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Anyone have a 3rd degree tear and choose a vaginal birth next time?

(28 Posts)
2021ComeAtMe Sun 10-Jan-21 19:23:21

As per the title, has anyone had a 3rd degree tear with one birth but still choose to have a vaginal birth, as opposed to caesarean, for a subsequent delivery?

With DC1 I suffered a 3B tear.. Was not ideal, to say the least grin luckily I recovered well and no serious long term damage. Now we're TTC DC2 and looking ahead at birthing options. The only person who I know who that happened to had an ELCS for their next birth, and said the recovery was so much better!

I'm just torn with what to do and hoping some real-life experiences might help smile

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2021ComeAtMe Mon 11-Jan-21 09:07:53

Hopeful bump!

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Piggyhoolier Mon 11-Jan-21 09:17:12

Mine was 3/4th degree and I was told at the time to have elcs for any future dc. When I was pregnant next I was put under consultant led care as a result and strongly advised to have cs. Ultimately the choice was mine but as my DH pointed out they never would have pushed towards the cs if it wasn’t definitely in my best interest.

So I think it might be a case of wait til you’re pregnant and see what the advice from professionals is in your case. Fwiw I was told that because of the extent of repair work I’d had done, if in natural birth the same area/s were to tear again it would be much more difficult to repair again and bluntly (not medical terminology!) I could end up needing nappies for myself as well as the baby.

GeorgiaOQueef Mon 11-Jan-21 09:24:54

I had a 4th degree tear and had sections for subsequent births. The section recovery was very much easier than for the vaginal birth. As time has gone on the symptoms caused by my tear have got worse so I am very glad I did not risk another vaginal birth.

QuentinWinters Mon 11-Jan-21 09:32:57

Me, unfortunately I tore again. Had an ELCS for third child. The recovery from the ELCS was harder because I was able to do less, but it was bliss being able to sit down and go for my first poo without worrying!

You are at a higher risk of tearing again unfortunately. I had my last baby 10 years ago and at that time they really pushed me to have a third vaginally birth - no thanks! But hopefully the advice has moved on since

QuentinWinters Mon 11-Jan-21 09:35:40

Oh, I should say that it was a massive shock to tear the second time because the birth was very quick and straightforward and I'd been reassured that it was unlikely to happen.
It was horrid actually because after the birth the medical staff told me it had been more likely to happen because scar tissue is weaker, wish they had said that before

LemonBreeland Mon 11-Jan-21 09:35:51

I did with my first and had second vaginally. nobody mentioned the possible need for a CS next time. DC2 I had a second degree tear, it was not too bad. DC3 was another 3rd degree tear, but that was because it wasn't a controlled birth as the mw didn't make it in time. DH delivered her.

I don't have any long lasting issues from the tears, and my youngest is now 8.

ArtemisBean Mon 11-Jan-21 09:42:45

I had a 3C tear and am now pregnant again. Opting for a section this time because I'm just not prepared to take the risk.

StarsOnAMat Mon 11-Jan-21 09:47:16

I had a 3b tear after a waterbirth with my first and although I didn’t plan a vaginal birth with my second, I ended up with one. I was booked for an ELCS at 39+5, but went into spontaneous labour a week early in the middle of the night. The surgical team were already doing an emergency when I arrived and by the time they returned to me (less than an hour later!) the baby was born. I had a couple of cuts which were labelled 2nd degree tears but I was out of hospital before he was twelve hours old and driving the next day. I definitely feel I had a much better recovery than if I’d had the section but I didn’t know that when I booked it. The midwife was more hands on with the second so he didn’t come out quite as quickly as he could have.

boymum9 Mon 11-Jan-21 09:47:20

I did for first pregnancy, it was pretty awful and about 6 weeks before I could walk without a lot of pain. I had a vaginal birth of second baby and didn't tear at all luckily.

2021ComeAtMe Mon 11-Jan-21 12:55:37

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply, it's much appreciated smile

@Piggyhoolier it's interesting that you were strongly advised to have a CS for subsequent births, I don't remember there being much conversation about it. I was in hospital for 3 days so there was plenty of time too!

@GeorgiaOQueef yes the general consensus does seem to be that ELCS recoveries are easier... My relative said that too.

@QuentinWinters funnily enough I was thinking about scar tissue yesterday and couldn't decide whether it would have any stretch to it (sorry grin!). I figured if my body struggled during the first birth I couldn't see how the scar tissue would be able to accommodate another baby.

@LemonBreeland really glad to hear you've no long lasting damage! I hope you don't mind me saying but that does surprise me - I do remember my consultant explaining to me that only time would tell whether I would be doubly incontinent (that was a fun conversation grin). I assumed after 3 you would be left with some negative effects, but so good to know that's not necessarily the case smile

@ArtemisBean looks like you've made a wise choice! Good luck with your CS smile

@StarsOnAMat yes I had a water birth too! Interesting that you said your second midwife was more hands on. I was very aware through my first delivery that the midwives couldn't really see what was happening, they didn't seem very well prepared. I also wasn't really given much advice with my pushing. I believe my tear was caused by pushing too hard, too quick (DD was delivered in 3 pushes). Maybe a more experienced MW on dry land would be helpful.

