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episiotomy recovery

(30 Posts)
liquoriceandtomatoes Tue 12-Oct-10 23:17:09

I've just had an episiotomy. It is now infected with pus (sorry tmi) and I'm in agony, can barely walk w/permanent pain. The mw knows and I've just started on antibiotics.
But I'm pretty distraught.

I feel like my nct covered c-sections a lot but I don't even remember the word episiotomy being mentioned and I'm clueless.

Will I now be permanently disfigured due to infection as the stitches in muscles have come away prematurely?I'm all lumpy down below - feel very tearful about this.

How long will the pain last? How will it affect my sex life? Should I ask to be re-stitched? I feel like I'm in much worse a way than friends who've had c-sections.

Any feedback on the recovery greatly appreciated.

TheCrackFox Tue 12-Oct-10 23:30:12

Hi there, sorry you are having such a crap time.

My episiotomy (5 yrs ago so details sketchy) became infected and I ended up on anti-bacs and I think it took a couple of days to kick in. The searing pain will soon go but TBH I had a throbbing pain for a couple of months sorry. Are you taking enough pain killers? Don't be afraid to contact your MW/GP to see if you can be prescribed something stronger.

It is very early days and in all probability you will heal just fine. There will still be bruising and the wound will still be inflamed so it is difficult to tell. A small minority of women do get re-stitched but try not to obsess about this. Your sex life should be just fine but there is no rush and remember wine and lubricant always helps. smile

One good tip would be to pee in the shower.

I have had a C-section previously and it was a walk in the park compared with forceps/episiotomy recovery wise. I was quite angry about this because, like you, I had been led to believe that C-sections are just terrible to get over.

Do you have enough help with the baby?

BrightLightBrightLight Tue 12-Oct-10 23:39:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

breatheslowly Wed 13-Oct-10 12:55:09

I'm really sorry to hear this - this happened to me about 4 weeks ago.

My GP prescribed antibiotics and the obstetrician who delivered DD recommended some other antibiotics (metronidazole) and asked that a swab be taken to ensure that I was on the right antibiotics (probably a good idea).

I was also sent back to the hospital and examined (painful journey, but well worth it). The first doctor wanted to clean out the wound and have me seen in the perineal clinic 4 weeks later, but we asked for a second opinion and saw a consultant. He referred me to the "designer vagina" consultant the next week (and described my birth as involving a semtex suppository confused). She saw me and decided on a restitch in 2-4 weeks. I had the restitch last week and it hasn't been a total success as some of the surface stitches have popped but the lower stitches seem to be holding well. The top layer will now just be left to heal of its own accord.

I am in pain and taking diclofenac and paracetamol as well as continuing on antibiotics, but the pain decreased substantially when the infection cleared and should go again when the restitching starts to heal.

One of the hardest things for me was the uncertainty - I was psychologically a bit of a mess for the first few days and also after the restitching. I nearly fainted when I first felt the size of the wound, but this was because it was infected and swollen, when the infection cleared it was actually much smaller.

I was also a bit pissed off that no one mentioned this to me at NCT - the idea that a vaginal birth is always better than CS now just seems wrong - it would probably be easier to look after a CS wound than one down below. I certainly won't be having another vaginal birth after this.

I would second the advice above, and add the following:

Get a swab done to make sure that your antibiotics are appropriate to the infection.

See a consultant ASAP. My GP was great to refer me back to hospital, I found MW a bit blase about it.

Take any painkillers going.

Get lots of help with your baby.

margherita76 Wed 13-Oct-10 14:44:17

Hi Liquorice

I agree with everything the others have said so far. I am 6 weeks after a big tear and episiotomy. It came apart after 10 days and was horrendous and vile and v upsetting, not to mention painful.

My advice would be: get it checked by a consultant or if possible a tissue viability nurse ( they check wounds all the time and so know if it looks like its going to heal naturally). Midwifes can be a bit blase or even a bit alarmist. No offence, this was just my experience of the home visits.

