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An episiotomy is that infamous surgical cut in your vagina during the latter stages of childbirth. If you have have had an episiotomy and received stitches, your vaginal area will be sore in the immediate postpartum period, and you are probably full of questions. When will your episiotomy wound heal when will your vagina feel normal again?

The healing period

The first few weeks will be the worst. After that, your episiotomy cut will begin to heal, and after a month your vagina should be back to normal. You will have your stitches looked it if you go to a six-week postpartum checkup, but in the meantime you should look out for signs of infection and call your doctor or midwife if you have any particular concerns.

Caring for the episiotomy wound

Ice packs, baths, and a paracetamol will help you feel better in the week after your birth. Stinging sensations during trips to the toilet can be eased brilliantly by pouring lukewarm water over the wound while you pee! Some women like to use witch hazel to ease the swelling of the stitched area.

If you haven't given birth yet...

... you may want to think about your wishes in childbirth. Episiotomies are designed to prevent less controlled (not nice and straight) vaginal tears, but they guarantee a damaged vagina. Some women prefer to tear than to be cut, and it is very possible that you will not tear at all. Episiotomies don't mean you will not tear further than the cut, either. Some birth attendants actually believe that an episiotomy "encourages" further tearing. If you are not sure whether or not to consent to an episiotomy, we recommend that you discuss the risks and benefits of episiotomies vs natural vaginal tears (or no tearing at all) with your healthcare provider in advance.

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