After leaving hospital, you should receive follow-up care to promote your physical and emotional recovery and to provide advice for future pregnancies. Arrangements for this care should begin while you are in hospital.
In the weeks after your baby is born, you should be offered a follow-up appointment with an experienced member of your healthcare team who is familiar with your history. They will check that your injury is healing and discuss any other problems you are experiencing. They can help you if you have concerns about pain, incontinence, sexual activities, exercise, or relationship difficulties because of your injury. You may also feel sad or tearful for a period after this type of injury.
To support your recovery, a number of specialist services may be offered, such as:
- Clinics that specialise in treating women with third and fourth degree perineal tears
- Specialist doctors like obstetricians or colorectal surgeons
- Healthcare professionals with experience in pelvic floor health, such as a physiotherapist
- Psychological services.
Your GP or other primary care provider can provide follow-up care and refer you to other services if required. Information about your care and the recommended follow-up will be provided to them in a discharge summary from the hospital.
It is important to talk to your support person or partner, as they may also need help to understand how to support you while you recover and to look after their own health and wellbeing. You may choose for both of you to go to your appointments.
It is also recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about your future plans for another pregnancy.