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As with all health-related issues, please seek advice from a RL health professional if you're worried about anything.

Postnatal health

Pregnancy after third degree tear

54 replies

Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 21:22

Just after some advice please from those who have experienced a 3rd degree tear and gone on to have other children. I had a 3b tear nearly 6 months ago and I’ve now been told I have sphincter weakness. I’m really worried if I went on to have other children I could end up with bowel incontinence issues while pregnant?

tia x

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Anoisagusaris · 05/02/2024 21:24

I had a c section for this reason, on the advice of my obstetrician.

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sweetdreams23 · 05/02/2024 21:25

Currently pregnant with second after a 3rd degree tear with my first. Havnt had any issues at all during pregnancy. I thought they would want me to have a c section but they are more going down the lines of an induction and very controlled natural delivery. Probably with an elective episiotomy away from the scar line. However I did heal very well and never had any ongoing issues from the tear so may be different if recovery wasn’t as smooth.

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bogoblin · 05/02/2024 21:30

I had a 3a tear in 2022 and have been cleared for a vaginal birth this time around (imminently!) if I want one, though apparently my baby is measuring large so we need to discuss delivery. My tear healed well and I've had no issues this pregnancy though!

I would recommend speaking to your GP/the hospital if you're still under their care and asking about any exercises you could do to help your sphincter control.

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CCLCECSC · 05/02/2024 21:31

3rd degree tear with my first. Opted for section 2nd time round. When booked the consultant wasn't surprised with my request.

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Elephantino · 05/02/2024 21:34

3rd degree tear with my first baby. Went on to deliver another 2 large babies vaginally with no further issues. Wishing you all the best.

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Wisenotboring · 05/02/2024 21:37

I did with first. Subsequent 2x pregnancies were fine but delivery by caesarean as per my preference and Dr suggestion. There is just no way I could have contemplated a vaginally delivery after the utter bloodbath of my first delivery. I had some problems afterwards so count myself very lucky to have recovered. Although I was willing to be pregnant again, I couldn't justify the risk of further damage caused by a vaginally delivery leaving me with lifelong problems.

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Ipperdipperdation · 05/02/2024 21:37

I had a 3c tear in 2016 and went on to have my second naturally in 2018. Zero issues during pregnancy. I was determined I didn't want a c section or an elective episiotomy and told the consultant so. I had a debrief with the head of midwives who was supportive but told me that I would need the delivery supporting and no chance of a water birth (as they couldn't push back on the perineum). I put in a fair amount of prep with an aniball or whatever it was called which was unpleasant but helped immensely. I was very lucky that when I was in labour the head of midwives coincidentally walked into the room to hand over some paperwork, spotted me and stayed to deliver my baby. She got me through with a minor 2nd degree tear and stiched me up herself. Even joked she'd help me out and removed some scar tissue from the first time round. I had no issues healing and have had no issues since. My eldest is now 7.5.

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BruFord · 05/02/2024 21:44

I did with my first, hemorrhaged, had to stay in hospital nearly a week, the whole nine yards! Three years later, my second arrived with a tiny tear, literally two stitches and I went home the next day.

I was lucky, my old wound completely healed and I haven’t had any issues in that area.

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Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 21:45

Wow I can’t believe how many others also had a 3rd degree tear 😮
it’s really nice to know that none of you let it stop you from having more babies and things didn’t get worse. I’m currently under pelvic floor physio but I just want to get as strong as I can get before thinking about having another child. And if I do it will definitely be a c section as I can’t risk tearing again x

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ClematisRock · 05/02/2024 21:46

I had a fourth degree tear.. no problems with subsequent birth. To be fair, it was three years later.

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Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 21:48

@ClematisRock wow I can’t imagine the pain of a 4th a 3rd was bad enough 😥 are you symptom free if you don’t mind me asking? I have wind control issues sometimes and random urgency but I didn’t want pregnancy to make things worse x

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Sunshine322 · 05/02/2024 21:49

I had the same with first dc, opted for another vaginal birth but second dc had different ideas, was in distress so I ended up with an emergency section. You will be sent an appt with a gynae consultant whilst pregnant next time to discuss options, you can then decide what is best for you, to have another vaginal birth or an elective section.

