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Scared about tearing more than the labour

(23 Posts)
Parsh81 Fri 17-Jun-11 16:51:06

Hello, Im new to mumsnet. Im really worried and concerned about tearing during birth. I guess its coping with the stitches and pain afterwards that scares me. This plays on my mind more than the labour itseld. Is it really common? I've heard that an episiotomy is sometimes a better option than allowing a tear. Though I've also heard that an episiotomy can sometimes make tearing worse. Really confused and would appreciate any experiences with this issue. confused Im not due until October but have already started thinking about the birth.

rubyslippers Fri 17-Jun-11 16:53:40

Tearing is not a foregone conclusion

I tore with my first but not my second

I think with the second, being in water helped and it was a very quick birth

With my first, the stitching wasn't nice but I wasn't prepared for it as I hadn't given it much thought - it all healed very well

peppapighastakenovermylife Fri 17-Jun-11 16:55:40

I was the same as you. Really worried about tearing and how it would feel.

In reality - you are unlikely to really feel a tear. There is so much going on down there and you have so many hormones and adrenaline going on that as daft as it sounds, you dont really notice. I know quite a few people who were shocked afterwards to know they had torn.

I think quite a high proportion of first time mums do tear but many of those will be quite superficial / small tears with a few stitches. Larger tears, although talked about a lot on here, are statistically more rare (just you are more likely to talk about having one than not).

Ok, so tearing afterwards isnt fun. But again it is unlikely you will have huge problems (yes, some people are unlucky but many are fine). It can be uncomfortable but stock up on pain killers and maybe some gel packs you can keep in the freezer and it will be fine.

I had a huge episiotomy with my first baby - it was difficult to get up and down for a few days afterwards and sore for about 2 weeks. But absolutely fine after that. And I never tore again.

I think it is one of those things that is worse to think about than happen sometimes

peppapighastakenovermylife Fri 17-Jun-11 16:56:07

Oh yes - waterbirths definitely! Or just being in the water in labour really helps.

Icouldabeensomebody Fri 17-Jun-11 16:56:25

Have had three children and little tears with two, an episiotomy with one, so stitches each time. Sat on a sort of foam polo mint for a few days and did my peeing in the shower while it was running so no stinging. Yea, I know, I will be flamed for that but I cleaned the shower scrupulously afterwards. Didn't feel a thing when the tears happened, nor when I was cut, honestly. There is so much going on! If you are really anxious, some relaxing breathing exercises can help. Good luck!

Mmmmcheese Fri 17-Jun-11 17:00:04

I agree with peppapig that thinking about it is much worse than the reality! It sounds very strange but everything does feel very different down there when you're in labour. I had a second degree tear which needed an hour of stitching afterwards and I honestly hadn't known that it happened until they told me (and I wasn't even using gas and air during the pushing bit). They gave me local anaesthetic for the stitches and I didn't feel anything. Recovery was also really easy for me - they gave me co-codamol and diclafenic (sp?) which is an anti-inflammatory and I was walking fine as soon as I got off the delivery bed (a few hours after delivery!).

pantaloons Fri 17-Jun-11 17:02:18

I have 3 dc's the first was 9lb3 and I tore quite a bit. I didn't feel it at the time and although I had a lot of stitches I don't really remember it being massively painful in the weeks afterwards. I had gas and air while the stitches were done and was home later in the day with a lovely bundle of joy. I didn't tear with the 2 younger dc's and had no problems with the previous tears.

I think when you're pregnant everyone wants to tell you about their friends, friends cousin who had the worst labour and biggest tear and a 44lb baby, but this really isn't the case normally and I have found that by the time you have a baby in your arms the labour is quickly forgotten (in my experience!)

Parsh81 Fri 17-Jun-11 17:02:43

Thanks Mner's, yes I think peppapighastakenovermylife, you're right - the thought of it is all consuming. I've been thinking about having a water birth as well so good to know that may help. I really need to start thinking about something else to worry about instead before I become obsessed!wink

franke Fri 17-Jun-11 17:03:45

I had a second degree with ds1 and masses of stitches and smaller one with ds2 and about 10 stitches. I can honestly say that neither was a big issue. I wasn't aware of either happening, didn't feel the stitches and didn't experience serious discomfort afterwards - up and about and back home within a few hours.

It's absolutely normal to worry about this aspect of giving birth because it's so tangible I suppose. I'm not posting to tell you not to worry or that there's nothing to worry about, but just to give you some reassurance that it may not be as bad as you imagine. hth smile

midori1999 Fri 17-Jun-11 17:04:46

A tear or episiotomy definitely isn't a foregone conclusion. My first baby was 9lb and had his hand next to his head when born, my second baby was 10lb and I didn't tear with either or have an episiotomy.

My Mum has had episiotomy's as they were pretty routine from what I can gather when she had her DC. I was quite worried beforehand about having one during my first birth, not least as she had stories of them being given without anaesthetic. However, she ensures me you cannot feel it and tbh, having given birth to 5 babies, I am inclined to agree with her that you wouldn't really feel a cut or a tear.

franke Fri 17-Jun-11 17:08:28

Also, I think it's healthy to go through these scenarios in your head and also to discuss them with your mw if you can. When I was pg with dc3 I would go with a list of bonkers worries to discuss with my mw (not tearing, think really crazy, off-the-wall, middle-of-the-night worries). Once I'd gone through them with her, they were kind of packed away and didn't bother me so much any more.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 17-Jun-11 17:20:33

Parsh81 - I'm due DC2 in October too!

