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So... how common is tearing...?

(68 Posts)
ChessyEvans Fri 14-Jan-11 12:42:04

This is something that terrifies me! From watching OBEM this is never mentioned, but then neither is delivering placenta etc which I know has to happen after the baby comes (forgive my complete ignorance about childbirth, I will be going to NCT! blush)

So I was just wondering, do most people get some tearing? And if so, what happens confused. Do you have to just lie there getting all stitched back together? Or whisked off to theatre? Or do you get left for a bit to bond with your new baby and then sorted out afterwards?

Am sure the answer to all of the above will be "it depends" but interested to hear any experiences. I'm planning on having a water birth if that affects anything?

Flojo1979 Fri 14-Jan-11 12:53:24

tearing is relatively common, i had an episy so about half hour after while baby was in my arms they stitched me. They use local anaesthetic so dont feel anything and tbh with new baby in your arms u dont notice whats going on around u anyway

StartingAfresh Fri 14-Jan-11 12:58:50

It's very common indeed. It sounds horrific (and rarely, it can be) but generally it is just the normal part of childbirth, like the placenta coming away, and possibly being sick, and pooing when pushing.

Honestly, it sounds far far worse than it is. I had two 2nd degree tears without any pain relief and it stung for sure, but nowhere near as painful as even the earliest contractions.

FoghornLeghorn Fri 14-Jan-11 13:01:55

Message deleted

Flojo1979 Fri 14-Jan-11 13:05:55

C'mon guys i dont think u r very reassuring!!
NNo point worrying now, baby is in there so it has gotta come out! Enjoy it, cos its a wonderful experience that'll rarely happen again

StartingAfresh Fri 14-Jan-11 13:11:32

I thought I WAS being reassuring, although perhaps saying that the contractions were worse wasn't! confused

Look, very few people actually like giving birth. Most will agree it isn't the most pleasant thing to have to do but it doesn't have to be scary, and it doesn't have to be as painful as it might be if you are scared.

Snowstorm Fri 14-Jan-11 13:14:35

I tore for both but I didn't know I had as you're busy dealing with/breathing through the contractions and then the pushing and what have you. I don't think it's anything to worry about because if it's going to happen it's going to happen and there seems to be so much going on that you can't single out the feeling of being torn (if you know what I mean!).

I got stitched up afterwards in the room I'd given birth in (husband and baby were there too). I took a bit of gas and air because I'm a bit of wuss about needles and wanted a bit of reassurance before having a couple of local anaesthetics in my nether regions. It was all fine though ... apart from anything else your entire existence, as you know it, as just changed with the arrival of your own personal miracle ... and so you're kind of in a different place (mentally, emotionally and physcially) to what you would be were you in A&E for something that needed sewing up!

The placenta just sort of flol-lops out, if my memory serves me right. Was holding my baby at that point and not really paying too much attention to anything else!

HTH. Hope it all goes well. Enjoy your pregnancy!

maxpower Fri 14-Jan-11 13:42:20

I had a second degree tear and like snowstorm says, I didn't actually notice the tear happening because I was wrapped up in pushing the baby out. The placenta was delivered 10mins later and wasn't hard work - just needed a little push and the mw pulled it out. Mw then left DH LO and I alone for about an hour before coming back to check on the tear and stitching it up. Only one of the local anaesthetic injections stung as she gave it and after that there wasn't any pain, just the sensation of the tissues being moved as she was stitching.

From what I understand, delivering in water reduces the likelihood of tearing as the water supports the perineum.

Honestly, it's not something to worry about. Good luck.

ChessyEvans Fri 14-Jan-11 13:52:40

Thanks so much for all your replies, even if it is a bit scary it's reassuring to hear your experiences (not least that many of you have gone on to have more!)

V good advice Flojo - not much I can do about it now! Will try to relax more about it. I know I'm probably focusing on the wrong thing - should possibly be more concerned by the hours of labour than the few mins of stitching, just really freaks me out for some reason!

Thanks for the support smile

StartingAfresh Fri 14-Jan-11 15:08:05

Cheesy, - You SO won't notice it at the time and if you need stitching you'll realise that yes, the gas and air does work afterall.

And the stitching thingy is pretty straightforward and the MWs are good at it.

I was given a mirror to inspect mine and she showed me where she had stitched and where she had left and it really didn't look as gruesome as you would imagine by NOT looking iyswim.

Snowstorm Fri 14-Jan-11 19:11:58

OMG ... you were given a mirror ... AND you looked - ha!ha! ... eeek!!!!

ChessyEvans ... I found that having focussed all my energies on the whole giving birth thing, it was actually the 'what on earth do I do with this new baby who I'm responsible for' bit, and everything that comes with it, that makes the birth fade into insignificance in comparison! Giving birth is a finite period of time. Learning to breastfeed properly when you are sleep deprived and on the biggest learning curve of your life however ... smile ... well that's a completely different kettle of fish!

sotough Fri 14-Jan-11 19:59:15

hi there, just to add my experiences. I have had two children; my youngest is now two weeks old. with my first born i had an episiotomy. this was something i had totally dreaded but was not a big deal at all and healed perfectly. i didn't look at the cut for a while and when i finally did have a peek i couldn't really see where it was! Please dont be fearful of episiotomy as it's not as bad as it sounds.
When i gave birth to my daughter i got a second degree tear. I didn't exactly notice it happening as it all moulds into one experience, ie, the overwhelming pain of childbirth. I was really surprised how long it took to stitch me up after - i had a newly qualified midwife and she was very careful but it was a slightly upsetting experience as it took ages and i began to feel like a guinea pig as she kept calling in someone more senior to check she was doing it right. shock. I won't lie - it was quite painful. the local anasthaetic didn't work brilliantly and it was a bit of a shock to be going through more pain, when i thought i had done it all, once i'd pushed baby out.
having said all that, childbirth was still an utterly amazing experience (positive) for me! and i looked at the wound for the first time last night and it has healed really nicely.
it is a cliche but it is true that unless you sustain a really nasty tear (third or fourth degree) then the arrival of your baby will sweep away any worries about it,

togarama Sat 15-Jan-11 13:19:48

First and second degree tears are very common but not everyone tears. I didn't and know several others IRL who didn't.

deemented Sat 15-Jan-11 13:28:36

Just to add, i had a 3rd degree front to back tear when my daughter was born. I had to be taken to theatre to be stitched up - dd was left with DH for about an hour, and i had problems with it for quite a while afterwards. Very painful and undignified.

