The doctor will numb the area with a local anesthetic. Once it takes effect, they will stitch the tear.
It is important to wait until you are completely healed before having sex again. If sex hurts, it is not pleasurable for either you or your partner. Try other ways to bond, like cuddling.
Take It Slow
The good news is that most small vaginal tears heal within a few weeks after delivery. Larger tears may need stitches, and it’s normal to experience pain or discomfort for a month or two if this happens. Infection is also more likely with larger tears, so it’s important to take extra precautions.
If you had a Cesarean section, your doctor will probably advise you to abstain from sex for six weeks to allow your incision to heal properly. This is also a great time to start doing pelvic floor exercises (like Kegels) so you’re ready when you’re ready to try again.
Your doc will tell you when it’s OK to have sex, and most people can resume sexual activity as soon as they feel comfortable. It’s a good idea to be open with your partner, too, about how you’re feeling and what you want to do. Having a good relationship is key to sexual pleasure, so make sure you’re on the same page.
Many women who have a perineal tear experience pain or tenderness during sex. To reduce this, try to empty your bladder before sex, take an over-the-counter pain reliever or apply ice wrapped in a towel to the area. You can also use lubrication to help things slide along more smoothly. If the pain is really uncomfortable, talk to your doctor about alternatives like oral sex or mutual masturbation, which can be just as satisfying and don’t put undue strain on your body.
Listen to Your Body
You may find that your tear heals quite quickly and you are able to return to sexual activity within just a few weeks. However, it is important to listen to your body and follow what feels right for you. If you experience pain or discomfort with sex or any other activities, it is likely time to take things slower.
Your doctor will recommend that you wait until your stitches have healed before attempting to resume sexual activity. This typically takes around 6 weeks. If you had a C-section your abdominal scar will also need to heal before it is safe and comfortable to have penetrative sexual activity.
Even if you are medically cleared to resume sexual activity, it’s not uncommon for new moms to have decreased libido following childbirth. Hormone shifts, fatigue and sleep deprivation can all contribute to a lack of interest in sex. However, it is important to be open with your partner about how you feel. They should be understanding and offer supportive measures.
If you do want to try having sex again, it’s best to avoid any positions that require deep penetration or force. This could put pressure on your stitches and lead to additional pain or even a tear. Similarly, it is recommended that you avoid squatting or sitting crossed-legged as these positions may strain your stitches.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to Your Doctor
Women are often discouraged from discussing their sexual struggles after having a child because the medical establishment is so quick to give blanket advice that doesn’t address how different everyone’s experience is. But ignoring these issues can actually make things worse.
For example, if you have a second-degree perineal tear that’s not healing properly and you’re experiencing urinary leakage or incontinence—also known as dyspareunia—you need to talk about it with your doctor. They may recommend pelvic floor physical therapy, which will help with the pain and restore your normal function.
Infection is the most common complication of a vaginal or perineal tear, and when you’re not using the right lubrication, it can cause your tears to re-tear. According to Healthline, this can be painful and embarrassing for both you and your partner.
If you’re having sex and the pain is significant or your tear is reddening, you should stop using the area until you speak with your healthcare provider. It’s also a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider if you’re having other problems that may require attention, like pelvic pain or urinary or fecal incontinence.
Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
It is a good idea to start doing pelvic floor exercises as soon as you can after a second-degree tear. This will help strengthen the muscles and increase blood flow to the area. This may also reduce the pressure on the perineal cut and surrounding tissue, which can help with healing and preventing infections. Pelvic floor exercises can be as simple as squeezing the muscles around your anus and vagina like you would when stopping yourself from going to the toilet or farting.
Many women who have a second-degree tear experience uncertainty about how to deal with the injury, including what is normal. This can be due to their not having enough information or healthcare after their delivery. Physiotherapists could play a larger role in the care of women with perineal injuries by providing them with person-centred information and exercises to do.
Generally speaking, most small tears heal within a few weeks after birth. Larger tears may require stitches and take longer to heal. Keeping up with good hygiene, doing pelvic floor exercises and having regular contact with a healthcare professional are all important parts of recovering from your tear. Make sure you tell a GP, midwife or health visitor about any possible signs of infection such as pus or liquid coming from the wound. Doing this as early as possible will ensure you get the treatment you need.