Am I going to tear down there during childbirth?


#1

Probably a little. Sorry.

95% of first-time mothers experience some amount of tearing as their baby’s head makes it through the vaginal opening. The tissue of the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) is not particularly flexible, which can cause tearing to occur in this area. Though almost all first-time vaginal births include some tearing, these tears are usually small – just a bit of the lining of the vagina may tear (first degree), or more commonly, a bit of the deeper submucosal tissue (second degree). Though these tears may require a few stitches, the more severe third and fourth-degree tears are much less common.

Tearing may be worse with particularly fast births, or those assisted by forceps or a vacuum.

An episiotomy, where the doctor surgically enlarges the vaginal opening, used to be standard procedure to prevent tearing. Studies have shown that the procedure can actually make tearing worse, and episiotomies are no longer routine.

I hope that helps, please post any questions you might have!

Kind regards,
Monica


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