Natural Birth + Tearing? — The Bump
Natural Birth

Natural Birth + Tearing?

Hi ladies! I apologize if there are previous posts about this topic- I tried the search feature, but it would not limit the responses to the Natural Birth board (even though I had selected it in the drop down menu), perhaps I'm doing something wrong :/ 

In any case, I am currently pregnant with my first baby, and am strongly considering a natural birth. One major concern I have is being un-medicated when/if I tear. I realize that, even without tearing, the pain will be intense, but being able to feel my lady parts tear may be a deal breaker. 

Does anyone have experience if a previous natural birth with tearing? What was your experience like with the tear and stitches? 

I appreciate your time!
Fur daughter: 02/2011
Human sons: 11/2015 & 05/2017
*formerly kayemjay*


Re: Natural Birth + Tearing?

  • Both of my babies were born med-free and I tore with both of them, I didn't feel the actual tear when it happened, I just asked afterward and my MWs said that I tore and where. 

    As for the stitches, first time wasn't bad, second time my MW tried twice to numb me and I still felt her stitching me back up.  Being stitched up really was the worst part for me, sorry!  But you get through it.  Both times I asked my MWs to numb me with liquid lidicaine (sp?) before they actually gave me the shots, that helped to take the pinch out of it.
    onebadmothaJillianLinn85
  • Oh and I should add that both of my babies had breathing problems and were taken from my arms almost immediately.  I would imagine it wouldn't have been as bad had I been able to hold my little bundles.  Also for whatever reason, the nurse/MW offered me no pain relievers after my first was born.  By the time I could hold DD I didn't want to because I was in too much pain.  It was my MIL who suggested I ask for something, don't know why I didn't think about that!  Anyway, second time around I put my mom in charge of reminding me to ask for pain relievers right away, so I alternated regular Tyl and Advil every 3 hours.  Much, much better!
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  • KH7337KH7337
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    I tore with my DS and didn't feel it at all. I was just happy to be pushing! It felt so much better to push than anything else. I had horrible back labor, so the different pressure was a relief. - sorry no into coming from September 15

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  • I had second degree tears with an unmedicated birth. I didn't know I'd torn til I asked. Dr stitched while I did skin to skin, and he used local freezing, I didn't feel the stitching (and it was extensive, internal and external repair). I had a huge high then, and was busy telling hubby how birth wasn't that bad at all-while he looked at me like I had 10 heads and asked where I'd been the last hour. I was able to walk down the hall to my postpartum room an hour after delivery. It hurt the next day, but it probably would hurt down there even without tearing! I took antiinflammatories around the clock the first few days, and used ice packs for 24h, then sitz baths. It all healed well enough that I'm getting ready to do it again (Also from Sept 15 with no intro-sorry).
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    onebadmotha
  • I've had two med-free births. I didn't have major tearing with my 1st, I only needed two stitches, and with my 2nd I didn't require any stitches.

    It didn't hurt to tear (although obviously my tearing was minor) but I did feel like I was going to tear worse than I did, if that makes sense. Just the feeling of stretching was intense. Also going into I was scared of tearing badly, so I think that made me worry more about it at that moment.

    Being stitched up was  a non-issue, they injected  a local anaesthetic and I healed easily. Peeing was slightly tender for a couple of days and that was it.

    For the record DD1 was 9lbs and DD2 was 10lbs...so I don't think bigger or smaller babies make any difference as to whether or not you're likely to tear either.
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    onebadmotha
  • I was also terrified of tearing with an unmedicated birth, but I talked to my mom (5 unmedicated births...total soldier!), and she assured me tearing is not a big deal in the grand scheme of natural birthing. She was 100% right.

    After my natural birth, I was holding my son, and felt a sharp pinch down there as my doc was handling the aftermath. I winced slightly, and she said "sorry you tore in just about the most sensitive area possible" and she had to put in a decent number of stitches bc it wouldn't stop bleeding (I think about 12). I had absolutely no idea I tore until she told me.

