Tearing/stitches inevitable with first?

(45 Posts)
Jsa1980 Sun 20-Jan-13 21:45:35

I'm 29 weeks and currently measuring two weeks over. I'm guessing this baby might be a big one.

I just wondered if tearing was inevitable as it's my first. I'm absolutely bricking it about forceps and stitches. Do I need to get over it and accept that it's going to happen?

Good or bad stories welcome.

StrawberryMojito Sun 20-Jan-13 21:52:36

I had 7lb 5oz boy and I had ventouse/forceps delivery and tore badly. However a very petite friend of mine also had an average size baby and found it a doddle, no stitches, no intervention. You will get positive and negative stories, so no, you don't have to accept the fact that you will tear and need stitches but maybe keep an open mind to the possibility. By the way, even if you do need a few, it is not the end of the world and your body will no doubt heal well.

aimingtobeaperfectionist Sun 20-Jan-13 21:53:23

I don't think tearing and stitches are 'inevitable'. I did tear with my first but I just wanted to assure you it didn't hurt! It was very odd, I could feel it happening but more of a sensation than a pain IYKWIM?
Three of my friends did not tear with their first.
My DD was 8lb11 so not small but I didn't need forceps. I'm not sure size makes a big difference? One friends DD was 6lb and she had ventuse.
Try not to worry too much, whatever happens at the time is what needs to happen. I was terrified of being cut but honestly, if I'd needed it at the time is have had it.

ToomuchWaternotWine Sun 20-Jan-13 22:01:37

Nope it's not inevitable at all, and size doesn't seem to have much to do with it actually, on a straw poll of my friends. I had a loooooong labour with a 8lb 1 baby and no tear or stitches at all. Others had 9lbers, same. Friends who had smaller babies but much quicker deliveries had stitches.

I know how you feel, the whole way thru pregnancy the only thing that freaked me out was the idea of an episiotomy, I just squirmed totally at the idea of being "cut" BUT when you are at end of labour, you honestly don't care what happens as long as the baby comes OUT in one piece smile

KittyLilith Sun 20-Jan-13 22:10:56

Nope. Not inevitable. I didn't tear with DS1 (7lb 12) or DS2 (8lb 4). Good luck.

FirstTimeForEverything Sun 20-Jan-13 22:11:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KittyLilith Sun 20-Jan-13 22:12:30

I forgot to mention DS1 was a ventouse delivery too and still no stitches.

Izpie Sun 20-Jan-13 22:17:59

Both mine were born without tearing or any interventions, had an epidural with the first so doesn't necessarily follow that epidurals lead to interventions either. Neither were particularly big, 5.13 and 6.13, but both dh & I are on the small side. You'll probably find by the time you get to that point in the birth you're so close to meeting your baby it won't matter as much as you think it will, you'll just want him/her out & in your arms. Good luck!

I wouldn't says tearing or stitches are ever inevitable! Many mums give birth to "big" babies without a scratch!
And there are a few "tears" and "grazes" that never require any stitches!
If it's something you're worried about, there are certain circumstances in which you are more/less likely to tear....and it's worth exploring them.
Here's a good link, and even though it's talking about home birth, there is still a lot you can get from it.

egdeh Sun 20-Jan-13 22:24:05

I had fairly speedy labour with dd1 (arrived hospital at 9.30, she arrived 10.20!). She was a very average 7lb 4 and I didn't tear.
Had 2 more since, similar labours, bigger babies and had 1 stitch with each but the sensations in labour were no different/ worse than with dd1, so tearing wasn't something I felt happen.
So not inevitable no, but it might happen. Thing is you probably won't notice or care when you are in labour and afterwards hopefully your new baby will more than make up for whatever you experience in childbirth.

MediumOrchid Sun 20-Jan-13 22:31:06

I just a 'graze' when I had dd, which didn't need stitches and has healed fine. The size of the baby doesn't always make a difference. A water birth is supposed to help avoid tearing, apparently - not that I got one, as I had to be induced!

Doinmummy Sun 20-Jan-13 22:33:22

I had an 8 pounder and didn't tear. The midwife said its because I did as I was told. ie stopped pushing when she said.

