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Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.


(54 Posts)
Eve Mon 28-Jan-02 14:51:50

I apologise if this is a silly question. I had a long, difficult delivery with my 1st boy (ventouse in the end) and ended up having 9 stitches, which took forever to heal and were painful for weeks. My 2nd is due in May, I am not worried about giving Birth again, but having stitches fills me with fear.

My questions are, if you have had stitches once are you more likely to tear a 2nd time and is there anything that can be done to try & avoid tearing.

Lill Mon 28-Jan-02 15:52:43

Try massaging your perinium with a base oil for a few weeks prior to birth.
Also think about birth positions to help get the baby in the optimum position for birth. Remaining upright,or squatting on all fours should help. Using a birthing pool helps as the water supports the perinum and reduces the chances of tearing.
Good Luck
If all this fails and you do require stitches think about hiring a 'valley cushion' from the NCT. It is specially designed to help you sit comfortably and so aid healing.

Ailsa Mon 28-Jan-02 20:26:59

Eve, I don't know how many stitches I had first time round after a forceps delivery, but, second time I did tear but opted not to have stitches. This was because the midwife gave me the option, if you have stitches the tear will heal quicker, but, if you don't have stitches the tear will take longer to heal but it will heal better. Based on my experience what she told me was correct.

After the birth of dd, I had to have physio because I was so bruised it took best part of two weeks for me to be able to walk properly. After ds, I was walking more on the same day than I was after two weeks with dd.

jasper Mon 28-Jan-02 23:10:35

Eve I got loads of stitches with number one , ( took nearly an hour to sew me up) was in a lot of pain for weeks.
Tore again with with number two, more stitches, and was in absolutely NO pain whatsoever in the following days/weeks. So even if you do need them again, not all stitched wounds are painful. I don't know the reason for such a big difference in the pain.

bloss Tue 29-Jan-02 02:56:48

Message withdrawn

Pupuce Tue 29-Jan-02 08:37:17

Bloss - how are you getting on with the massages ???? And when is baby due ?

Bugsy Tue 29-Jan-02 10:28:34

Eve, I had an episiotomy and tore with first baby and was in alot of pain for a long time. Like you I'm due again and rather concerned about my nether regions. I asked the midwife what she thought and she said that with a careful delivery I shouldn't tear again. Hmmmm - not very convincing. I will be buying some of those special ice pack panty pads, knocking back the arnica and checking out bloss's "epi-no" website!!

EmmaM Tue 29-Jan-02 13:39:22

I think I said this somewhere else too, but I cannot recommend continuous running stitch enough. Put it in your birth plan! I was terrified of the stitches having never been stitched anywhere in my life before. I can't even watch people being stitched up on telly. But my stitches were beautifully done, healed up so very quickly and didn't pull.

Bugsy Tue 29-Jan-02 16:19:13

First of all have to say that I don't share EmmaM's enthusiasm for a continuous running stitch. That's what I had and they pulled so badly I nearly had to have the whole lot removed and restitched.
Secondly, I've checked out this "epi-no" thing. It looks both scary and clever but I can't see any distributer in the UK. Has anyone actually bought one? I'm going to phone the distribution company in Ireland and see if they would be able to send it over and at what cost.

SueDonim Tue 29-Jan-02 19:06:56

I had stitches aplenty after episiotomies with my first three deliveries. They were uncomfortable but not unendurable. However, I managed No 4 with just a tiny tear, even though my nether regions must be a mass of scar tissue, so it is possible to avoid stitches in subsequent births.

BexM Tue 29-Jan-02 19:52:31

I absolutely agree with Lill's comment (near the beginning) - also I would ask the hospital to only stitch you if it is really necessary. I believe that a lot of hospitals do it as a matter of course. I had a second degree tear but was not stitched (at my request). It healed cleanly and quickly and I was in no pain at all. Using a sitz bath (you can get herbs from the Active Birth Centre) can also help you to heal more quickly. Good luck !

Chelle Wed 30-Jan-02 01:37:28

I've just returned from a pre-natal visit and am are now terrified of the thought of chldbirth! Don't get me wrong, I'm not a nervous first-timer, this will be baby number 2 but ds was a lovely 6 pounds 10 delivered very quickly (total labour <3 hours) and I still required an episiotomy and sticthes!!! (The stictches were uncomfortable but not painful most of the time, though and I healed very well and quite quickly).

Baby no 2, according to GP visit this morning, is going to be big, she's estimating at least an 8 pounder!!! If I needed an episiotomy and stitches with less than 7 pounds, how will I manage to cope with the possibility of one over 8 pounds!??!? I am in shock, getting very nervous and totally rethinking my views on pain relief during labour (had none with baby no 1 and was planning same for baby no 2!).

Can anyone offer any helpful suggestions, or just commiserate...I am nearly 28 weeks so have a fair bit of time yet to stress about this!!! HELP!

bloss Wed 30-Jan-02 02:05:22

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honeybunny Wed 30-Jan-02 13:38:54

Chelle, baby No 2 is generally bigger than baby No 1, but your GP was only guessing about the weight. I had a scan at 41+5weeks to check for amniotic fluid levels and size of baby as ds's head was still not engaged, before scheduling induction and they told me after taking measurements that his expected weight was 9lbs plus! I was momentarily pleased that he'd managed to thrive so well in skinny old me, but then light dawned and I wondered how on earth he was going to get out. I ended up with a c-section after a failed induction, but thats beside the point. What I meant to point out was, even with the precision of scans they were still out by nearly a pound, ds weighed 8lbs 2oz on arrival 5days later! So take your GPs word with a liberal dose of salts!

