Vaginal tears in childbirth

Bristningar vid förlossningar - andra språk - engelska

Vaginal tears are common in childbirth. Some tears are more severe and require stitches. Tears can be small or large. The tears are immediately taken care of after childbirth by a midwife (barnmorska) or doctor.

The midwife will tell you whether you have a vaginal tear that requires stitches.

You can ask to see an illustration of the vagina, where the midwife can point out where the tear is located. 

Läs texten på svenska här.

How it feels

Here are some common issues when you have vaginal tears: 

  • Vaginal pain.  
  • Bleeding from the vagina.  
  • The stitches chafe. 
  • Trouble peeing or pooing.  

These issues usually get better and better as each day passes. The worst of the pain usually goes away after a week. But it can take up to a year to fully recover.  


If the vaginal tears require stitches, this will be done immediately after birth.

The stitches will dissolve or fall away on their own within a few weeks. 

Return visit to the midwifery clinic (barnmorskemottagningen)

Within 12 weeks of giving birth, you will have a return visit to the midwifery clinic. At this visit, you can talk to the midwife about your vaginal tears.  

When and where should I seek medical care?

Some people cannot wait until it is time for the return visit to the midwifery clinic to seek help for their vaginal tears. They need to seek care before the return visit.  

Some do not discover their vaginal tears until later. In such cases, it is fine to seek care after the return visit. 

Contact your healthcare provider if any of the following applies to you: 

  • Your symptoms are getting worse instead of better. 
  • The vaginal tear is affecting your life and how you are feeling. 
  • It hurts when you have to poo or pee.
  • You are having problems with the stitches in your vagina. 

If it is the weekend, you can wait until it is a weekday.  

You may need to seek medical care more urgently if any of the following applies to you:

  • The wounds in your vagina become more swollen and start to hurt.
  • You get a fever or feel sick.
  • You are having trouble peeing. 

Where to seek care

Contact one of these clinics:

  • The maternity ward where you gave birth.
  • An urgent care centre.
  • A midwifery clinic.
  • A gynaecology clinic (gynekologisk mottagning).
  • A healthcare centre. 

If they are closed or cannot attend to you, seek care from an emergency department.

Call 1177 for advice

Call the 1177 helpline for advice on what to do.

Your call will be answered by a nurse.

The nurse can speak both Swedish and English. Help is sometimes available in other languages.

Call 0046 771-11 77 00 if you are calling from a phone with a foreign number.

Seek care more than once if necessary

Seek medical care again if you do not feel like you are getting better from the treatment you are receiving. 

Help is often available, even if a long time has passed since you had your baby.

Get help from an interpreter

You can get help from an interpreter if you do not speak Swedish.  Let the clinic know you need an interpreter when you book your appointment. 

Self-help tips

Self-help tips as your vaginal tears heal:

  • Take it easy and rest. 
  • Use painkillers if you are in pain. Lie down while breastfeeding if it hurts to sit.
  • Move around. For example, you can go for walks.
  • Take a shower instead of a bath. Do not use soap in your vagina. Pat yourself gently with a towel when drying off.
  • Go around without tight clothes and underwear sometimes, if possible. It helps to allow air to reach your vagina. 
  • Train the muscles of your vagina. Such exercises are called pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises.
  • Wait to have intercourse until your vagina feels completely healed. This can take weeks or months. 

You can take over-the-counter medicine if you have pain. You can ask about this at a pharmacy. 

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