As the others say and as you know I am sure keep it ultra clean. I had at least 2 showers a day and for the first few weeks I did bugger all. After a shower lie on bed and let air get to it (if poss). Eat lots of protein and vegetables and try as hard as poss not to worry.Honestly, mine was so open and I felt so upset and vulnerable and after 1 month ( feels like a long time but in healing terms it's not) it is so much better and touch wood it won't need 'refashioning'.

I really sympathise and hope you feel better and less upset soon

cupcakefairy Wed 13-Oct-10 20:55:20

Hi liquorice, and all other suffering ladies!
I had an epi and forceps delivery in June. My stitches didn't come apart but I had a massive haematoma in the wound and couldn't walk for a long time, in immense pain.

My midwife was amazing and referred me straight away to physio. Dh and I struggled in every day with new baby for the first 10 days after the birth (I couldn't even sit in the car; had to hover over the seat- thankfully we only live 5 mins drive away!)
I had laser treatment and ultrasound to break up the bruising.

I know this isn't exactly the same situation as you're describing, but I understand how you feel. I was on diclofenac and paracetamol too for weeks and emotionally an absolute state. I cried so much and was just in so much shock that this had happened to me. I could only feed ds in bed, dh had to do everything else. I had envisioned a couple of days to recover from the birth then having lots of fun with dh and new baby but instead his whole pat leave he was just taking care of me & I couldn't go anywhere

After a few weeks things improved greatly and now 4 months on it's completely healed, only feel a very slight pulling on my scar at times. We have yet to have sex again confused mainly because of fear on my part. But I have read lots on here that taking it slow means it is ok.

I too was DISTRAUGHT that nobody had warned me this could happen. Straight after the birth I was so happy I had avoided a CS (I very nearly had to have one as ds was back to back and not budging!) then when the wound developed I just wished so much I'd had a CS. I couldn't cough, sneeze, go to the toilet (without immense pain and a lot of time!), walk, sit down... I completely agree this should be covered in NCT. It's so true that we're led to believe a CS is the WORST possible outcome that could happen.

I would recommend shallow warm baths with just a tiny drop of lavender oil and tea tree oil. Put witch hazel on a pad and put it in the freezer before wearing it; this REALLY helped me.
Eat LOTS of pears and drink prune juice- really good for softening stools. Also try to get a physio referral; before this happened to me I had no idea women's health physios even existed but mine was AMAZING. They can also give you a proper idea of your risk for incontinence and make sure you're doing pelvic floor exercises properly.

Next time I will definitely be asking that if my labour is headed for an epi then I want a CS...there is no way I'm going through that again.

Sorry for the massive ramble blush but just wanted you to know you're not alone and it WILL get better. Try to focus on your new baby and just get lots of cuddles (and help, as others have said..don't refuse any offers of help!)

Good luck x

muslimah28 Wed 13-Oct-10 21:12:22

i really feel for you OP. like others here ive had the same experience and it's very distressing. and i too was sooo glad initially that i'd avoided the c section which it looked like i had been heading for, and yet in the end had a far far worse recovery than a c section. i too wonder like breathslowly if this kind of thing happened in a csection wound, would it then at least be easier to heal rather than being down below? as one of the difficulties in in healing is that the wound is in a moist environment (my consultant said this).

but i think like cupcakefairy i would try to have a VB next time but hve in my birth plan that if it looks like i will need an episiotomy i'd rather have a c section. the thing i just don't know about and can't get my head round is that in some cases, the stage at which it would be known that an episiotomy is likely may be too late for a CS. still, i'm hoping that a good birth experience next time around, whenever that is (DS is only 5 months now!) may help me to exorcise some of the demons around the first birth experience memories.

all i can say is it will get better. just don't compare yourself to all the women you see getting up and about 2 days after birth. yu will not have the same recovery, but recover you will.

to give you a bit of hope, 5 months after having DS and having spent 4 months in agony, we've now just gota wii fit so i can finally start thinking about losing my preggie belly!

SquirrelonmyHead Wed 13-Oct-10 21:29:01

I had an epi and though it didn't get infected some of the stitches came away and it felt a bit gaping. I was lucky though as it didn't need any re stitching, my MW had a quick look and told me it would heal together fine.