    Recovery was fine. No additional pain due to the tear/stitching. And finally, an unexpected bonus - I am now more sensitive than I ever was before! Probably why we got pregnant again pretty soon after our first :-)
    shmarpleronebadmothaJillianLinn85
  • Thank you all for your responses- so much helpful information! I am still planning on a natural birth, I just like to know what to expect (as much as that can be known when it comes to childbirth). I greatly appreciate you all sharing your experiences! 
    Fur daughter: 02/2011
    Human sons: 11/2015 & 05/2017
    *formerly kayemjay*


  • I've bought the Epi-No to train my perineum to stretch better, and you could also try perineum massage?
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  • My labors go quickly and my babies are abnormally large (due to DH's genetics?). So I ripped for both my unmedicated deliveries. For the 1st I had a 4th(!) degree tear. I suppose it's too late to know how it could have been avoided, but my mom tore each time (unmedicated births, small babies) so I wasn't particularly surprised. Like pps I did not feel any pain separate from contractions. Stitches weren't bad relative to (TMI!!!!) the OB ripping the retained placenta out of my uterus. Recovery was easy enough with ice packs, med pads, sitz baths, etc. The 2nd time I tore (2nd? 3rd? degree), stitches and recovery were even easier. Folks aren't kidding when they say your body will never be the same. I wish I took "before" pictures, b/c "after" is definitely different. I wouldn't have done it any other way --- okay, well under a tree in a green field (but then I'd have needed warm disposable blankets for the winter birth and my state just isn't very green). My intuition is that I am "sensitive" to medications and since my family has a history of unmedicated delivers, I thought I'd go with that. Congrats on your pg and GL with a smooth and natural delivery!

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  • I had zero tearing, which was a super surprise to my midwives. Apparently I have a long perineum and they felt certain I would tear. They didn't tell me this until afterwards of course, thank goodness.  

    I truly believe having the ability to change positions and being encouraged to listen to my body during pushing made all the difference for me. I was not coached to push. She probably could have been born 5 minutes sooner if I had pushed with all my might, but I didn't and she eased out. I was on my knees with my upper body supported on a bed. I also did lots and lots of kegal exercises and squats all throughout pregnancy which is really supposed to help. 

    FWIW, I can't imagine you would actually feel the tearing. I had to be catheterized shortly after delivery and from all the pushing everything was pretty swollen/numb and I didn't feel a thing. I needed a shot of pitocin to help stop bleeding and didn't feel that either. It's amazing the analgesic properties of being super exhausted and super in love with your newborn! :) 
    SharonB222onebadmothapalomaLuna
  • Thanks again for sharing your experiences! 

    @SharonB222, that's amazing that you didn't feel a 4th degree tear! As unfortunate as it is that you had to go endure that, it really makes you realize the power of endorphins/other feel good hormones :) 

    @IrisApricity- One of the big reasons I want a med-free delivery is the ability to change positions- I don't want to be stuck on my back. I'd like to use a birthing ball, and be able to walk around if I feel up to it. I've been doing kegels like crazy for weeks already (it's a good thing no one can tell, bc I definitely am doing them throughout the day at work), so glad to hear they help!
    Fur daughter: 02/2011
    Human sons: 11/2015 & 05/2017
    *formerly kayemjay*


  • kayemjay2, glad you are informed and prepared (as much as one can reasonably and sanely be)! You are a good momma! :)

    Unexplained IF/RPL

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  • @SharonB222- thank you for the kind words! I'm so thankful for sites like these, as they make it so easy for newbies like me to learn from the strong, awesome ladies who've been through it (like you)!
    Fur daughter: 02/2011
    Human sons: 11/2015 & 05/2017
    *formerly kayemjay*


  • Lurking on this board.. but echoing what the others said.. I had a third degree tear with my daughter's birth and did not know it until I was told.  Sorry to say, the worst part was the injections to numb/being stitched up.  

