Episiotomy | Frequently Asked Episiotomy Questions and Answers

How Long Does It Take to Fully Recover from an Episiotomy?

An episiotomy or second-degree tear involves skin and muscle, so it takes 2-3 weeks to heal. Stitches do not need to remove; they will dissolve on their own during this time. If you have a third- or fourth-degree tear, this is a more serious tear that extends to the rectum. You may feel pain and discomfort for a month or even longer. After giving birth, you may face trouble during urinating and passing bowel movements for a few days. You’re also more likely to have problems controlling gas or bowel movements (anal incontinence) for months, or even years.
Episiotomy related questions
Fig: Episiotomy related questions

Is It Better to Have an Episiotomy or Tear?

For years, the doctor thought that it is helpful to prevent more extensive vaginal tears during childbirth and heal better than a natural tear. But for some women, it causes pain during sex in the months after delivery. Another complication of an extensive episiotomy might also contribute to fecal incontinence after childbirth.

Current evidence shows that natural tearing is often better than episiotomy in terms of severity, healing, infection, and risk factors. During pregnancy, the majority of women do experience some minor tears. The minor tear often heals quite quickly, without lasting effects, and may not require any stitches. Sometimes, women experience more severe tears during childbirth and require many stitches. This type of tear has the same risks as an episiotomy. Generally speaking, a natural tear is better than an episiotomy, but every birth has a unique set of circumstances.

Do Episiotomy Stitches Fall Out?

Every mother has a common question, episiotomy stitches will fall down or not. Your stitches will start to dissolve and fall out after around 7 days. Your wound will take 2-4 weeks (depending on the size of the wound) to completely heal after an episiotomy.

When Can I Have Sex Again After Episiotomy?

After an episiotomy or a tear, a mother should wait for 4 to 6 weeks after delivery to recover the wound completely. If a health care provider gives the okay and then you can try having sex with your partner. If you had a third or fourth-degree tear or laceration, it’s especially necessary to wait until after your exam.

When your first time has sex again with the partner, you may feel tenderness and tightness. Try to relax as much as possible and take plenty of time for foreplay. You can also use a good water-soluble lubricant to make it more comfortable. It’s a good choice for you to continue using lubricant during sex until you stop nursing. If you find that sex is still uncomfortable even using these measures, wait a while longer and get creative with your mate in the meantime. If you find that pain continues for a couple of months, then you should seek treatment.

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