Why you might need stitches
Many mums need stitches after labour, whether it’s because of a
caesarean, an episiotomy (the name for a surgical cut in your perineum),
or a tear.
Studies show that you’re less likely to need stitches if you give birth
in water but every labour and delivery is different and there’s no way of
telling for certain.
How long will they take to heal?
It tends to take between 2 and 4 weeks for your skin to heal but
everyone is different and you may find it takes longer. The stitches will
dissolve on their own, which can take between 2 and 12 weeks, depending on
the type of stitching.
The important thing is to look after them and keep the area clean to
allow your body to heal without any problems, such as infections.
Tips to help you heal faster after giving birth
- Take it easy – keep your physical activity to a minimum.
Do pelvic floor exercises as often as you can. This will increase
the blood flow to the area and encourage healing.
Stay clean and keep the area dry - a good way to give yourself a
quick wash is with a spray bottle full of water. Give yourself a
squirt a few times a day and dry yourself gently.
Make sure any sanitary pads don’t rub against your stitches and
change them regularly.
Try using an ice pack covered in a cloth, but only for a few
minutes at a time. They can be helpful to reduce swelling but
they can also reduce blood flow to the area if used for
Stay regular – eating a healthy diet with plenty of fibre and
staying hydrated with lots of water will make you less likely
to get constipation, so you won’t need to push to go to the loo.
If your stitches feel too tight or you think you may have an infection,
let your doctor know as soon as possible so they can make sure everything’s