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Postpartum Perineal Care (cont.)

Postpartum Perineal Symptoms

Injury to the vagina and the perineum during delivery may cause swelling, bruising, or a collection of blood under the skin called a hematoma. Any of these injuries can cause severe pain.

  • Small hematomas usually go away without treatment. Painful, large hematomas may need drainage of the blood that collects in them. If a lot of tissue swelling occurs around the urethra, urinating may be difficult. If this happens, a small tube called a catheter can be put into the bladder until urination is possible.
  • Lacerations are tears in the tissues. They may be repaired by suturing or sewing, but small ones will heal with normal care.
  • As the episiotomy heals, it forms a scar. Women who have episiotomies should be careful to avoid opening the wound while it heals.
  • After the baby is born, a discharge called lochia (pronounced LOE-kee-uh) will drain from the vagina. At first, this lochia will look red, because blood is mixed with it. As the woman heals, the lochia will become white or even clear, like mucus.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pregnancy, Postpartum Infections »

Emergency physicians are increasingly concerned about postpartum patients who come to the ED with a fever or evidence of infection.

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