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to be pissed off at hearing how "third and fourth degree tears" are rare by people on here, mainly doulas.

(189 Posts)
ebd Sat 11-Apr-09 22:52:56

I had a third degree tear with my second ds and have since found out that third/fourth degree tears are actually more common than people realise. I know 5 people in real life who suffered serious tearing (out of an antenatal class of 14)and my midwife and health visitor tell me they see women with these type of injuries on a regular basis. My consultant even specialise in repairing women who've experienced this. So when I read on childbirth threads that third/fourth degree tears are "not very common" it gets my blood boiling. It is common for posters with no medical experience to make this sweeping statment and although I will get flamed for saying this, it is mainly doulas who quote this to women worried about tearing or women who have had a third degree tear and are worried about it happening again. There is one poster who is a doula who just quotes the "it's very rare" line all the time". It really pisses me off. I wish these type of tears were rare but they're not. One consultant gynae friend told me that often hospitals will "massage" the figures and say a woman has had a second degree tear rather than a third as if lots of third degree tears are reported, doctors can be investigated. I know mumsnet has a disclaimer that they haven't checked the medical qualifications of anyone posting, but I think posters with no medical knowledge shouldn't be spouting claims which are factually incorrect.

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 11-Apr-09 22:56:48

Message withdrawn

MamaG Sat 11-Apr-09 22:58:15

I don't know anybody who has had a 3rd/4th degree tear

would you rather posters scared the hell out of pg women instead?

mrsboogie Sat 11-Apr-09 22:58:36

what the hell is a fourth degree tear??

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 11-Apr-09 23:00:34

Message withdrawn

ComeOeufeneer Sat 11-Apr-09 23:02:20

They may be more common than people realise but they are still rare when you consider how many vaginal births there are that dont result in them.

Did you join MN just to post this, and why are you so bothered about this?

StudentMadwife Sat 11-Apr-09 23:03:49

erm. to say they are "very rare" is a lie. to say they are "uncommon" is not. Ive seen hundreds of women, out of whome only 1 had a 4th and 3 or 4 had a third degree tear. they can happen whatever, but they also have a large chance of happening if the birth is "missmanaged"

Northernlurker Sat 11-Apr-09 23:06:14

Ok so you want to post full of doom and say how everyone you know has had bad tearing? How exactly do you think that will help women relax in childbirth?

Fwiw - I've had a fair bit of embroidery on my nether regions but I am the only person I know to have that much and I have no lasting ill effects therefore my personal experience equips me to say that you are talking through your hat!

ebd Sat 11-Apr-09 23:07:20

My point is that they are not actually that rare! There are so many threads in childbirth/health about women who have suffered from this injury and who are still suffering months/years after giving birth. There are websites and trauma helplines dedicated for women who have suffered these types of injuries. It does the women who have suffered from this no favours with the "it is rare" message. It makes us feel marginalised and isolated when infact that is not the case.

bruxeur Sat 11-Apr-09 23:08:29

The RCOG say 9% here.

I don't know if you would call this "very rare" or not, but I certainly know that relying on a sample size of 14 is not very helpful either.

mrsboogie Sat 11-Apr-09 23:10:04

jesus shock.

I have given birth twice (22 yrs ago and 6 months ago) and the first I ever heard of a third degree tear was when I joined mumsnet last year. Tbh I didn't investigate what exactly it entailed as I didn't want to know. That kind of thing is the last thing any first timer needs to hear about.

Swedes Sat 11-Apr-09 23:11:10

What is a 4th degree tear?

I had a third degree tear from perineum to anus with my second son. Do people's legs get severed in really bad cases?

MamaG Sat 11-Apr-09 23:13:05

swedes shock
I just gave a bark of shocked laughter at your post

Northernlurker Sat 11-Apr-09 23:13:47

ebd - if you have suffered some sort of trauma in childbirth - of whatever type then you are more likjely to search for info and support on the internet than if you had a perfectly nice time and everything was ok. People just don't feel the same impetus to post their 'I'm fine' stories. It's a self selecting population on here. What happened to you was unusual in the population at large and slightly more usual on here - that's all.

ebd Sat 11-Apr-09 23:14:05

We're not talking about first-timers we're talking about women who've given birth, had this appalling injury and come onto mumsnet for advice. They may then then think about having another baby, discuss it with women who've had similiar injuries only to be told by a "helpful" mumsnetter with little or no medical experience that it's a really rare complication. FWIW on my maternity ward there were 3 of us in one day who'd had third degree tears. So again, it is more common than people realise.

hazeyjane Sat 11-Apr-09 23:14:07

I don't see why it is a problem if they are described as being rare, or uncommon. In what way does it make you feel marginalised? I had a 3rd degree tear with dd1, and have met a couple of people who have suffered 2nd and 3rd degree tears. I don't get the impression there is some sort of cover up, what would be the point?

TotalChaos Sat 11-Apr-09 23:14:12

given the 9% figure bruxeur has linked to, YANBU (apart from the aspersions on doulas).

Swedes Sat 11-Apr-09 23:16:28

With me it happened with my 2nd son because my first son was born by c-section.

ebd Sat 11-Apr-09 23:18:08

The point of a cover up, is as I've already said, so that there is no clinical investigation as to why so many women in a particular maternity ward have had third/fourth degree tears. It is a conspiracy of silence. I know of some women with third degree tears who didn't even realise they'd had such severe tearing- they weren't told and it wasn't put in their notes. Only when they suffered childbirth compliations and went on to see a consultant did they realise they'd had an undiagnosed tear.

ComeOeufeneer Sat 11-Apr-09 23:20:00

EBD rare and uncommon are basically the same thing. OK so the day you were there there were 3 of you with this. Quite likely the rest of the week there were none. £rd/4th degree tears can't generaly be predicted, nor prevented (even with proceedures such as episiotomies) so there is little point in scaring pregant womenwith stories of how common/uncommon this is.

bruxeur Sat 11-Apr-09 23:20:05

I bet THEY did the WTC thing too, didn't they?

TheHedgeWitchIsNAK Sat 11-Apr-09 23:21:12

Message withdrawn

ebd Sat 11-Apr-09 23:24:40

As I've already said, it's not about "scaring" pregnant women. It's about posters deliberately going the other way and saying third degree tears never happen any more. I have been following a thread in childbirth started by a woman who had a third degree tear. She is pregnant again and is debating whether to have a c-section. Loads of other women who had third degree tears replied with their experiences, including a poster with no medical knowledge and who has never had a third degree tear herself. This poster did the "it's very rare" line to a group of women who've all had third or fourth degree tears. Shockingly, she seemed to think because she is a doula she could say this. If she'd said "in my experience I've never seen this type of injury" fine, but to say sweepingly that its so rare is not on.

hazeyjane Sat 11-Apr-09 23:24:48

How would someone not know they had torn that badly? I thought 3rd degree tears had to be stitched up in theatre under a spinal. Also, when i tore it felt like having my leg ripped off, not something I will forget in a hurry!

bruxeur Sat 11-Apr-09 23:26:13

I'd be very interested to see some links to people claiming that 3/4th degree tears "never happen any more".

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