Doctor's Notes on Postpartum Perineal Care
The perineum is the area between the urethra and the anus. In women, this are includes the vaginal opening. The perineum undergoes stress and change during pregnancy and delivery, and it needs special care afterward. Some women have the perineum surgically cut (episiotomy) when they deliver a baby. Other women perform perineal massage during their pregnancy to prevent pain and other problems after delivery.
Symptoms of injury to the vagina and the perineum during delivery may include pain, swelling, bruising, or a collection of blood under the skin (hematoma). Small hematomas may go away on their own. Larger hematomas may need to be drained. Tears in the tissues (lacerations) may heal on their own or need to be repaired by suturing. The episiotomy will scar as it heals. After giving birth there will be some vaginal discharge called lochia that will be red at first and gradually become white, or clear like mucus.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.