Slide show: Vaginal tears in childbirth
Illustration of a second-degree vaginal tear
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Second-degree vaginal tears involve vaginal tissue and the perineal muscles — the muscles between the vagina and anus that help support the uterus, bladder and rectum. Second-degree tears typically require stitches and heal within a few weeks.

To ease discomfort while you're recovering:

  • Sit on a pillow or padded ring.
  • Pour warm water over your vulva as you're passing urine, and rinse yourself with a squeeze bottle afterward. Press a clean pad firmly against the wound when you bear down for a bowel movement.
  • Cool the wound with an ice pack, or place a chilled witch hazel pad between a sanitary napkin and the wound.
  • Take pain relievers or stool softeners as recommended by your health care provider.
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