The perineum is the surface between the pubic joint and the coccyx. In women, it is the small flesh between the vagina and the anus. It has a thin layer of fibromuscular subcutaneous tissue and skin with less hair than the rest of the genitals.
For most of your life, you probably won't think about your crotch. However, during pregnancy, your crotch will be more important as you prepare for delivery.
Prevention of perineal tears
During labor, the perineum is stretched tightly so that the mother can push the baby out. This sometimes leads to a tear in the perineum, which can be difficult to suture and heal.
You are at a higher risk of rupture during your first vaginal delivery if you have a large baby, if you gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, or if you are younger or older .
During pregnancy, you can work to stretch your perineum and prevent tears with regular perineal massage. A perineal lift, also known as a birth canal dilation, can be done at home in the last few weeks before your due date.
The goal is to learn to relax the pelvic floor muscles and stretch the vaginal opening. Your midwife or midwife can show you how to massage your perineum.
What is an episiotomy?
To prevent perineal laceration, your healthcare provider may perform an episiotomy. An episiotomy is an incision in the perineum to enlarge the birth opening. Once the baby's head is visible, the doctor or midwife will relax the head and chin.
If the hole is not large enough, the doctor will perform an episiotomy. If you have not received an epidural or other anesthetic before, your doctor will numb the affected area first.
Then, during labor, the obstetrician will make a quick incision in the perineum with surgical scissors or a scalpel. After the placenta has been removed, the doctor will check for additional tears before suturing the area with absorbable stitches.
Healing after childbirth.
Perineal pain is common after delivery, regardless of whether you have had an episiotomy or not. An ice pack can help relieve pain and swelling.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend sitz baths to relieve pain and speed healing, as well as medicated creams or sprays to relieve pain.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help, but be sure to check with your doctor about which ones he recommends.
If you have an episiotomy , try to keep the incision clean and dry as recommended by your doctor. This is especially important after urinating and defecating.
Your healthcare provider may also limit your activity after an episiotomy. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions. You should also not douche, use tampons, or have sex until your obstetrician has cleaned you. Be sure to continue with your postpartum exam to make sure the perineum is healing properly.