    Mom to Benjamin 6/2011 and Lena 5/2013; baby 3 on the way

  • I tore and I knew it. I also felt the stitches. But with my lo on my chest, I seriously didn't care...i was too euphoric to really register them. As for the lady parts tearing, it felt more like a burning cut you might get to any part of your body. More like if you stretch your lips out at the sides and they sting a bit. I had seven stitches, and I was up and walking as soon as I was in my recovery room.
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  • I was induced with my first so I had an epi. I was in the labor room for 26 hours. The epi wore off by the time I was pushing and I tore. It hurt but it's such a short time period and goes away immediately. It took me 2 weeks to recover and lift things etc. I felt like I had run a marathon while lifting a bus. With my second, I had serious pain in contractions but he came out in 10 minutes. (Luckily we live right by the hospital) There was no time for any meds so I had a natural birth not by choice. The pain of labor was so bad I just popped him out as fast as I could and after that, I felt no pain. Nothing hurt compared to the previous pain. I tore with him as well and the dr sewed me up. I have no idea if she numbed me or not cause I didn't feel a thing. I was so in shock that I had a baby that fast. I gotta say though I recovered much faster with the short med free labor. The next day I could walk and lift things just fine. You can always plan on natural but don't beat yourself up if the time comes and you change your mind cause you didn't expect the pain to be so bad.
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    bunnywahl
  • I tore much, much less with my natural, med free birth. I could feel how to push easier and had way more control.

    DD1 born 5/24/10.

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    wintersong
  • Thanks for sharing, ladies!

    @desigermomma- That is a crazy fast delivery! Hopefully, my little one takes a tad longer, as we're about 30 mins from the hospital! I've heard from numerous sources that recovery is much easier with natural birth, which is a big plus. That being said, I realize that, as a first timer, I have no idea what to expect pain-wise, so I'm not going to feel badly if I opt for pain meds. 

    @mwoodside- That makes sense. I really like the thought of having more control and knowing what's happening down there. I just hope I can be controlled like you were, and not too overcome with pain to think- I've heard it can go either way. 
    Fur daughter: 02/2011
    Human sons: 11/2015 & 05/2017
    *formerly kayemjay*


  • Med-free and didn't differentiate between the "ring of fire" and the small tear I had. I said a resounding YES to lidocane while they stitched me up (all 4 stiches, lol) though! 
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  • I have had one medicated birth and one natural. With my medicated birth I pushed for 3 hours (I was way too numb to feel what I was doing) and ended up with a third degree tear. With my natural birth I only pushed three times and had a 2nd degree tear. Honestly, so much was going on down there during the pushing that I didn't even feel the tearing. The stitches hurt a little bit, but by that point the baby was out and I was too distracted to care ;)

    Plus, with my natural birth I healed WAY faster. I was up and walking around almost instantly and the pain was much less severe. I wouldn't even think twice about it. :P 


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  • I went unmedicated for the birth of my son and I tore. I actually tore my labia which is unique I guess. I didnt feel the actual tear since you are feeling the "ring of fire" anyhow at that point.  Then when they stitch you up you are holding your baby and could really care less. I promise.

    Walking around after only a couple hours. I was out of the hospital after only staying one night and was at home with my maxi pad ice packs and dermoplast spray and was all good in terms of discomfort after a couple weeks. 

    I will say after a few days I kept feeling a weird sudden pain in my lady bits every once and a while and i went in to get it looked at and just needed a stitch cut and that did the trick. If you feel any pain other than just discomfort I would get checked out. :)

    Good luck!

    Me: 29 DH: 35

    Married: 9/29/12

    DS #1: 3/8/15

    crsanchez87
  • I was torn and sowed up after a natural birth and I felt nothing...it just doesn't register with all the other stuff that's going on. 
    trufflies
  • Thanks again for all of the input! T-minus 6 weeks or so til my due date, and I'm still feeling pretty good about going un-medicated. I've taken some birthing classes, all focused on pain relief techniques that don't involve medicine, and those have been amazing. 
    Fur daughter: 02/2011
    Human sons: 11/2015 & 05/2017
    *formerly kayemjay*


