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scared of tearing/episiotomy

(42 Posts)
starlover Fri 28-Jan-05 12:04:02

this is the only bit of the birth that I am genuinely scared of. I am generally a pretty laid back person, and am not freaking out about the pain etc etc, because I know there is nothing I can do about it.
But I am scared about having to have an episiotomy, or tearing...
What kind of percentage of women end up having one or the other? do most people?
If they think I may tear is it better to go for an episiotomy, or risk the tear in the hope that it won't happen, or won't be as bad?

I need some nice stories here about how it isn't as bad as it seems, and that having stitches won't be as horrible as I think it's going to be! Lie to me if necessary!!!!!!

I know there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, but it's still worrying me!

lockets Fri 28-Jan-05 12:08:30

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Pamina3 Fri 28-Jan-05 12:12:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Frizbe Fri 28-Jan-05 12:14:28

Olive oil on your perineum (spelling?) massage it in for the last 4 weeks, then listen to the midwife and only push when she tells you to! worked for me ok (but fully understand it may not work for everyone)

soapbox Fri 28-Jan-05 12:14:47

Starlover - I had a bumful of stiches with my 2 births. First was episiotomy second a tear. The tear was more extensive than the cut so maybe the cut was better. Both babies were exactly teh same weight (9lb 8oz).

In both cases the wound healed well, stiches caused no problems at all.

Tips - when you wee or poo at first, hold a breast pad against the wound. I used to soak it in warm water first - that way the wee didn't sting. This helps particularly with pooing as you don't get the OMG the stiches are going to burst feeling!

Second tip is to dry your undercarriage with a hairdryer on a cool setting when ever you have been to the loo/showered. This keeps the wound nice and dry and stops it getting yucky and infected.

Beansmum Fri 28-Jan-05 12:16:45

I tore quite badly when I had ds, just wanted to get him out! I didn't actually notice at the time and even afterwards it wasn't painful. I had lots of stitches but they healed without any problems. Of course it was a bit uncomfortable but nothing too bad.

The worst thing was when the mw was actually doing the stitches, she put the bed up really high and I was sure I was going to fall out. I could just imagine my first weeks of motherhood being spent win hospital with a broken leg! didn't happen though.

Beansmum Fri 28-Jan-05 12:17:31

IN hospital

scotlou Fri 28-Jan-05 12:17:50

I tore with my first one and needed stitches. Didn't feel a thing! Think you are too absorbed by the birth to feel the tear. I did have a local aneasthetic for the stitches - and again felt nothing. I was advised by the community MW to shower after going to the loo and dry with the hairdrier!!! Sounds daft but seemed to work as I healed fine!!

lockets Fri 28-Jan-05 12:19:59

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lilsmum Fri 28-Jan-05 12:22:13

i had a 3rd degree tear with my dd, and i healed really well, was stitched under a spinal so felt nothing, i can honestly say that afterwards i was fine, bit swollen obviously but was walking around in no pain really once the spinal had worn off, it wasnt that bad at all, just makes me cringe when i think how bad i tore, my mum saw dd being born and said my bits looked like a parsons nose on a chicken!!! yuk

myermay Fri 28-Jan-05 12:24:53

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Aero Fri 28-Jan-05 12:26:15

This was the scariest part for me too and I absolutely didn't want an episiotomy and I made that very clear.I read lots about positions for giving birth and which was likely to be better for me with that in mind.
As it was ,I got my way (I don't have a tiny frame by any means though, so can't speak for anyone who is quite small) and no episiotomy was needed, but I did tear a little. I was then worried about stitches, but the midwife was happy that the tear was small enough to heal itself, which it did. It took a while and at one point I thought it would never heal, but of course it did and I went on to have two further children and this part of giving birth didn't worry me at all next time around.
The trick (for me) was to concentrate totally on what the midwife was saying and do as she said as regards breathing and pushing. I haven't needed stitches after any of my childrens' births, but have had a small tear/graze each time which has healed up perfectly well on it's own.
Obviously it's not this way for everyone and some people do require stitches, but what I'm trying to say in a garbled way is that it's not definite that you will tear/need an episiotomy, and even if you do tear a little, it may not require stitching, so try not to worry too much about it now and concentrate more on the fact that you'll have a gorgeous little bundle at the end of it all and as soon as you see him/her, all that worry will be forgotten in a second! Good luck.

lockets Fri 28-Jan-05 12:28:15

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starlover Fri 28-Jan-05 12:34:32

ok, well my mind is a bit more at rest now. still don't want to end up with stitches... but it doesn't sound as bad as i imagined it would be!

i am overdue already, but will start with the olive oil just in case!

i had heard that about epidurals too, i think it's because you can't feel what's going on down there, but i don't really want an epidural anyway if i can help it!

I guess once I have the baby I won't really be too concerned about it anyway!

morningpaper Fri 28-Jan-05 12:36:17

Had an episiotomy and didn't feel a think re. the needle going in (although the episiotomy didn't 'take' i.e. I still felt everything).

Had episiotomy and was also torn to shreds but all that was FINE, stitches were FINE - too busy staring at the big fat BABY on my chest to worry about that end of things! Wasn't painful at all healing up, bit uncomfortable for a couple of days, that's all.

