top of page

Vaginal tears after childbirth – and how is the healing process?

Tears in the genital area are a common consequence of childbirth and can vary in severity. Understanding and managing these tears is important. To promote healing and recovery, it's crucial to know about the different degrees of injuries and the various healthcare measures needed. Download the LEIA Health-app to get access to the health log and more articles.




 

Grade 1 tear

It's common to get tears in the vagina and perineum during childbirth, known as tears. A grade 1 tear means you have superficial wounds in the vagina and/or labia without any muscles tearing. They're common, and most women who give birth get such tears. Sometimes they need to be stitched, and sometimes not, depending on their location. They usually heal quickly without causing major problems.

Symptoms and healing process

It's common to feel swelling and discomfort in the first few weeks. It can also sting when you urinate and rub against the stitches. The tear begins to heal immediately after childbirth, and it usually feels better every day. Superficial tears usually heal in a couple of weeks. But it can take several months for tears in muscles and tissues to heal properly. The body continues to heal and recover for up to a year after childbirth.

Preventive measures and when to seek care

There are a few things to keep in mind to reduce the risk of infection before the tears have healed.

  • Shower instead of bathing. If it stings in the wounds when you urinate, you can urinate in the shower during the first few days.

  • Don't use menstrual products that you insert into the vagina, like tampons or menstrual cups.

  • Use a condom or femidom if you have vaginal intercourse.

  • Shower with lukewarm water outside the vagina. Don't use soap or cream.

Some may experience discomfort soon after childbirth, others at a later stage. It can be stitches that rub or come loose, infection in wounds, leaking stool, or problems with sex. Always seek care if you have symptoms that you think are due to a tear, even if it has been a long time since childbirth. Seek care at a midwife clinic if you have problems or questions about tears.


 

Grade 2 tear

Many who give birth vaginally get tears in the vagina and perineum during childbirth. It varies how big the tear you get, and therefore they are divided into four different degrees. A grade 2 tear means you have superficial wounds in the vagina and/or on the labia, and muscles in the perineum have torn.

Symptoms and healing process

About 40% of those giving birth to their first child usually get grade 2 tears. A clip performed during childbirth has approximately the same extent of muscle damage as a grade 2 tear. Grade 2 tears and clips need to be stitched, either by the midwife who delivered you or by a doctor. Usually, stitches are done with thread that is absorbed by the body. It's common to feel swelling and discomfort in the first few weeks. It can also sting when you urinate and rub against the stitches.

To allow the muscles to heal without strain, it's important not to become constipated, that is, to keep the stool soft. You should receive both written and verbal information about your tear at the maternity ward, as well as advice on pain relief and toilet habits.

Preventive measures and when to seek care

There are a few things to keep in mind to reduce the risk of infection before the tears have healed.

  • Shower instead of bathing. If it stings in the wounds when you urinate, you can urinate in the shower during the first few days.

  • Don't use menstrual products that you insert into the vagina, like tampons or menstrual cups.

  • Use a condom or femidom if you have vaginal intercourse.

  • Shower with lukewarm water outside the vagina. Don't use soap or cream.

Some may experience discomfort soon after childbirth, others at a later stage. It can be stitches that rub or come loose, infection in wounds, leaking stool, or problems with sex. Always seek care if you have symptoms that you think are due to a tear, even if it has been a long time since childbirth. If you have problems or questions about tears, you can contact a midwife clinic.


 

Grade 3 and 4 tear

A grade 3 or 4 tear means the anal sphincter muscle has been damaged, and usually also the muscles in the perineum, and is usually called a sphincter tear.

Symptoms and healing process

The anal sphincter muscle consists of an internal and an external part. Depending on how much of the anal sphincter muscle has torn, grade 3 tears are divided into A (less than 50%), B (more than 50% but not the entire muscle), and C (through the entire muscle). At grade 4, the tear has gone into the rectum. Sphincter tears must be repaired by a doctor in the operating room. The tear needs time to heal, it's common to feel swelling and discomfort in the first few weeks. It can also sting when you urinate and rub against the stitches. The first few days, it usually hurts to sit, and it can feel difficult to go to the toilet. To allow the muscles to heal without strain, it's important not to become constipated, that is, to keep the stool soft. You should receive both written and verbal information about your tear at the maternity ward, as well as advice on pain relief and toilet habits.

Preventive measures and when to seek care

There are a few things to keep in mind to reduce the risk of infection before the tears have healed.

  • Shower instead of bathing. If it stings in the wounds when you urinate, you can urinate in the shower during the first few days.

  • Don't use menstrual products that you insert into the vagina, like tampons or menstrual cups.

  • Use a condom or femidom if you have vaginal intercourse.

  • Shower with lukewarm water outside the vagina. Don't use soap or cream.

Some may experience discomfort soon after childbirth, others at a later stage. It can be stitches that rub or come loose, infection in wounds, leaking stool, or problems with sex. Always seek care if you have symptoms that you think are due to a tear, even if it has been a long time since childbirth. It's important that you fill in the surveys to see how your healing has gone. Often, the clinic where you gave birth also has a planned follow-up with a physiotherapist, midwife, or doctor. It's common to not be able to hold gas for the first few months and also to leak stool in the first few weeks. If you have repeated stool leakage when more than two weeks have passed after the surgery for your tear, you should seek care. Seek care at a midwife clinic if you have problems or questions about the tear.


"I experienced a perineal tear after childbirth, and then I was glad I had the LEIA Health app, which provided me with the support I needed for my recovery''




Kommentare


bottom of page