Jsa1980 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:33:56

Thank you. Glad to here it's not inevitable, but I also recognise that I need to be prepared for it to happen. Guess it's true what people say I really won't care what happens at the time

Wolfiefan Sun 20-Jan-13 22:38:13

I tore with both of mine. Healed well and didn't really notice at the time! I was a bit busy!?!
I seem to be totally unable of just "breathing the baby out". The MW at my second birth advised me to give a little push but then said "or you can just do that!" As DD flew out!!
I wouldn't worry too much. Big could mean long rather than a huge head! I tend to have biggish babies and always felt gravity was on my side.
As far as episiotomies etc? If it were necessary then anything to get baby out safely.

TheDarkSideOfTheSpoon Sun 20-Jan-13 22:40:50

I didn't tear with either of mine. Dd1 was 9lb 2oz and a very speedy induced labour, about 5 hours from start to finish. dd2 was 9lb 8oz water birth, a very quick 2.5 hours from waters broken to baby in arms.

I think the reason I avoided a tear with dd1's birth is that I had a wonderful midwife who told me exactly when to push/not to push, and most importantly I listened to her and did as I was told for the first time in my life

Dd2's birth was an altogether more 'relaxed' affair and I think the reason I didn't tear with her, despite her considerable size and her fist being up against her cheek, is that I was more relaxed and could feel what my body was telling me. It was one of those "breath it out" births that nobody ever believes but I'm sure it's why I was able to remain intact.

As other posters have said, when you're in the moment you will just want your baby born safely and the episiotomy won't seem such a scary prospect if it comes to it. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and your birth smile

LittlePicnic Sun 20-Jan-13 22:42:58

To help use special perineum oil ( they sell it at mothercare) and from now until the birth, gently massage the area daily. This will help make the area more supple and stretch the skin ( giving it a helping hand). I did this with DC1 and only needed two stitches. I didn't so much with DC2 and needed more.

yummum19 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:47:17

Not at all smile I didn't tear at all with my first, she was 6lb14oz. Try not to worry too much about what may or may not happen and just go with the flow. It won't matter so much when your holding your bundle of joy. Good luck!

TheBrideofMucky Sun 20-Jan-13 22:48:22

I was also terrified of tearing / being cut but it didn't happen to me either time so definitely not inevitable. I only know two other new mothers who had to have stitches out of nine of us.

Agree with what others have said, although the prospect is horrifying, both agreed it didn't hurt at the time as you would expect it to.

I just kind of accepted that it might happen without thinking too much about it as I was so scared. Hopefully you will be lucky too.

Jsa1980 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:49:06

Thank you, I will look into using the oil, if I can still reach!

Will the midwife tell you how long and how hard to push for to limit any damage?

Princesspond Sun 20-Jan-13 22:59:08

I had an epidural with my first and didn't tear but had a slight nick/graze that the midwife didn't stitch. With my second no epidural and had similar sounding nick/graze which they did decide to stitch (I didn't look at either). I was a bit sad but I would just say the recovery after the stitch was actually much quicker. As doinmummy says at the end try to listen to the midwife and stop pushing when you are told. You have to concentrate though, all I wanted to do was push that baby out ASAP!

Overberries Sun 20-Jan-13 23:06:47

Had an awful time with DC1, shoulder dystocia and 4th degree tear. Since then I've always wondered if more could be done at antenatal to prepare for the fall out (no pun intended!) of a physically traumatic birth. I guess you run the risk of freaking everyone out which is not ideal. I was completely unprepared for all this and the lengthy recovery though. But since you are worrying about it, I'll add that after all that trauma both DS and I are absolutely fine and it's all a hazy and crazy memory. Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine x

MrsPennyapple Sun 20-Jan-13 23:07:03

I also used the oil and did a bit of perineal massage (yes, it is difficult to reach!) and only had a teeny tiny graze. DD was only 6lb 12 though, but she was born very quickly, which I've heard is more likely to lead to tearing.

My midwife was saying things like "big push" and then "little pushes" and I just did what she said.

FirstTimeForEverything Mon 21-Jan-13 08:42:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

arghhelpme Mon 21-Jan-13 08:49:53

Ds1 was 8lb 14. Easy labour, slight graze and no stitches.

Ds2 was 7lb 12. Painful labour, i tore and had stitches.

