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Understanding Vaginal Bruising After Birth: Causes and Effective Treatments

View profile for Leanne Devine
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Welcoming a new life into the world is a joyous occasion, but for many women, the postnatal period can bring unexpected challenges. One such concern that some women may experience is vaginal bruising after birth. In this article, we will delve into the causes of vaginal bruising and explore effective treatments to help mothers navigate this aspect of postnatal recovery. 


What is Vaginal Bruising? 

Vaginal bruising, a common occurrence after childbirth, is the result of trauma to the delicate tissues of the vaginal and perineal areas. This trauma can manifest as discolouration, tenderness, and swelling in the affected regions. The vagina and perineum undergo significant stress during childbirth, leading to various degrees of tissue damage.


Causes of Vaginal Bruising After Birth 

Trauma during Delivery: Vaginal bruising commonly occurs due to the intense physical strain experienced during childbirth. The stretching and pressure on the vaginal tissues can lead to microtears and bruising. 


Instrumental Deliveries: The use of forceps or vacuum extraction during delivery increases the likelihood of vaginal bruising. While these tools are sometimes necessary for a safe delivery, they can contribute to tissue damage and bruising. 


Episiotomy: In certain cases, healthcare providers may perform an episiotomy (a surgical cut to enlarge the vaginal opening) to facilitate childbirth. This procedure can result in bruising as the tissues heal. 


Vascular Changes: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and childbirth can impact blood vessel integrity, making them more susceptible to bruising. 


Preventative Measures 

Perineal Massage: Regular perineal massage during the last weeks of pregnancy can help increase the flexibility and elasticity of the perineal tissues, potentially reducing the risk of tearing and bruising during childbirth. 

Optimal Birthing Positions: Exploring different birthing positions, such as squatting or using a birthing ball, can help reduce pressure on the perineum and minimise the risk of trauma and bruising. 

Discussing Birth Plan with Healthcare Provider: Open communication with your healthcare provider about your birth preferences and concerns can help create a supportive environment. Discussing potential interventions and their implications can aid in making informed decisions. 

Pelvic Floor Exercises During Pregnancy: Engaging in pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy can enhance muscle tone and blood flow, potentially reducing the severity of vaginal bruising during childbirth. 


Treatments for Vaginal Bruising After Birth 

Cold Compresses: Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain associated with vaginal bruising. Make sure to use a clean cloth or ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to avoid direct skin contact. 


Topical Analgesics: Over-the-counter creams or ointments containing analgesic properties, can provide relief from pain and promote healing. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any topical treatments. 


Warm Baths: Soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts may help soothe vaginal bruising. The warm water can promote relaxation and improve blood circulation, aiding in the healing process. 


Pelvic Floor Exercises: Gentle pelvic floor exercises, commonly known as Kegel exercises, can enhance blood flow to the pelvic region and promote healing. Consult with a healthcare provider to ensure these exercises are appropriate for your individual situation. 


Pain Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications can be effective in managing pain associated with vaginal bruising. However, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication during the postnatal period.


Healing Time for Vaginal Bruising After Birth 

One of the questions that often preoccupies the minds of new mothers experiencing vaginal bruising after childbirth is, "How long will it take to heal?" The healing process can vary from woman to woman, depending on factors such as the extent of bruising, individual health, and the chosen treatments. Here's a general overview of what to expect: 

Immediate Postnatal PeriodImmediate Postnatal Period: In the immediate aftermath of childbirth, vaginal bruising is a common occurrence, and it's not unusual for mothers to experience discomfort and swelling. During the first few days, rest and consistent application of cold compresses can help manage pain and reduce swelling. 

First Week: Within the first week postpartum, the initial inflammation and acute discomfort typically begin to subside. Adhering to prescribed treatments, maintaining good hygiene, and avoiding activities that may strain the healing tissues are crucial during this period. 

Two Weeks to One Month: By the end of the second week and into the following weeks, many women observe significant improvement in the symptoms of vaginal bruising. Continued use of warm baths, topical analgesics, and prescribed medications, if any, can contribute to the healing process. 

One to Two Months: While individual healing rates may vary, most women find that by the end of the first month or into the second month postpartum, the majority of the bruising has resolved. Engaging in pelvic floor exercises as advised by healthcare professionals can further promote healing and restore muscle tone. 

Longer-Term Healing: Complete resolution of all postpartum-related symptoms, including vaginal bruising, may take several weeks to a few months. It's important for mothers to listen to their bodies, attend follow-up appointments with healthcare providers, and communicate any lingering concerns. 

It is crucial to recognise that individual healing experiences can differ. Factors such as overall health, adherence to postnatal care recommendations, and the presence of any complications can influence the duration of the healing process. 

Throughout the healing journey, maintaining open communication with healthcare professionals is important. They can offer guidance, monitor progress, and address any unexpected concerns that may arise. Remember that patience, self-care, and a supportive environment contribute significantly to a smoother recovery from vaginal bruising after birth. 



Vaginal bruising after birth is a common occurrence that, in most cases, resolves with time and proper care. Understanding the causes and implementing appropriate treatments can significantly contribute to a smoother postnatal recovery. As always, it's essential for new mothers to communicate openly with their healthcare providers to receive personalised guidance and support during this transformative period.