perineum (the skin and tissues surrounding the opening of the vagina) experiences a traumatic stretch and strain.  Clinically this is termed a soft tissue injury.  It would be great to care for the perineum in the first weeks of motherhood with a similar respect for the healing process.

Unfortunately, things are stacked against the love and attention needed, apart from the obvious distraction of a beautiful, demanding newborn:

  • you are high on the  birth experience so your own bottom is low on your agenda
  • nobody can see your sore bits and you don’t limp so there is no outside sign that you are injured
  • you can’t (wouldn’t?!) exactly discuss your sore bits with many people
  • most of the time you are sitting on the sore part to feed which makes it go numb
  • mothers are incredibly stoic people and don’t complain
  • it’s hard to know what’s ‘normal’ so there is a tendency to just battle on

In these posts I have pulled together  tips and tricks to guide you how to care for your perineum from day one until it is all feeling better again.  Don’t hesitate to ask if you want clarification or think of something that I have left out that would be useful for other new mums to  know?

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