DangerMousey Mon 21-Jan-13 10:46:39

DS1 ws 9lb 3oz with a head circumference on the 91st centile!

I had a natural labour with gas and air, and I had a 2nd degree tear. I didnt feel it when it happened, the stitching up was fine (not the most pleasant experience of my life, but not awful...a bit like being at the dentist or something: not nice but you just have to be brave!).

Afterwards, I couldnt really feel the stitches much, had some dull pain in my fanny area, but nothing a couple of paracetamol every 4 hours couldn't handle.

Not trying to sound smug: just saying, I was really scared of tearing too, and the idea of stitches horrified me, but it really wasnt that bad and they healed fine within a couple of weeks. I just didnt look down there, tried to ignore it and took paracetamol for a few days till the swollen soreness felt better.

Six weeks down the line everything is fine.

notcitrus Mon 21-Jan-13 11:14:01

I know people who didn't, but possibly the best advise I've ever had from MN is to put on my birth plan "if I need cutting or stitches, I want them done by an expert!"

I've had two babies with epidural, ventouse and stitching, and after the first I was having midwives complement me on my vagina by day 2, and felt fine. After the second I only know I had a second degree tear from reading my notes 4 days later, though in retrospect the stitching went on for ages - couldn't feel a thing so wasn't bothered.

Bluemonkeyspots Mon 21-Jan-13 13:30:48

I had a "graze" with my first heifer that they were unsure whether i needed 1 stitch but gave me it anyway just incase.

Next two heifers I did not tear/graze so no stitches needed but there was honestly no difference in the actual delivery for me.

You are in so much pain anyway and utterly exhausted by the time you deliver that it's not something you will even really be aware of if it happens.

I'm sure it's got more to do with the position the baby is in anyway so a normal sized baby coming a awkward way is more likely to do damage than a large baby in the right position (hope that's right!)

elliejjtiny Mon 21-Jan-13 13:34:08

my 3 were 8lb 13oz, 8lb 10oz and 8lb 12oz. Slight graze with DS1 and that's it. I asked the midwife to tell me when to pant and when to push with DS3 as I'd heard that 3rd babies tend to shoot out. My mum was a bit shocked though. She kept saying "are you sure you didn't have any" and "but everyone has stitches". I must have a bucket fanjo grin

FirstTimeForEverything Mon 21-Jan-13 14:12:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DeTamble Mon 21-Jan-13 15:19:39

I had a very strange tear with my first and it went un-noticed until the scar tissue started to form. The muscle tore, 2nd degree, in three different places, but the skin never tore (hence why it went un-noticed). I never felt it happen either. I took four months to heal, and sex was painful in varying degrees for a year afterwards, but all was fine after that.

On the other hand, my mother did not tear or even graze when I was born, and I came out arm first so she had to squeeze out a head and shoulder together.

Really I think it's just luck of the draw, and is down to too many variables to know if you will tear or not.

DeTamble Mon 21-Jan-13 15:23:17

Mind you, I should probably also add that mine was not engaged during the entire labour, and at the very end my waters broke and the baby shot down like a canon, which is probably why I tore in the way mentioned above.

Susan2kids Mon 21-Jan-13 15:42:24

No its not inevitable at all.

Jsa1980 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:25:31

Thank you. Feel a bit more at peace with it all now. Guess you mainly here the horror stories. I only have one friend with a child and she had a bad third degree tear. My OH does have a massive head though!

beckslovestimmy Tue 22-Jan-13 16:49:59

I had a small tear to my left labia following birth of a 6lb 8oz PFB no stitches required and only really stung when I did my first wee after birth. I didn't feel the tear but then again I had a very quick pushing stage, only 4 minutes and my body did all the pushing, I had no control over the pushing I didn't have to bear down IYSWIM.

Isandri Tue 22-Jan-13 17:25:37

I'm petite and gave birth to a 7 pound 8 ounce baby. It was painful when the baby's head came out but was quick. I had 7 stitches but the midwives said they could have managed with 6. They put in the 7th stitch to hold the muscle in place. I took a few paracetamol for the next few days, healed really well and dtd 5 weeks later,(and then again a few days later).