The tear through my anus gave me a lot of gip in the months to come though because it never really healed - took about 18 months before I could have a poo without hurting myself.

I expect I will tear again but I'm not bothered!

Bagpuss30 Fri 28-Jan-05 12:36:41

My hospital has a policy of letting women tear rather than give episiotomies as they believe that tears heal better.

With both of my births I tore. First one was nearly third degree - I had a doctor to stich me up afterwards. Second one was a second degree but not so bad, only a few stitches. Neither was particularly worse than the other in terms of pain - the stitches first time round were a bit uncomfy but then I had loads, so no real suprise. I didn't realise that I had torn during delivery until I was told afterwards, and now they are a distant memory .

All the advice here is great and I would second the one about using a bresat pad or maternity towel doubled up when going to the loo. I was given a lovely labour kit before my last birth with some healing bath salts in and they were really good at speeding up the healing process (I think it was from Little Green Earthlets).

Good luck and try to remember that it will all be worth it in the end .

Aero Fri 28-Jan-05 12:37:01

ps - I also did the massaging the peronium(sp?) thing which may have helped.
Another tip given by a midwife was to use vaseline when going for a wee after - works as a barrier and I went through two pots of it. Sounds gross, but I put a wadge of it on my fingers and held it against the wounded area then weed over it - didn't feel a thing. Obviously a lot of handwashing after! Not sure if it's recommended really (another midwife wasn't so sure it was a good idea), but I didn't know about it first time and weeing after ds1 was born was something I dreaded as it stung so much. Anyway, it worked for me 2nd and 3rd time and I healed with no problems. Just keep the area clean and dry.
Don't flush vaseline down the loo though!

starlover Fri 28-Jan-05 12:38:03

tearing through the anus????? you poor thing!

i think my problem is that I am focussing on this far too much. No wonder the baby doesn't wanna come out!

morningpaper Fri 28-Jan-05 12:38:43

My hospital also had a no-episiotomy policy - I was the first episiotomy that the midwife had attended in 6 months apparently - but I had one because it was to get the baby OUT fast because she was 'sticking' in the birth canal and I'd been in labour for 400 years by then.

starlover Fri 28-Jan-05 12:41:53

i guess if i am in labour for ages and ages i'll agree to anything to get it over with!
have read up on the pro's and con's of each... ie tears heal quicker etc etc, episiotomy can be done in a better place...
still not sure which is preferable though!

Lonelymum Fri 28-Jan-05 12:42:50

What exactly is it you are worrying about? the pain at the time, the pain later, or something else?

Of the pain at the time, I would say, it is no worse than what you are going to go through anyway. I had an episiotomy with my first child and was given a local jab and felt nothing in so far as the cutting and stitching was concerned. That is not a lie to make you feel better. TBH< I was so desperate to get the baby out, I couldn't have cared less.
Afterwards was bad for a few days but there are things you can do to feel better: sit on rubber rings, put ice packs on, Arnica, pain killers etc and if I remember rightly, the discomfort is only for a week or so.
I had a tiny tear with Nos 2 and 4 but refused stitches for both and was not reall aware of any discomfort there. No 3 was smaller than her brothers and gave me no grief at all. That's girls for you!

Try not to worry. You will spend more time worrying than it will take to go through the pain - I know because I worried about labour for 9 months each time and it doesn't take that long!

Lonelymum Fri 28-Jan-05 12:44:33

Doing your first poo after childbirth is the worst moment, but that applies to when you have not been cut or torn as much as when you have. Have fun!

starlover Fri 28-Jan-05 12:51:37

that's a very good question lonelymum... i'm not really sure what it is that scares me so much about it!
i think it's a combination of everything, although as you (and most of the others have said) it doesn't hurt at the time.
maybe it's just something about having my private bits ripped to shreds! or even worse.. cut open with my permission!
it's just so ewwwww

i actually do feel a bit better about it now, having read all the replies... this baby isn't showing any signs of wanting to come out anyway! think it's decided to stay there forever!

franke Fri 28-Jan-05 12:56:41

I tore and didn't feel it happen. They wanted to do an episiotomy but I'd already decided I didn't want one so just risked the tear (2nd degree). I was stitched up under local so didn't feel that either. Agree with all the strategies here for helping the healing afterwards. I took arnica, bellis perenis, hypericum and calendula for a few days after. I also bathed the wound with calendula tincture (20 drops in a jug of water). Take a jug to hospital with you - I found splashing water onto myself as I did a wee helped the first time. The tear healed within a couple of weeks. I was actually more upset about the temporary incontinence than I was about the tear - work those pelvic floor muscles! Good luck

Lonelymum Fri 28-Jan-05 12:57:29

Is this your first baby starlover? If it is, believe you me there are all sorts of things you wouldn't opt for in normal life, but when you are giving birth, that all goes out the window. I mean, showing your fanny suddenly doesn't seem all that important, crying like a baby in front of complete strangers is nothing, and having your privates cut or ripped (except it isn't your privates, hopefully, but the skin around them) is a wonderful way of getting a baby out who has hitherto refused to make an appearance.

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