JacquiKD Wed 30-Jan-02 14:23:44

I agree with you honeybunny. My first born weighed 6 lbs 10 oz. They told me my second was "small for dates" and he turned out to be 7 lbs 4 oz. My third they told me was going to be large - girl born 3 months ago weighing 7 lbs 15 oz. They say that each one gets bigger, but 7 lbs 15 oz is no way deemed to be big. One boy born in the hospital at the same time as me weighted 11 lbs 7 oz and they told her to expect a baby of about 8lbs!

Pupuce Wed 30-Jan-02 15:03:24

My 2 were exactly the same weight give or take 1 oz... and my first one was predicted to be at least 2 pounds heavyer than he was !

BLOSS - I hope you se this : have you heard of aconite ? I heard it's excellent for panick during labour.... I had some with me but did not take it. I took some rescue remedy just when it started getting HEAVY!
Also don't forget to pant after the head is out as you want the baby's head to rotate before the body comes out (that's main cause of tears)... Good luck !!!

Pupuce Wed 30-Jan-02 15:04:01

Bloss - aconite is a homeopathic remedy... sorry was such in a hurry...

berries Wed 30-Jan-02 15:05:12

Chelle, my first was 8lb, and I had loads of stitches & a very long labour. Number 2 was 9.5ibs, I was told to expect a 6.5lb baby (after umpteen scans in late pregnancy) and the birth was 2 hours from fast asleep to all sorted out! Also had a tear but no stitches & healed fine. My top tip - epsom salts in the bath! Not sure why it works but it seems to.

Chelle Wed 30-Jan-02 23:29:45

Thank you all for your replies. I had a rather stressful night after telling dh what the GP had told me. He thought it was hilariously funny! After his hysterics had calmed down, he proceeded to give me some helpful advice, "cows never have a problem delivering their second calf and they always weigh much more than their first"'s that for thoughtful!?

bloss Thu 31-Jan-02 00:35:00

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Bugsy Thu 31-Jan-02 10:49:42

Re the Epi-No, I checked out the supplier in Ireland and they can mail it to mainland UK for £69.90 including postage & VAT.
For anyone interested it looks like a deflated balloon that you stick up your whatsit and then inflate with a special pressure guage. The idea appears to be that you do this every day of your last 3 weeks for 20 mins until you are inflating up to the size of a baby's head!!!! From what I can tell you can even practise pushing it out.
I am quite tempted as I am hugely fearful of the pushing bit, having failed so comprehensively last time. However, I'd love to hear from someone who has actually used it before actually buying one.

Eve Tue 05-Feb-02 11:48:30

Glad to know its not just me that is fearful. I am 24 weeks and asking my midwife to keep a close eye on the size of the baby. Though the only other option for a big baby is a section and I can't face the thought of that either.

Thanks for the advice and to lower the tone completely, any suggestions for doing a pee with raw stitches? I spent weeks in tears last time. The midwife suggested pouring a jug of water at the same time, but that went over the floor. I then worked out the shower head stretched to the toilet, but that splashed the walls. My mother suggested filling a bath with some water, but I'm too obviously too well brought up and couldn't bring myself to pee in the bath!!

EmmaM Tue 05-Feb-02 12:43:10

Eve - instead of a jug, try a plastic bottle, you might be able to get a better aim. My sister gave me a thin shaped plastic jug, which was easier to handle than a more rounded one. Finally, well, your mother's right, pee in the bath. I used to have a shallow bath every morning to bathe my stitches and just before I got out I'd have a pee. You could always shower yourself off afterwards.

manna Tue 05-Feb-02 13:28:10

'Don't worry.... it's about 8lb ish, as far as we can tell' That's what they told me after a 34 week scan about my first child, when I wondered if it was going to be enormous. born a healthy 10lb 3 oz in November, so don't believe them either way!!!! All I can say is - It's not always horrific! A long labour (32hrs) seemed to help with things stretching gradually. I did perineum massage religiously for 6 weeks before hand (tricky, but managable if you forget the diagrams and go for a one handed approach!)Also raspberry leaf tea etc. The controversial thing I have to add is, that I found stirrups quite helpful! A 4 hour second stage ended with me requesting a ventouse, but I had tried the stirrups prior to this. Although awful and dickensian, once I got into them (no easy feat) I could suddenly see the point. They do put you in optimum position for pushing out a big baby. I asked for the ventouse after 3 1/2 hrs pushing, as it all started to die down. Once they told me they didn't have to do an episiotomy as a matter of course, I told them to get on with it. 5 gentle tugs and 15 mins later he was born. 4 stitches which I couldn't even feel at the time, and a quick recovery due to no drugs other than gas and air. So, if you are expecting a big baby - It doesn't always have to go wrong (although it does hurt ALOT) and it can be done quite naturally without a C section or forceps. The plus side is that once out, mine seemed to cope better with the outside world earlier than some of his lighter NCT buddies, having a little extra weight on his side!

manna Tue 05-Feb-02 13:29:52

PS But please don't tell me that all second babies are bigger!!

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