@boymum9 another positive story! That's good to hear smile

Just out of curiosity, those who had CS second time, were there any difficulties? Infected scar? Numbness? Left with an overhang that won't shift?

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LemonBreeland Mon 11-Jan-21 12:58:31

@2021ComeAtMe I did have urinary continence issues, but that was put down to my quick births rather than the tears. No fecal incontinence so far. smile

QuentinWinters Tue 12-Jan-21 09:35:23

My section scar was numb and itchy for about 2 years, fine now. I have a weird dent round it but nothing you can see clothed.

QuentinWinters Tue 12-Jan-21 09:36:53

I'm 16 about 15 years after tears and I do have some faecal urgency and it takes a lot of tissue to clean up properly after a poo so there have been some effects but luckily nothing awful - just annoying

boymum9 Tue 12-Jan-21 11:41:57

@QuentinWinters I have similar, not the urgency but other issue, it's a pain but could be worse!

KittenWithoutPortfolio Thu 14-Jan-21 13:20:07

Thanks very much to everyone who has answered this.

I literally had a telephone conversation with a consultant about this today. I had a 3b tear with my first child and I am currently 21 weeks with number two.

The consultant today was very understanding and made it very clear that it was my choice, although when I pushed for opinion, she felt vaginal birth would be better, because the recovery afterward is usually so much quicker. However, she did emphasise that my tear was almost certainly related to having forceps following a very long labour (52 hours), and that a second labour would not be as long because they would offer the oxytocin drip much sooner than the first time.

I am erring toward vaginal this time, mainly because I am very squeamish about the thought of surgery, but the consultant is going to speak to me again at 36 weeks to confirm. She also said that whilst I was unsure now, I would probably have made my mind up by then

Bluebelltulip Thu 14-Jan-21 22:05:24

I had a 3rd degree tear with my first, it healed well and I was encouraged by the consultant to try vaginally for me second. I grazed second time and had a first degree tear with my third baby.

Burningbenches Fri 15-Jan-21 11:08:40

I had a 3rd degree tear and episiotomy with my first (induced, drip, back to back, ventouse, minor pph) i was prepped for a section but they were able to get her out with ventouse.
When I was pregnant with my 2nd, I did see a consultant due to the tear but a c section was never suggested and I didn't know to bring it up. It was very much oh you're fine, you have a less than 5% chance of tearing as badly again. I was the first of my friends to have babies and my family had far easier vaginal births than me so I didn't realise it was an option as a result of a bad tear.

I've gone on to have 3 further babies vaginally and all my labours have been quicker, easier and my babies have been increasingly larger. I have had a second degree tear every time, although I've recovered fine and had no pain. I'm expecting again and expect to have another vaginal birth.

VelvetThunder Fri 15-Jan-21 11:18:40

I had a 3rd degree tear with my first. I was never advised to have a section with my next, so I went on to have another vaginal birth. Very straight forward water birth, no tears. Then just a slight graze with my 3rd. 2nd and 3rd recoveries much easier.

gifmenu Fri 15-Jan-21 11:24:28

I had an episiotomy and third degree tear first time. Vaginal delivery second time and just a second degree tear that healed really quickly.

TheFormidableMrsC Fri 15-Jan-21 11:33:59

Yes I did and that is part of the reason why there's 13 years between my kids. My first birth was a disaster and managed very badly with hindsight.

Second birth was a doddle in comparison and I did it without pain relief bar gas and air and without testing. DS was 2 lbs heavier than DD too. I had asked for a section because I was so scared of it happening again. A brilliant midwife who understood my fears and managed the birth really well meant it was a really positive experience. Talk to your midwife and obstetrician. They will help. Good luck!

TheFormidableMrsC Fri 15-Jan-21 11:34:36

Without tearing not testing hmm

QuentinWinters Fri 15-Jan-21 13:55:53

Maybe the type of birth is relevant e.g. if it was forceps assisted or not. My first was not but born fast and I tore on his shoulders. Same with the second.

stopchewingeverything Fri 15-Jan-21 14:19:23

So the risk of a repeat 3rd degree tear is approximately 5% (im a midwife, have done lots of reading on the topic) so the odds are massively in your favour of it not happening again. I am in the same situation...3b tear first time and 20 weeks pregnant currently. I had a straight forward recovery and no long lasting effects. My tear was almost certainly due to the position of my baby. I am going to be seeing a consultant in a few weeks to discuss but at the moment I think I'm going to opt for a home birth....not opposed to a C/S but on balance i feel that the risk isn't high enough for me to justify it.

2021ComeAtMe Fri 15-Jan-21 14:23:13

A real mixed bag here! Thanks all for taking the time to comment smile

Part of me dreads the thought of a CS! I know it's major surgery. But another part wonders if I'll just get more and more anxious as a vaginal birth approaches. I'm so torn (excuse the pun grin)

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