Even if you need stitches it might not be as bad as you think.

elfycat Tue 22-Jan-13 17:37:22

DD1 was born without a graze! I had a similar birth to beckslovestimmy above where my body started doing the work and I just went along for the ride (I did bear down though and I had to do all the breathing!)

DD2 was another story, episiotomy to have a vontouse and then tore a bit more. I asked if I needed stitches and I got some very strange looks! that'll be yes then - go ahead Mind you after a rather uncomfortable first week it wasn't to bad and after a couple of months I'd never have known.

orangeshortbread Tue 22-Jan-13 20:04:02

I was really scared of tearing. I did my perineal massage from a few weeks before and and gave birth in the water. I ended up with a tiny tear but no stitches needed. It's really not as bad as I thought it would be and will heal by itself in time. I didn't feel it happening either.

ISpyPlumPie Tue 22-Jan-13 20:13:48

DS1 - 9lb 2oz, no stitches. Poss due to quite a long second stage - mw said in the end I 'breathed' him out. Not a concious decision, just think I was a bit rubbish at pushing!

DS2 - much quicker second stage (born in 3 pushes) but no stitches. He was smaller (7lb 10 oz) and it was a water birth, both of which helped I think.

I might just be incredibly lucky but based on my experiences stitches are not inevitable. Hope everything goes well for you too smile.

rachyconks Tue 22-Jan-13 20:21:50

I had DD1 in November. She was 8lb 7oz and I had a 29hr labour start to finish. I had a small graze, which needed a stitch, just to stop it bleeding. I was so worried about the birth and tearing etc before hand, but as other posters say, listen to the midwives and you'll be fine. The stitches were worse than the birth, but I had a brand new beautiful daughter to cuddle and wasn't overly bothered. Healing was fine, but WHY does no one tell you that stitches are itchy when they are healing!!! That was horrible!!

good luck!

Cakethrow Tue 22-Jan-13 20:34:28

Definitely not inevitable!

3DC here DD:6 lb 7.5 - nothing, not even a graze; no intervention
DS1: 6 lb 13.5 - just one small graze which did sting a little when I went for a wee; no intervention
DS2: 7 lb 13 (with a massive head!) nothing, not even a graze and no intervention even though he was a total bugger to push out!

I was really scared of tearing/episiotomy and had got myself quite worked up about it so I can completely relate to you posting this.

Good luck!

mayhew Tue 22-Jan-13 21:05:54

Well. After I'd been qualified 5 years, I decided to audit my records to look at perineal injury.I looked at my first 100 normal births and my most recent 100. My belief was that i had become more skilled at preventing injury (I certainly tried hard) and that the figures would reflect this. I was trained in a unit that did few episiotomies in normal births.

The outcome: exactly the same! First time mums usually had a tear (around 65%), second (or more) time mums usually did not have any significant injury.

The change that has occurred in my practice is, now I do not routinely stitch small tears. They heal just as well with less discomfort left alone. I am also more hands off at deliveries. Though I do coach and guide as much as I can. Its psychological support for the mother but I don't know if it actually makes any difference.

Evidence shows that in spite of strongly held beliefs of HCPs, episiotomy does not prevent 3rd degree tears.

The only things that seem to prevent severe tears
:avoiding forceps (not always possible)
: antenatal perineal massage.

rach6122 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:56:37

had my first 3 weeks ago, no tear or stitches required, easier said than done but really try to listen to the midwife on when to push/pant etc, i put in my birth notes to specifically be told exactly how, when and for how long to push and pant to decrease risk!

GingerDoodle Thu 24-Jan-13 20:33:58

A week early, 7lb 1 DD. Had 3 small grazes which they stitched - they healed fine and were really not that painful at all!

debbie1412 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:26:27

I tore with my 1st sore for 12 days after ( baby shot out as they were Preparing to cut me ) 2nd child I was cut they numbed me before didn't feel a thing they numbed me after to stitch me. I can honestly say I had no discomfort after the birth at all. Its really not that bad either way! Also you can buy empty travel toilet tree containers from boots abit of olive oil sprayed down there before and during crowning is amazing x

llightfoot Sun 27-Jan-13 17:54:42

my first child was 8 12 and a half i only got grazes wich hurt a bit when i went the toilet but that was it gd luck x

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