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What is normal?

**This list is not black and white. You know your own body best. If you think anything is wrong, please contact your medical doctor**

Every birth is different, every baby is different and therefore every tear is unique. 

We get many questions starting with "is it normal...". So we thought we would make a list of what is normal and what isn't. 

  • heaviness around perineum and bum for up to 6 weeks postpartum 

  • strong pain for up to a week postpartum 

  • after passing wind, it moves forward toward the perineum (feeling like wind is coming from the vagina). This feeling is very common in the early weeks. Some women worry they may have a recto-vaginal fistula (RVF) as this movement of wind can be a symptom of one. However a RVF is much more rare and has other symptoms alongside, such as faecal matter in the vagina. 

  • scar tissue pain - this can feel like tightness, numbness, or pain when sitting. This is normal for the first few weeks. During sex it can be sore for months. Seeing a women's health physiotherapy will most likely be needed.

  • Feeling "too tight". This is usually found out during sex. The entrance to your vagina now has scar tissue and sex can feel odd and even a little painful. More often than not it needs to be massaged and stretched a bit to break down the scar tissue. Speak to your physio or GP for more info

What isn't normal - when to see your doctor

Any below are not normal and needs medical attention:

  • heaviness in the pelvic region past 4-6 weeks. 

  • extreme pain past a few days postpartum - this can be a sign of infection. This needs immediate medical attention

  • scar tissue pain after 6 weeks. If it is still sore at any time, even sitting or walking it needs to be looked at. 

  • lochia (postpartum period) bleeding after 6 weeks

  • painful sex. This is normal BUT if it extreme or carries on without improvement after stretching it does need to be looked at. Ask for a referral to a women's health physio if you haven't got one already 

  • bowel or urinary incontinence. This is quite common, but it isn't normal. It isn't supposed to happen. If it does, please see your GP and ask for a referral to a women's health physio and/or colorectal/gynae consultant. It can be treatable. 

  • Faecal matter coming from the vagina. Sometime it is hard to tell, but if you think it might be, it's time to see your GP. This is a symptom of a recto-vaginal fistula. 

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