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Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 21:52

@Sunshine322 how was your c section recovery? I’m so scared to birth vaginally again and couldn’t forgive myself if I made my bowel problems worse x

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liquoricecravings · 05/02/2024 21:53

Third degree with my first. Second degree tear with my second. Labour was much quicker and easier the second time for me. Only gas and air and a tens machine. Didn't realise I'd torn again. The midwife stitched me up and the healing process was quicker than the third degree tear. Spritz for bitz is great for helping relieve the irritation of the stitches doing their work.

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BruFord · 05/02/2024 22:07

ClematisRock · 05/02/2024 21:46

I had a fourth degree tear.. no problems with subsequent birth. To be fair, it was three years later.

@ClematisRock Yes, for me personally, I needed a three-year gap to feel physically ready to try a vaginal birth again! It might have helped my old wound to stay closed!

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Sunshine322 · 05/02/2024 22:08

Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 21:52

@Sunshine322 how was your c section recovery? I’m so scared to birth vaginally again and couldn’t forgive myself if I made my bowel problems worse x

C section recovery was absolutely fine. I was up the next morning wanting to go home but they were very reluctant ( I needed x4 units of blood after), so I agreed to stay another night. It’s sore for a week or two but perfectly manageable. An elective section would be more controlled anyway compared to emergency so If you are scared of another vaginal delivery, opting for a c section may be better for you.

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marmaladeandpeanutbutter · 05/02/2024 22:13

But bodies are amazing. I had a badly broken shoulder at the knackered old age of 61 last year, and at the 6 week check it was completely, invisibly healed.

Check with your consultant. If you do end up with a caesarean instead of a vaginal birth, isn't the worst thing at the end of the day (I have had both).

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Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 22:20

@Sunshine322
Wow it’s amazing that you felt well enough to want to go home so soon after surgery! I’m glad you had a positive experience although not the birth you had in mind.

I couldn’t stand or walk properly for ages after the tear, I also had forceps which I don’t think helped.

as I’ve already got sphincter weakness I wouldn’t want to risk another vaginal birth in case I tore badly again. I’ve just been worried about getting pregnant again and if that could cause bowel issues to start x

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Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 22:23

@marmaladeandpeanutbutter
Im pleased to hear your shoulder is ok ☺️

did you tear badly with your vaginal birth?

the fear of bowel incontinence has scarred me so much I never want to birth vaginally again

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marmaladeandpeanutbutter · 05/02/2024 22:45

I admit I didn't. But I did have an episiotomy which got infected, requiring antibiotics, and a nasty lump which appeared half way up my vagina. One repaired and the other disappeared after a few months.

My initial point is that bodies are resilient, and good information can usually be obtained from the NHS.

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Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 22:54

@marmaladeandpeanutbutter
we are resilient apart from our sphincter muscle unfortunately 😢 I’ve been told by the colorectal doctor to basically be prepared to be bowel incontinent by 50 because of the tear. I just wish this was spoken about to pregnant women. I never would of bothered with a vaginal birth if I knew what could happen x

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BingoMarieHeeler · 05/02/2024 22:56

Had a 3C tear nearly 9 years ago. Still pretty weak but have had 2 other kids. C section basically guaranteed to be granted if you request one, following a severe tear. No issues in pregnancy or bowels following the tear.

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Mumofonexo · 05/02/2024 23:02

@BingoMarieHeeler did you get told you have sphincter weakness too?

it’s so nice to hear pregnancy didn’t cause you any problems ☺️ did you leave much of a gap between your first and 2nd?

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ohfook · 05/02/2024 23:16

3b tear with my first. Had no further problems In subsequent pregnancies but was very strongly advised to have c-sections which I did.

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BingoMarieHeeler · 06/02/2024 07:53

@Mumofonexo I have 2.5 years between 1st and 2nd child. After my first I had a course of pelvic floor physio and then a birth choices appointment where a midwife takes a look at various factors and gives you your chances of having another tear.

Can’t recall if was specifically told I had a sphincter weakness but wouldn’t be surprised at all given the nature of a 3rd degree tear - they do tear into the bum! And had appropriate symptoms for that. Your post has actually reminded me I need to get back to proper pelvic floor exercises. It needs to be a lifelong habit really, I guess for everyone but especially after such a big tear.

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