2 years on I don't notice it so I think long term you will be fine, you just need to get the infection sorted out and get through the first few weeks as from talking to other mum friends I have come to the conclusion this is the most painful post birth issue to have.

My surgeon advised me to not sit down all the time as this can restrict blood flow to the area. He said gentle moving about and then lying down to rest were best.

muslimah28 Thu 14-Oct-10 12:05:28

squirrelonmyhead's advice re sitting down is good. if/when you do need to sit down, use a swimming ring and sit in that, it will prevent pressure on the area and be more comfortable. if yo're desperate and cant get hold of one these soon, then shape a towel into a ring on your chair, it will do the same job,. this helped me enormously in the early days.

lovingpickles Thu 14-Oct-10 13:37:59

I went through the same as you 8 months ago. I remember it as a very dark and tearful time. But please believe me - IT WILL GET BETTER AND YOU WILL FEEL NORMAL AGAIN SOON. I wasn't able to sit down for 4 weeks (the doughnut cushion didn't help) and had to feed and eat lying down. I could go for short walks but never too far. I bathed twice a day in salt water, blow dried the wound on a cool, gentle setting (it's really important to keep the area as dry as possible), dabbed the area with tea tree oil and avoided direct pressure on it. I made sure that I ate lots of fruit and veg and drank lots of water, so that going to the toilet wasn't too traumatic. Take painkillers if you need to and accept help from others.

By 6 weeks after the birth I was back to sitting and doing everything normally again. It still has a very slight pulling feeling but is otherwise 100% healed.

first1 Thu 14-Oct-10 14:36:34

I didn't have an episiotomy, but I did have spontaneous 3rd degree tearing in May. First birth, and am left totally emotionally scarred by it. To cut to the chase, although I was stitched in theatre, it wasnt by a consultant, and to be frank, I was left "butchered". I was put on numerous antibiotics, had silver nitrate put on stitches which felt like knives slicing into me everytime I even attempted to sit down. Had to hover over the toilet, or sit on one hip. Mid July I decided enough was enough and having been totally put off the OBGYN team at the hospital I gave birth at, I decided to see a consultant privately who specialises in childbirth injury and wound healing issues (If you want her name I'm happy to email you). She was horrified when she first saw me, said it looked awful, and promised to put me right. So on August 20th I had perineal revision surgery. I can honestly say, whilst I was petrified of having surgery again (under GA this time), it was the best thing I could have done. I've had no infection, just inflammation and the consultant is now seeing me weekly - yes weekly! at her NHS hospital to ensure I heal perfectly this time. I have had to be referred for psychosexual therapy because of the trauma from the birth has filled me with dread for the future. I'm only 23 btw. Sorry for the down story, not everyone has to suffer like this, and you're still very early days. Give your body time. And don't be afraid to be restitched if need be. I'm so glad I was.

atmywitssend Thu 14-Oct-10 21:31:37

I;m so sorry that you're going through this. I had forceps/episiotomy and bad 3rd degree tear nearly three years ago. Yes it hurt like **, I could barely move etc. Got really constipated as I was scared of going etc.

But it seemed to get better all of a sudden and now I am fine. I feel as good as new but have never dared to have a look.

I really hope that you get there soon. Make sure you have enough rest and help. I found that once I could walk, little walks actually seemed to help.

Good luck x

stleger Thu 14-Oct-10 21:45:24

I had a similar experience, but the baby involved has just started his degree! It is awful, moreso because it is totally unexpected. I had 4 weeks of hell,an infection at day 10, had it checked by a gp who was happy at 4 weeks, checked again at 6 weeks ... by 10 weeks I could sit without wincing. By 10 months it felt OK - it improved in fits and starts. At 20 months I had a normal delivery, domino, able to go up and down stairs that evening, and had a poo without screaming. Take all the advice and look after yourself, it gets better!

liquoriceandtomatoes Sun 17-Oct-10 21:09:40

A big thank-you for everyone who's posted replies. I've re-read them quite a few times for support - I really appreciate the advice and support. I'm being re-stitched this week, which I hope is the right choice to make as I'm getting used to the hole now and am dreading stitch pain again - I'm also dreading re-infection but I'll be pretty vigilant.

