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Waterbirth - Risk of Tearing

(17 Posts)
weebleknievel Fri 29-Mar-13 19:38:58

Hi, am due in 26 days and am hoping to have a waterbirth if there is a pool available at my local MLU. However I'm concerned about tearing and have heard conflicting advice.

Ante-natal class midwife said that waterbirth reduces the risk of tearing as you're more relaxed in the water etc - this makes sense to me.

My midwife who I've been seeing throughout my pregnancy says waterbirth increases the risk of tearing because the midwife doesn't intervene / control your pushing - i.e. telling you when to push, when to just breathe etc - this also makes sense to me.

Is it just a case of if you're going to tear you're going to tear regardless of where / how you give birth, must admit this is the only aspect of birth that I'm concerned about shock

Hoping experienced mumsnetters can advise me. thanks

PeggySusan Fri 29-Mar-13 19:46:36

I had a water birth when I had my daughter two years ago. Water was an amazing form of pain relief, and with the gas and air it was a very positive birthing experience. However I did have a second degree tear and had to have stitches. I think the cause being exactly as you mentioned, the midwives did not tell me when to breathe the baby's head out and I pushed too hard. Still I was very happy with the overall experience. I never had any issues with the stitches and healed quickly. I'd definitely have a water birth again if I ever have another baby.

AmandaPayntedEgg Fri 29-Mar-13 21:25:02

It isn't the case that the midwife can't help you surely? No, they can't get really close, but depending on your position they can see what's going on.

weebleknievel Fri 29-Mar-13 23:05:51

I think it's more that they are not hands on so can't put pressure on the baby's head to stop it coming out too quickly and causing the tear.

GozerTheGozerian Fri 29-Mar-13 23:12:58

My midwife was totally hands off for my water birth, and I had a 2nd degree tear. I know I pushed too hard too quickly but it was just so bloody uncomfortable there was no way I wanted to wait any longer! I would still choose a water birth again though, even with that in mind, because the overall experience was exactly as I'd hoped. I definitely felt more comfortable with movement + contraction pain in the water. But I didn't feel the tear at all, and would have sworn blind I hadn't torn. Honestly, didn't know I'd done it. I'm not saying the experience didn't hurt like fuckery, but the tear went unnoticed.

treedelivery Fri 29-Mar-13 23:17:03

its really hard to see anything in a waterbirth! the woman might have her bottom facing down, be squatting etc etc. the pools are deep and the water is often not clear. I'm not too bad as I'm tall, but smaller midwives or anyone with back pain struggle to reach the bottom of a pool.

the idea is the midwife is 'hands off'. I'm not sure of the actual stats on waterbirth and perineal trauma or if there even are any. maybe search royal college of midwives site, or similar?

enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and have a lovely baby!! I have envy , would love another but no childcare to cover shift work sad .

safe journey x smile

treedelivery Fri 29-Mar-13 23:49:52

well, a quick search, as usual no plain statistics but lots of retrospect trials. I had a quick look at 3 abstracts. one said less perineal trauma to 1st time mums, one said same amount (but maybe a very slight increase in 3rd degree tears), and one said very slightly more trauma.

lies, lies and jammed statistics!

blow it, you follow your instincts and enjoy your birthing. and a long lovely summer with a new baby wink envy wink

Radiator1234 Sat 30-Mar-13 08:24:58

I had a water birth a couple of weeks ago for DD2. I pushed her out kneeling in the pool. I didn't tear, just a few grazes. The midwife did tell me when to push (although I did have an overwhelming urge to push). I also don't recall feeling particularly relaxed!.... In a shitload of pain more like! Was quite surprised I didn't tear.

DD1 a couple of years ago I had on the normal labour ward, on a bed lying on my side, after two hours of pushing (DD2 was 15 mins) and I had a 2nd degree tear.

Good luck!

Bambi86 Sat 30-Mar-13 14:38:42

I had a water birth 3 days ago and ended up with a 2nd degree tear- however, this was not down to MW lack of intervention/telling me to do little pushes etc. I had the whole thing filmed, and watched it back yesterday- the MW had a mirror under me at all times directing my breathing and was constantly telling me not to push/ breath/ little pushes etc. The tear was a result of my LO being back to back and the MW thinks that his arm was born at a funny angle and that caused the tear.

I think that if its going to happen, then it will happen. It was something that worried me before birth, but now I'm just getting on with it and it's ok- I'm too distracted with my gorgeous newborn!

glorious Sat 30-Mar-13 15:03:58

I had to get out of the pool for the delivery and tore because DD had her hand by her head. So I'm guessing that would have happened anywhere. I was really horrified by the idea of tearing but actually it has been fine. I'd say the water made it about half as painful so it's really worth it imo if you fancy it. Best of luck whatever you decide.

glorious Sat 30-Mar-13 15:05:53

oh and I didn't feel it happening despite having been off the gas and air for an hour smile

weebleknievel Sun 31-Mar-13 10:48:03

Hi everyone, sorry to have posted and not returned to the thread until now.

Thanks for your responses so far thanks it seems to me that if I am going to tear I will regardless so I think I'll start in the water and if I am "comfortable" there I'll stay there. If I get scared when I come to push I'll get out.

hokeycakey Sun 31-Mar-13 23:32:20


I have hAd 3 water births and never had a tear.... Not sure if that's something to be proud of or not! smile I have always tried not to push for as long as possible on the advice of a couple of good friends and I really think that is what saved me even though you have an overwhelming urge just try to hold back and give yourself time to stretch shuddering just thinking about it!

EeyoresGloomyPlace Sun 31-Mar-13 23:40:04

I've had one non water and one water, didn't tear for either. First birth was induced so really quick and the midwife was fantastic at telling me when to push and when to hold it, I think I have her to thank that I remained intact after dd1.

Dd2 I had in the water, no intervention or direction from the midwives as I was lucky enough to be able to feel myself when to hold on etc and I sort of more breathed her out than pushed. She was 9lb 8oz and had her arm up against her face but somehow I still didn't tear so I think in her birth the water definitely helped.

Its not for everyone but I thought it was truly fantastic, and if I'm blessed with dc3 I will be hoping for another water birth.

Good luck smile

Karoleann Mon 01-Apr-13 00:19:53

My SIL had a nasty 3rd degree tear with her first in the water. It was quite quick.
I was pulled out of pool as i had a placental abruption - but nothing to do with water birth.
Pool was very good for pain relief though, so can see both sides.

AmberLav Tue 02-Apr-13 14:19:36

I had a 3 degree tear in the water, but I doubt there was anything that could have been done about it, as I was quite early on in the pushing stage at the time, and I don't think ds came out for about another half hour (certainly was nowhere near the little pushes stage).

This time I am going to try not to push until my body gives me no choice, as I think I started pushing too early last time... But will see what the midwife says...

babynelly2010 Tue 02-Apr-13 21:38:06

i had 2nd degree tear in water and it was absolutely due to MW not telling and looking when needed. There was a student MW and before head appeared she said once crowning stage begins I will guide you, well when it began she was chatting with the superior MW. The baby was out and she screamed don't push... it was too late. I think if the student MW was not in the room just like I requested in my birth plan things would of been different at the end.

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