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Tearing/being cut

(28 Posts)
degroote78 Thu 06-Aug-09 14:01:46

I am 26 weeks pregnant and starting to think about birth and labour. I am very keen not to tear or get cut and was wondering how to give myself the best chance of this. I have heard about the perineal massage - has anyone tried this? Also, does either having/not having an epidural mean you would be more likely to be cut/tear. Would apprecite any advice/info/links.


thisisyesterday Thu 06-Aug-09 14:05:32

water birth is said to help as the warm water helps soften everything and make it more stretchy.

epidural i believe means a higher risk of either tearing/episiotomy as you can't feel anbything, plus you are more likely to end up with an assisted delivery (forceps/ventouse) which often need an episiotomy

like you say perineal massage may help too, i didn't try it myself but had 3 big babies with massive heads and only tore with the first one (born by ventouse)

tbh though, i was shit-scared of tearing before my first, and at the end of the day it really wasn;t that bad. I did end up getting sewn back together in theatre, but it wasn't as bad as I imagined it would be and it healed really quickly.

sheeplikessleep Thu 06-Aug-09 14:06:22

Perineal massage is supposed to help with this.
As are water births.
I don't know of any statistics, but I've been told both of these can help (but not surefire guarantees).
I had an epidural and to be honest, by the time of actually giving birth, I didn't care about being cut. I think the thought of it is much worse than the reality. Not sure if that helps or not, but to reassure you that the experience isn't that bad (I had the same thoughts, the thought of being cut made me wince, but at the time, I just wanted baby out!).
Epidural increases chances of ventouse / forceps, which I think increases chances of being cut.

sheeplikessleep Thu 06-Aug-09 14:07:13

x-posts thisisyesterday smile

pasturesnew Thu 06-Aug-09 14:09:23

Perineal massage is worth a go, also water birth is supposed anecdotally to reduce the risk of tearing but apparently there isn't hard evidence of this yet. I used both and still had a minor tear, can't say I really noticed it, much less trouble than having piles.

Here are some instructions for perineal massage []]

I was given Green Baby perineal massage gel from a non-mum friend who didn't really know what it was for and I didn't have the heart to explain it to her!

My understanding is that an epidural increases the risk of interventions generally and therefore the incidence of episiotomies increases accordingly. Don't know about tears, though.

pasturesnew Thu 06-Aug-09 14:10:55

sorry link again perineal massage

Hollyoaks Thu 06-Aug-09 14:19:08

I'm not sure if everyone found this but I had a ventouse birth but didnt tear until dds shoulders came out. I didnt feel the tear happening (which was my biggest fear) and the stitches weren't really that bad and healed really quickly.

Try not to worry about it too much (I know its hard) but you won't care at the time. smile

sheeplikessleep Thu 06-Aug-09 14:23:16

It may also be worth mentioning it to the MW during / before delivery how important that part is to you.

I had a friend who felt the same way (with her second ds). She asked the mw to be very directional with her to avoid tearing - when to push, when not to push etc. She didn't tear that time, and she followed exactly what the mw advised at the time. Not sure if the two are related, but might be worth asking specifically for more direction during the delivery for this reason. Ask the mw if she thinks you are going to tear, to say to you to hold off.

degroote78 Thu 06-Aug-09 14:24:53

I think you are probably right, it's the thought of it that's freaking me out. Actually makes me feel sick to think about it, but am sure at the time I'll be in so much pain anyway it won't matter!

Hollyoaks Thu 06-Aug-09 14:26:18

You won't even know it happened, I didn't until they told me.

degroote78 Thu 06-Aug-09 14:39:23

That's really helpful, I will def mention it.

degroote78 Thu 06-Aug-09 14:42:47

Wow, that looks quite complicated and the stinging bit doesn't look too nice. All worth it to avoid tearing/cutting. I think for me it's the very bad tears/cuts that scare me. Just the thought of going to the loo or having sex afterwards makes me very nervous. Also not very good with pain but I guess I'll have to deal with a lot of that when the time comes. Trying not to think about it as it really scares me

pasturesnew Thu 06-Aug-09 14:48:46

It's most likely to be OK, you'll be more interested in the baby at that stage anyway. Take a little jug so that you can pour warm water over yourself when you first go to the loo afterwards. And sex will not be an immediate concern!