I also had a second degree tear when i had my DS3, twenty one months after the first tear. Dind't feel a thing tbh, and healed wonderfully.

I was able to identify why i tore so badly when i had dd - she was back to back, and i was lying flat on my back for entire labour - i was being monitored and they wouldn't let me get up, so i was able to reduce the chances of it happening again.

GwendolineMaryLacey Sat 15-Jan-11 13:31:54

Second degree tear here, didn't notice it happening but then, I did fire dd out like a bullet, wasn't very good at being told not to push

Different doctor came in to delivery suite to stitch up. Think DH was holding DD at the time, don't think I was. No big deal really, considering what had just happened. I think you'd feel differently if you had to walk in off the street to an appt to be stitched up, but it's all relative.

ChessyEvans Sat 15-Jan-11 20:56:30

Thanks for your replies, that has helped reassure me (although no way I'm looking in a mirror!). 3 months (ish) to go, then as Snowstorm says I'll have far more to think about than needles and thread! smile

Jezabella Sat 15-Jan-11 21:46:45

I'd like to second what Snowstorm says above about not being able to single out the feeling of being torn. I was horrified by the idea of tearing before I had my baby and far more worried by the idea of that than of the pain of labour - I spent quite a lot of time in late pregnancy panicking about it and thinking how horrific it would be to tear in such a sensitive place! But in the event I was so caught up in the general intensity of labour itself and birthing my baby that, although it was painful pushing her out (sorry, can't lie to you about that bit!), when the midwife told me I had a 2nd degree tear (after waterbirth btw), I was almost surprised to hear I'd torn at all as I was so unaware of any of the pain I'd felt actually being associated with tearing, IYSWIM.

The hardest thing I found about being stitched up afterwards was having to keep my legs open and still as they were shaking uncontrollably!

Hope this helps a bit!

iridium Sat 15-Jan-11 23:31:48

I have a positive outcome from a pretty bad tear, if that's reassuring. My labour with DS was a bit quick and I had a 4th degree tear. I didn't have any pain relief for the birth itself and wasn't aware of the tear occurring. I had skin to skin contact with DS for about an hour and had the opportunity to get breastfeeding going while we waited for a theatre to free up. The most annoying part was then having to stay on the ward for a couple of days when I really wanted to go home.

I've had no complications at all since and if I knew the name of the consultant who did my stitches he would be on my Xmas card list for life because I'm very grateful to him.

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 15-Jan-11 23:36:06

With DS1 I had a very quick labour/delivery. This meant that I barely had time to get my tens machine on, and once in the delivery suite, only had time for gas and air.

I remember the sensation of pushing him out, but I do not remember any pain, whatsoever.

I was quite surprised, therefore, to learn that I needed stitches!

Talking about 'tearing' implies that it will really hurt, but I can reassure you that I really, really didn't have any pain.

Squitten Sat 15-Jan-11 23:57:19

I was terrified of tearing before DS2. Gave birth 6wks ago, successful VBAC with no pain relief. I didn't remotely feel my tear when it happened - had a 2nd degree.

Stitching happened in the delivery room. Feet up in stirrups. It was uncomfortable when they injected the anaesthetic and it was a generally uncomfortable thing but, compared to the childbirth it was nothing, and it's over with relatively quickly.

Stitches are sore to sit on for a few weeks but they go and now, 6wks later, it's all a distant memory! Good luck!

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 16-Jan-11 12:32:52

Actually, because I had delivered squatting, when I lay down after DS1 had been born, my legs were trembling uncontrollably. Lying with my feet up in the stirrups was actually very comfortable, as it stopped the trembling!

JenniL1977 Sun 16-Jan-11 12:45:34

Hi chessy try searching "perineal massage" on the search function at the top of the site. Some people seem to swear by it. I'm only 9 wks on my first pg and petrified of tearing, so I think anything that might help is worth a go! But it's good to hear from you other ladies that it's not that bad, thanks for the reassurance!

EauRouge Sun 16-Jan-11 12:50:38

I was another that had a second degree tear and didn't notice- I was really surprised when they told me! I just wanted to go home but I had to wait for a registrar to come (the MW didn't fancy doing it herself). G&A and a local injection made the whole thing painless, in fact I was cracking jokes the whole way through. I'm not sure the registrar appreciated me asking if she was embroidering her name though grin and I insisted that she counted every stitch 'so I could impress my mates in the pub' blush. I bet they were glad to see the back of me!

PassionKiss Sun 16-Jan-11 12:52:29

I was disappointed that I tore in spite of giving birth in water! But honestly OP, it didn't hurt at the time and you have a local anaesthetic (I had gas&air as well) for the stitches. And at that point all your focus will be on the new baby in the room! smile

Good luck!

Whitethorn Sun 16-Jan-11 13:18:51

All my friends and family unless they had sections had tearing or an episiotomy.
You hear the odd story about someone who avoided it but it seems to be very common.

I should also add that no one I know had any long term affects or damage.

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