everyweek, I receive a newsletter from babycentre, and I found a link to tips to help heal stiches and the perineum area. I wish i had read that before I actually gave birth, so I will put this in 3rd trimester as well, but thought it might be useful to some of us, still. For me, it's been a month and nearly a week, and I can still feel some little discomfort at times...not always...i am getting there!!! Anyway, hope this helps someone! mel xx What can I do to relieve the pain? Your midwives will give you advice on hygiene and the self-help measures you can take to reduce the discomfort, as well as information on pain-relieving drugs. If you forget their advice or can't focus on this information, don't hesitate to phone the maternity unit once you get home. Here are some tips for helping the perineum to heal, whether or not you have had an episiotomy or tear: Avoid touching the affected area. Change your sanitary pad at least every four hours. Gently secure it in place so it doesn't move around and cause further irritation. Pour warm water over the perineal area after using the toilet. At home, store sanitary pads in the freezer, so they are cool and soothing when you put them on. You may want to put them in a carrier bag so that other people using the freezer don't notice! Pour warm water on your perineum during urination. The water will dilute the urine so that it won't sting the wound. Always pat the area dry from front to back to avoid introducing germs from the rectum into the vaginal area. Begin doing pelvic floor exercises as soon as you can after the birth. By doing these in the first few days you will increase the circulation of blood to the area and thereby aid the healing process. After your perineum is healed, these exercises help your pelvic floor regain its tone and control. Apply a cooled gel pad (available from chemist shops) or ice packs intermittently for the first 12 to 24 hours. Try sleeping on your side with an ice-pack between your legs. The ice will reduce swelling and bruising. When you get home and have some privacy, you may find relief by lying in bed without a sanitary pad instead put some old towels under you and letting your perineum "air dry." After the first day, try a heat lamp for 20 minutes three times a day. This increases circulation to the site and promotes healing. Frequent baths or bidets are soothing, and many women have found that adding salt to the water seems to promote healing, though research has not confirmed the beneficial effects of salt. However, staying too long in the bath can make the tissues soggy, so that they take longer to heal. You can get special cushions to sit upon that ease pressure on the area. If there is a branch of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) in your locality, you may be able to rent or borrow these "Valley cushions" from there. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods this can further strain an over-taxed perineum. * Ensure that you are quite comfortable when sitting to feed your baby. Alternatively, try lying on your side to feed. Contact your GP or midwife if the pain is not subsiding, or if you experience any fever. Mild pain relievers or sprays or creams may be prescribed for the pain. A fever could be a sign of infection always a possibility when stitches or cuts are involved though the risk is reduced with proper perineal care. Relax and give yourself time to heal. Each new mother recovers in her own way and in her own time. Focus on healing and gaining the strength you need for the lifelong process of caring for your baby.