Pleased don't worry too much. I had an episiotomy and forceps and it really was fine afterwards. Just a bit sore to sit down for three or four days but nothing horrendous. I know some people have awful experiences but I didn't.

The other thing is that after the birth you will be on a kind of hormonal rush of adrenaline for a few days - which sort of overrides all the discomfort and presumably is designed to let you get on with looking after your baby!

Its hard to imagine now but in the grand scheme of your whole experience, the labour, the birth, and then what its like having a newborn at home and breastfeeding (if you choose to do that), you won't think too much about your stitches (if indeed you have them). I'm not saying this is because those other things are much worse than having stitches, rather that the whole thing is such a big and exciting and lifechanging experience that the stitches part seems pretty small when push comes to shove. (Sorry for the pun!)

Please don't worry - you'll be fine.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 17-Jun-11 17:24:11

Just to add too that if you do tear or have a cut without anaesthetic, its right at the end of labour and your body is in quite a changed state. Its not like tearing now, while you are reading this message.

After hours of labour and pushing, your body is running on endorphins and adrenaline etc and you don't necessarily experience things/pain in quite the same way as you would "cold".

grumblinalong Fri 17-Jun-11 17:44:50

I'm due to have DC3 (today!) and I'm not at all worried about labour but I am terrified about being stitched up after a tear - 2nd deg tear DS1, 3rd deg tear DS2 (hand up near face). I didn't feel either at the time. But hand on heart being stitched up with DS2 was singularly the most painful experience I've ever had, my tear went up to my bum and into some internal vaginal & rectal muscle layers - I was meant to have a spinal block but theatre was full of EMCS's so a consultant came and gave me what she said was a horse sized dose of local anaesthetic.

She injected me and immediately started stitching frantically (think it was because I was bleeding profusely) and I had to have gas & air as I was screaming. MW & DH's faces were a picture because I'd got to 8cm with no g&a, pushed DS2 out in silence (I withdraw into myself) but honestly it was awful, so much worse than labour - so the moral of my tale is INSIST that they wait until the LA has kicked in before they come near you with a needle.

Scotsfairy Fri 17-Jun-11 18:05:19

I've seen this recommended by many, perhaps worth a try?

lljkk Fri 17-Jun-11 18:11:54

It helps me to know that there's an awful lot about the experience (pregancy, labour, birth, parenthood) that I can't much control. So not worth worrying about, just focus on doing what I can. Tearing isn't nice but it isn't that awful, either.

I've had some tearing in 3/4 labours; it didn't hurt noticeably at the time (was nothing compared to contractions themselves). And the tears were no worse than tender after the birth. The stitching itself wasn't esp. painful, either, I was just so relieved to have the contrax behind me. All aspects, including recovery, within the realms of what I could cope with; I found sleep deprivation far far worse, for instance.

MsChanandlerBong Fri 17-Jun-11 18:17:35

shock grumblin I was just beginning to feel nicely reassured by the messages on this thread (fear of tearing from hearing stories from my mother has been one of the factors that delayed me ttc!) but now I think I need a lie down and a serious conversation with my midwife!

Flisspaps Fri 17-Jun-11 18:36:11


Just to say, I had an episiotomy which extended into a 3a tear (pretty bad) and I felt no pain at all afterwards - not a twinge. I do have full sensation down there now, but there was just no pain during healing.

Also, a tear is meant to heal better than a cut.

blueeyedmonster Fri 17-Jun-11 20:00:18

I had a 3rd degree tear with ds. I didn't feel a thing because I had a spinal block (almost had an emcs). Once that wore off it was sore for about a week but I wouldn't say very painful. I never sat on anything special or pee'd in the shower. Things were just fine!

Ivortheengine8 Fri 17-Jun-11 20:07:42

I had an epistiotomy and yes it was a bit sore when they were stitching up but at the same time your mind is taken off it by the new arrival and exhaustion! It was quite sore for a week or so afterwards but nothing I couldnt bear.

WoTmania Fri 17-Jun-11 20:21:31

You sound really worried sad FWIW I didn't tear with any of my 3 DC. I think a lot of that was down to being upright in my laboursan refusing to push when I wasn't ghavng a contraction. I'm obviously from peasant stock grin.
IMO New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas is well worth a read
Good Luck

Zimbah Fri 17-Jun-11 20:41:03

I was really worried about tearing in my recent VBAC, I was convinced that if I tore badly I would regret having a VBAC and would have preferred a repeat CS. What do you know, DD2 came out with her hand by her neck and I had a 3b tear. I didn't feel the actual tearing (although pushing her out felt horrible, I didn't register a tearing feeling). I will say that afterwards I was in a lot of pain until I had the spinal and was repaired in theater. After that it really has been fine, some pain but nowhere near as bad as I would have thought, and I don't regret having a VBAC over CS despite the tear.

Lots of people don't tear at all, but if you do the chances are it will be much, much less traumatic than you imagine.

debka Fri 17-Jun-11 20:53:05

DD2 was 10lb6 and I didn't tear a bit. The midwives said it was because I was very obedient and only pushed when they told me to!

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