Best wishes to anyone in a similar position and thanks again for the support x

breatheslowly Mon 18-Oct-10 11:46:52

Good luck with today and let us know how you get on.

muslimah28 Tue 19-Oct-10 14:21:16

hope the op goes well. i found femepads (cool gel pads) worked well for stitches pain. its a horrible stage but hopefully will be worth it.

l4k Tue 25-Jan-11 13:12:19

hi
hope you are still around first1
could you give me the name of the lady consultant who did your repair
please could you say if you are still happy with your treatment and outcome
My youngest is nearly 4 and I've put off the repairs I need for long enough
thanks

porcamiseria Sun 30-Jan-11 23:10:55

you poor thing

I was same with DS1, TAKE PAIN KILLERS. I was the same, it made me cry

The vagine is bruised and it will recover

try and rest, lie on side etc, and it will pass

Hope1212 Wed 21-Oct-15 08:19:52

We all r on the same page i guess..
I gave birth to my son on 7/8/15.. happy to know it was a normal delivery my whole family was on a different level of happiness.. later i got to know it was an episiotomy done to me. My doctor a b*t*h dint evn ask for concent or let me know. I was under d impression it happens to all.. even after my complete care taking the stitches broke bcs it was not stitched properly. Got restitching done.. the pain level during both the healing process was something i would like not to talk about. I used to b in bended position most of the time, unable to sit, pass stool ... cant evn imagin d distress. I did everything from sitzbath to giving air, proper drying, hazel witch to not stretching ... finally my day of removing second stitches... n ta da.... there is still a hole.confused i changed my doctor went to another specialist who suggested it would take 2-3 weeks to close by itself. Before the completion of 3rd week it started paining like hell. Again d coudnt sit and stand situation. Immediately rushed to d doc yesterday only to know now it has an infection too n puss is oozing off...angry m on intibiotics now. New doc said she would keep me on antibiotics for 5 days if no improvement would go fr a small open n sew process againangryangry[angry
i am feeling cheated depressed n ill.. im so sad that coudnt evn type dis post without crying...i donno when i would get back to my normal self.. someone pls comment

OhMakeMeOver Wed 21-Oct-15 19:30:20

Hope You do know that you have the right to sue if consent was not given? Are you in the UK?

I was wondering why it says 'Zombie thread'... Until I read the OP. blush

OhMakeMeOver Wed 21-Oct-15 19:34:54

Hm. if you didn't consent, do you know why it was done? Have you been told? Offered a birth debrief? Anything? Have you complained?

I felt like you did and it took me 3 years to come to terms with my son's birth. I was distressed after having my son and felt so belittled and violated. I needed to know WHY the episiotomy was done for me to be able to "get over it" but it took me years to realise that I NEEDED to "get over it" first.

Hope1212 Wed 21-Oct-15 19:44:55

When i questioned they said it was an emergency call they had to take. And the doc said since my was vaccum delivery these things are normal. I live in india.. n i believe its d worst place to question doctors

Hope1212 Wed 21-Oct-15 19:48:27

I would really appreciate if anyone would suggest how to reduce infection apart from antibiotics

stairway Thu 22-Oct-15 10:51:35

Hi hope, I know how you feel about the episiotimy... It has really upset me psychologicaly . my Dr at least told me she was about to do it...
I think they do it cos it makes it easier for them. I don't think there is much benefit to the woman.
I found keeping the area as dry as possible helped healing.. And legs together and bed rest helped.

Hope1212 Thu 22-Oct-15 11:38:03

Hi stairway,
I am really depressed for now. Feeling cheated to the core. I was fine with a c sec too..i think that would hv been much better. Still waiting for infection to lower down. Dont have courage for another refashioning. One thing happend good in all this is i hv lost a lot of weight... gained weight till 65kgs fr delivery. Now i am 57blush

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