Episiotomy Infection : What caused this?

I am 2 weeks postpartum and my episiotomy is infected. My dr says that it's rare, but it does happen. I have been extremely careful with cleaning and pads etc..could my daughter's bowel movement before birth cause the infection?



Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Dear Lynne,

This can be so discouraging when you are trying to recover from birth and adjust to the demands of motherhood.

Actually, it is doubtful that anything you or your baby did could have caused the infection. This is one of the complications of cutting episiotomies and why they should never be considered routine. The hospital presents all sorts of opportunities for infection - it is far from a sterile environment and despite all the measures taken to prevent infection, it is common enough.

Birth is a "clean" event, not a sterile one and bacteria can invade the site of a wound despite the best precautions and hygiene. Meconium, the baby's first bowel movement, is sterile but all of the blood and debris make an ideal medium for bacterial growth.

Don't blame yourself. I hope you are getting LOTS of rest, fluids and nurturing. Episiotomy infections usually heal quickly and well but keep the doctor notified of any discharge, odor, fever or redness.

I hope you heal quickly and can get on to the fun and work of mothering.

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