Episiotomy vs tearing naturally

(42 Posts)
Dogsmom Tue 19-Feb-13 15:21:12

I was discussing with my MW about what needs to go on my birth plan and she said to put whether I prefer to be cut rather than tear naturally.

I can't think of any reason why I would prefer to tear but am i missing something? I imagine a tear would be more jagged and potentially go in any direction whereas a planned cut would be neater and therefore easier to stitch and quicker to heal?

NotAnotherPackedLunch Tue 19-Feb-13 15:25:00

I've had both and the episiotomy healed better and didn't feel odd for as long as the tear.
If I was doing it again I'd ask for an episiotomy.

PoppyWearer Tue 19-Feb-13 15:40:38

Episiotomies are supposedly more difficult to heal and more likely to reopen at the next birth. I think.

I did quite a bit of reading before my DC1 was born and was adamantly anti-episiotomy in my birth plan. My mistake was probably reading Naomi Wolf's anti-episiotomy rants in "Conception"!

Well, birth plan, ha! DC1 wasn't coming out of me without an episiotomy, so that was what had to happen. In the end. Listening to the midwives talk about how blunt the scissors were was not a high-point of my life, I must say.

With DC2 I didn't have the option as he was coming out so fast. The crowning and tearing hurt a hell of a lot. The midwife also thought I wasn't going to tear much, but had reckoned without his mahoosive nose.

On reflection, I wouldn't be anti-episiotomy again. I'm fact second time around I would have chosen the episiotomy again. But I wouldn't say that I suffer any long-term effects from an episiotomy the first time.

NotAQueef Tue 19-Feb-13 15:46:35

I don't know really.
I just wanted to confuse things further by adding that I had both an episiotomy and an extended tear at the same blimmin' time!

mamapants Wed 20-Feb-13 20:23:57

I read that tears are preferable for healing.
I had an episiotomy which I really didn't want before hand couldn't care less at the time, healed fine and neat.

Jsa1980 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:28:44

Spoke to my midwife about this today, she said when she personally gave birth she asked to tear naturally. I'm still undecided.

Flisspaps Wed 20-Feb-13 20:30:45

I had an episiotomy which extended into a 3a tear (big!) with DD, and an episiotomy without tearing with DS.

The one that tore extensively was far, far less painful during healing.

amyjayde Wed 20-Feb-13 22:15:02

I chose to tear naturally and the recovery was fantastic, I had a couple of stitches but to be honest I was not in any pain even the few hours after giving birth, I do not regret my decision smile

Tranquilitybaby Wed 20-Feb-13 23:34:12

Tearing is generally better than being cut. Imagine trying to rip a piece of material then again but cutting it with scissors slightly first, the latter would tear easier and more extensively.

readyforno2 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:37:03

I had an episiotomy with ds1 and tore with ds2.
The tear healed a lot quicker than the cut, my midwife likened it to a bit of torn paper with all the fibres coming together.

SirBoobAlot Wed 20-Feb-13 23:42:10

Tears heal better in the long run than cuts. If it's a straight cut, there aren't any edges to help the body pull it back together, if that makes sense. I'd much prefer to tear, given the choice, though I was bloody terrified of it during birth.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:43:52

I had second degree natural tears with both babies- no issues with either, second one in particular healed very well. I has a continuous stitch with that one and I think it was much better.

MyGlassIsJustHalfWet Wed 20-Feb-13 23:57:14

Just wanted to say I tore and although I felt it tearing at the time it was more of a sensation than pain iykwim?
I was adamant I did not want cutting but if I had needed it at the time I would have.
Obviously have nothing to compare but my tear healed super fast.

MammaCici Thu 21-Feb-13 11:36:57

It's a horrible choice but I chose to tear naturally with DC1. I had 3 small tears each needing one stitch. I'm 30 weeks along with DC2 and tearing v episiotomy is one of those decisions I dread. I guess I'll go with tearing again.

shushpenfold Thu 21-Feb-13 11:38:47

Have had both...neither was preferable!!! It it was a choice of small tear, I would tear, but having done a second degree tear too (muscle tear plus skin - sorry!) I would rather have had pain relief....

Leave it off the birth plan....you won't care when it gets there!

CSLewis Thu 21-Feb-13 11:43:32

My understanding is that an episiotomy is easier to stitch (and I think they always require stitches), so some medical professionals push for those, as it makes their lives easier.

A tear is more difficult to stitch, but usually heals better and quicker than an episiotomy, and you don't always have to have stitches, either. My sister had a second-degree tear (1st degree being the least serious), and her midwives were happy for her to decline stitches.

I was adamant I didn't want to be cut. But after pushing for 2 and 1/4 hours following a 23 hour labour I agreed. He has out in a couple of pushes and I wished I'd agreed sooner.

It did take a good year for me to stop being aware of it. A friend had to have surgery to repair a tear then a C section with next due to risk of further tearing. I would personally go with the flow on the day depending on how things progress.

FirstTimeForEverything Thu 21-Feb-13 11:55:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Radiator1234 Thu 21-Feb-13 11:57:16

Probably not a helpful comment but there is every chance you just won't care on the day.... I hadn't really given much thought to episiotomy v tearing before DD was born, but after 2 hours of pushing, and complete exhaustion, all I kept saying to the midwives was "please cut me.... Please just pull her out". They didn't and eventually I did push her out and had a 2nd degree tear. It was v sore after but healed reasonably quickly. One thing I would say though is whether its an episiotomy/ tear/ whatever, do make sure you change your towel often as my stitches got infected (and I thought I changed the towel often enough) which was pretty grim about 4 days into having a newborn baby and involved having to go back to the hospital/antibiotics etc. good luck!

FirstTimeForEverything Thu 21-Feb-13 12:00:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cheddars Thu 21-Feb-13 12:00:42

runs screaming from the thread

Shagmundfreud Thu 21-Feb-13 12:52:21

Women who have an episiotomy are more likely to report that intercourse is painful 6 months after the birth. I think it does more nerve damage than a tear. Most midwives I know are massively anti-episiotomy except in extreme cases.

AmberLeaf Thu 21-Feb-13 13:54:06

I stated no episiotomy on my birth plan.

episiotomy is easier for the person stitching it back up than a natural tear.

Lucky for me I got away with minor grazes.

shushpenfold Thu 21-Feb-13 18:05:13

LOL at Cheddars!!! Running with stitches stings a bit though grin

whattodoo Thu 21-Feb-13 18:10:51

I tore and can honestly say that I didn't know anything about it until the MW started to stitch. I don't know how I didn't feel it (only had gas & air) but it must have just got lost in the whole contractions business.

Healed quickly and with no major problems, other than when we have sex at an unexpected angle.

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