How to heal from a third degree tear – Vaginal Birth

You may have found after your vaginal birth that you ended up with a tear. 

Maybe a first, second, third of fourth degree tear!

Each one will come with different healing times and need different support to heal.

Today I’m talking about third degree tears and how you can heal quickly and with the least pain.

Third and fourth degree tears are an uncommon complication of childbirth that may affect your bowel, bladder and sexual function for varying amounts of time.

A third degree tear is a tear or laceration through the perineal muscles and the muscle layer that surrounds the anal canal.

Take it easy and have plenty of rest

It’s important that you take it easy and allow your body to rest and heal.

Sit, lay and rest as much as you can and allow your body to heal and recover as much as possible.

Of course, you can walk around the hospital and home for short periods of time if you feel well enough and it’s comfortable enough. 

But try and rest as much as you possibly can in between with your baby.

While resting make sure that you are eating nourishing foods to help your body heal like bone broth or vegetable soups and drinking plenty of water.

A herbal tea is ideal for the postpartum healing period, with richly nutritious tonic herbs, gentle sedatives to calm and nourish the nervous system and help the mother rest and recover her strength, and herbs to balance the hormones and ensure a plentiful milk supply.

You can get your hands on some gorgeous tea here

Keep Comfortable

In the first couple of days to weeks it’s important that you put your health first and make sure you stay comfortable. 

Here are some ways you can support yourself to be comfortable:

  • Make sure that you are taking pain medication as prescribed by your Doctor
  • Use ice-packs for at least 24-48 hours
  • Try and lay down when breastfeeding or use a reclining position
  • Get in and out of bed on your side to reduce any strain on your perineum
  • Enlist your circle of support, your partner, friends and family and ask them to help out with bringing you nourishing foods, drinks, holding baby so you can bath, with housework and emotional support
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Epsom bath salts, Herbs & peri bottle to help

Herbs are great natural way to assist your body to heal!

We have been using herbs for thousands of years and they come with wonderful healing properties.

I’m always down for a natural alternative when possible and I think it’s always great for your body and hormones to assist with your bodies natural healing process as possible.

Herbs are great to be used in a bath and allow the herbs to help heal your body.  You can take your baby in the bath with you (totally safe) and enjoy a relaxing and nourishing warm bath.

This will also give you time to bond with your baby and allow her to breastfeed on demand from you when she wants.

While making up the herbs you can also pop into a peri bottle and each time you go to the toilet you can use your peri bottle to help clean and heal the area! 

It will also help with any pain you may be experiencing while going to the toilet.

This is how Julie from Blissful Herbs recommends using her herbs:

  • Fill the muslin bag with the loose herbs.
  • Place in a large Pyrex bowl.
  • Pour on hot water from the kettle until the sachet in totally immersed.
  • Put a plate over the bowl as a lid, to prevent the essential oils from escaping, and steep for 15 minutes or so.
  • In the meantime – run your bath.
  • Reserve some of the herbal liquid from your bowl to fill your peri bottle and set aside. You might want to save a little more herbal liquid in another container, to re-fill your peri bottle later.
  • Now: add everything left in the bowl to your bath – herbal liquid, wet sachet and all.

Go as natural as possible with your pads!

As I said before I am a huge advocate for trying to go as natural as possible and unfortunately many of the pads on the market have chemicals in them!

Try and allow your body to get as much air as possible.  You can do this by sitting on a towel and not wearing a pad of knickers and allowing your body to breath and “free bleed”.

Another alternative is using cloth pads (re-usable) or organic pads or period underwear.

Try and keep the area as clean as possible and use your peri bottle each time you need to go to the toilet.

I also recommend taking a stool softener to help with any struggle in the first couple of days and weeks.  It’s quite normal to have a hard time doing the first few poos and you want the path of least resistance!

You should be referred to a woman’s physio

The hospital or care provider you see will more than likely schedule in an appointment for you to see a woman’s physio who specialises in the pelvic area in postpartum.

This specialist will be able to help you to regain your pelvic floor strength and support you with any incontinence issues that you may have.

Don’t stress if you are going through any issues.  It is highly likely that things will return to normal with some help and support.

It can be pretty scary in the first few weeks if your body isn’t behaving the way it always has. 

My own personal experience had me running to the toilet at the very last minute and I didn’t know if I needed to poo or wee until I landed in the toilet.

I thought my body was broken and that things would never been the same. 

After a few long weeks and lots of crying everything seemed to sort itself out.

Make sure that you are as kind and gentle to yourself as possible.

None of this is your fault and often cannot be prevented.

The best way for you to heal is through loving kindness and that starts with your thoughts.

What your mind believes the body believes.  This has been shown many times all over the world and I believe that the mind is the best way to healing the body.

Check out how you can bring in some positive mindset in motherhood here.

You may be questioning your birth

You may be replaying your birth over and over in your mind. 

Questioning whether you made the right calls during your birth, or wondering what path you would have taken if you made a different choice. 

It is natural to replay your birth experience over and over and try and make sense of what happened. 

Allow yourself time to understand what happened and bring in kindness and love into your conversations. 

Connect with a safe person to talk about your birth, whether that is your doula partner, famiy or friend it’s important that you are allowed space to tell your story (if and when you want to without judgement). 

If you are feeling like you need extra support around your birth (1 in 3 women experience birth trauma in Australia) a great resource I recommend and lend out to my clients is a book How to Heal a Bad Birth. 

A Gentle guide for women who experienced a difficult, disappointing or traumatic birth, and want to make sense, peace and move on. 




Please come and join our group if you feel you need someone to talk or to connect with like minded mamas!

We have a safe space created for pregnant and new mothers and I would love to support you – join us here 🙂 



Ashley Winning - The Motherhood Circle
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