The perineum is the area between your vagina and back passage. It is the tissue that does most of the stretching during the labour process. General swelling, tearing or hemorrhoids can occur, and if you have an episiotomy, your wound may be painful and uncomfortable.
Your recovery time and the amount of perineal pain you experience will vary by your method of delivery and depend on the person and the birth. But here’s generally what you can expect:
- Vaginal birth without tears: The entire perineal area and rectum will be swollen after birth. You’ll likely feel discomfort in the area for around three to five weeks.
- Vaginal tear or an episiotomy: Expect the wound to heal in roughly seven to 10 days and to feel especially sore and sensitive for up to six weeks or more.
- Hemorrhoids: These are veins that have become swollen and engorged with blood (varicose veins). Many women experience them for the first time during pregnancy or the postpartum period for several reasons. These reasons including a rush of hormones, internal pressure, and constipation. They can range from irritating to quite painful, but the good news is that for the most part, hemorrhoids aren’t serious.
Ultrasound therapy utilises soundwaves to vibrate the tissues and speeds up the inflammation healing process. It is a simple process and can be done over any inflammation in and around the perineum after childbirth (including hemorrhoids or labial swelling). Ultrasound treatment can commence within 24 hours of giving birth. It is usually done daily as an inpatient at the hospital and can continue as an outpatient at the Genesis clinic.
Approximately 20% of new mothers are affected. Usually after the first 2 weeks and before 6 months. You should see a woman’s health physio for ultrasound treatment if not clearing within a few feeds.
How does it work?
Ultrasound waves vibrate through the breast tissues at the area of blockage. This promotes the resolution of the inflammation process and encourages milk removal. This treatment is best done whilst in blocked duct phase – it can prevent it from turning into mastitis and therefore needing antibiotics
Treatment takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Your baby should feed immediately afterward, done daily until resolves (usually 2-5 sessions)
If infective mastitis has already developed (ie. fever and flu symptoms), see your GP for antibiotics and then book in for ultrasound treatment after 12-24 hours of antibiotic treatment.