JJ1471 Thu 06-Aug-09 14:57:36

I did perineal massage in the weeks before giving birth, but in the end he came out with his hand up by his head, so nothing I could have done about that! But I didn't know I had torn until the midwife told me and it was only a second degree tear. I was allowed gas and air for the stitches as well as the anaesthetic.

It was pretty sore afterwards and it did sting when I went to the loo, but only for about 2 weeks, and everything down there felt pretty bruised anyway.

Next time I would ask for stronger pain relief after the birth - they popped something up my bottom immediately after which was really good, so when I was asked in hospital if I wanted more pain relief I didn't because I couldn't feel any pain. Then when I got home I thought it was a bit wimpy to ask for some.

I think if you can manage to avoid any interventions like forceps or ventouse that would reduce the likelihood, although I think you'll find that when you're there you won't be thinking about it at all. Perineal massage only takes a few minutes a day and also helps to feel as though you are doing something positive.

I hope it all goes well for you!

Hollyoaks Thu 06-Aug-09 15:00:57

I forgot about the tablet up the bum, that really worked grin. Theres nothing dignified about giving birth.

weegiemum Thu 06-Aug-09 15:03:54

There is a chance you might do either, so I would make sure the MW/your DP (or other birthing partner) knows what you want.

I really didn't want cut - I had a real issue with it. I tore instead - healed fine, even though I had had a ventouse. But it only happened that way cos dh knew that it was important to me and was able to speak up for me when I could not speak up for myself (literally)!

It will all be fine!

weegiemum Thu 06-Aug-09 15:05:03

Ah yes, Voltarol Suppositeries! Great for the 60% of people they work for (as I found out later). Not so great explaining to the MW that it hadn't worked and I was still in agony!

Mumcentreplus Thu 06-Aug-09 15:11:18

I don't actually know much about perineal massage..but when I was pregnant after bathing I would moisturise all over and massage a little cocoa butter (palmers) on my nipples and around the opening of my vagina ...had no tearing (bit of stretching) or cuts with both births.

Hollyoaks Thu 06-Aug-09 15:13:50

Oh no weegiemum they are fantastic, what a shame they didnt work for you. Are they only given for bad tears or are they routine. I have no idea how bad my tear was, I was just told it was one long stitch (what that mean I have no idea).

mogend77 Thu 06-Aug-09 15:16:36

I did perineal massage last time. It does sting, but I got my dh to do it & frankly it always ended up with something else wink(entirely selfless on his part, entirely selfish on mine iyswim - he is very giving like that) which made it all worth while :0

Hollyoaks Thu 06-Aug-09 15:26:14

I might try some perenial massage tonight with dh, I wonder if he will buy it when I tell him its good preparation for before you get pg? grin

mogend77 Thu 06-Aug-09 17:08:17

Ah - good luck with that Hollyoaks!

SparkyMalarky Thu 06-Aug-09 17:25:33

TBH - I wouldn't think about the cutting/tearing too much. The thought of it still makes me wince, but when I was cut and stitched with DD it was fine - I was too busy pushing/holding my new baby to worry about it.

Like others have said, the idea of it is awful - the reality not as bad - and I healed no bother too! Was much better than the CS I had with DS first time round. Good luck

MummyDragon Thu 06-Aug-09 18:00:40

Would like to reiterate that the reality of tearing/episiotmies is usually not nearly as bad as the fear beforehand. I wish someone had told me that before I had DS - I panicked myself stupid for the whole 41 wink weeks of the pregnancy! In the end, the episiotomy and stitching were both painless, and although it was sore afterwards I honestly didn't care - I had a beautiful baby to loook after! smile smile

There are a lot of scare stories around, degroote78, but try to reassure yourself that most births do not result in the horror stories that make the papers. They are the exception, not the rule. Human nature, I guess - we prefer to tell/hear gruesome stories rather than happy ones!

KittyTN Fri 07-Aug-09 18:18:00

I remember a horrible stinging as ds1's head was crowning and to my embarrassment shouted at the MW 'You're hurting me'! To which she replied 'actually it's your baby's head'. However, when his shoulders delivered I felt and somehow seemed to hear myself tear. Nasty, but thank God it was over!

I was in tears a couple of days later for my first post-delivery pooh (sorry ladies!). Almost felt that entonox was more neccessary for that event than for the labour!!!

Still, about to do it all again - hopeful without accussing MW of molesting me this time!

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