    crsanchez87
  • You're going to do great, It sounds like you have done tons of research and are as prepared as you can be for an experience that you've never gone through before. At the end of the day, you just need to believe you can do it, have a good support person, and remember that at the end of all of it you will be holding your beautiful baby. 
    lmc929
  • I didn't tear or have the ring of fire. A couple of things that helped I think was water during labour, I spent a lot of time in the bath. When it came to pushing my midwife held a warm damp facecloth on something down there while he crowned. I think the extra support really helped.
  • There are 5 degrees of tearing. 0 - no tearing 1- small tear at vag 2- tear halfway to anus from vag 3- tear from vag to anus 4- tear from vag and into anus There are tons of reasons for tearing or not tearing. Perineum massage helps with the tearing and most doctors will help out if they see you starting to tear. Progression of labor is another factor, you dialate fast you tear more because of the skin not getting the chance to get used to being stretched. The size of your baby's head, position of head at birth, and any cone headed appearance due to going through the birth canal. Also if the doctor is able to help deliver the shoulders helps too. So I had an epidural for sciatica, high BP due to the pain of sciatica in labor (my BP hit 217 during contractions), and my hips dislocate in the birthing position so I didn't want anything to hinder my pushing. But I had it for only 2 hours before her birth. I labored only 8 hours and pushed only 10 times (4 contractions). I dilated from 4 to 10 in 2 hours. When the doc sat down to do all the suction stuff, well things didn't quite go normally. I revved up to push and she FLEW out of me all at once, he had her bum in his hands and her head hit his chest. So that being said I had a tear from vag to anus and two stitches in the bum. Took him 30 minutes to stitch me up but my uhh hair was getting in the way. He put almost 30 stitches in there. There was none of the other stuff for me and she had a completely round head, no cone head for her. So I tore so badly because I had all the risk factors of doing so. My mom tore just three stitches with her first and then never again. My husband said it didn't look or feel any different for him even with such an extensive repair. The weirdest bit was I was numb in the area for three weeks! It was bizarre but using a pad to counter pressure when you first go poop after delivery helps if you have stitches and sits baths are amazing. Witch hazel helps with any inflammation. Good luck and don't think about it you will do great, they can also do a perinatal block if you feel the pain would be too much it basically just numbs to perineum so you don't hesitate with the pain.
    crsanchez87
  • I used an epidural but heard the un-medicated story from my sister a million times!!

    She said what almost every other poster has...you don't really feel the tear so much as an individual pain because it's all together - Contractions, headache and tear! She did say though that it goes much faster without meds but she will use them next time!

    You can always start without the meds and if needed ask!! I didn't get my epidural shot until I was at a 7! I use a very holistic indian hospital that won't give them to you until your at least past a 6!

  • I tore in two places with my first pregnancy. To be honest, I didn't feel it, I guess I was distracted by actually pushing (I didn't have any pain meds). My midwife gave me a shot to numb the area prior to stitching. I could feel everything, I don't think the shot made a difference. I was holding DD while she was stitching so it was actually a good distraction from the pain of what was going on.
  • I tore too.  I had no idea until after the fact
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  • I had a med-free birth last year and had minimal tearing — the MW gave me a few stitches. THOSE are what I felt — not the tear! But after you've just pushed a person out of your who-ha, you don't worry so much about a few more minutes of, let's call it "discomfort"! The nurse told me that my tearing was so minor that they normally don't bother stitching it up at all.
    However, there is no way to know what to expect — everyone is different and although I guess there are things out there they say you can do to prevent tearing, you're unlikely to be thinking about it during the birthing process. You will probably be thinking "Get this baby out of me!" because birth is no joke. By the time you start pushing, you will be ready for it to be over asap! But that is just my two cents.
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  • During our birth class they told us to help prevent tearing don't push too early! Wait until you HAVE to push, don't push because you WANT to push. Also I think you can do some things beforehand to help prevent tearing during labor. Nothing is guaranteed obviously but it doesn't hurt. Maybe perennial massages would help with that? I'm taking primrose oil capsules. My friend swears it kept her from tearing during her 48 hour posterior labor. You never know... 
  • Hello ladies! Thank you all for your advice and for sharing your experiences. While my labor did not go as planned (I guess that's to be expected- these babies have minds of their own!), after an induction, 36 hours of labor, and 3.5 hours of pushing, our beautiful baby boy arrived on 11/19/15! I did tear, but did not feel a thing...until the doctor began stitching me up- I definitely felt that! It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but we are absolutely head over heels for our little peanut :)
    Fur daughter: 02/2011
    Human sons: 11/2015 & 05/2017
    *formerly kayemjay*


    mjolkmthoomom
  • I had a second degree tear and didn't feel it at all. I guess maybe I felt it, but to me it was just the pain of childbirth. I healed extremely fast, and had no recovery complications. If you're considering a natural birth, then you must be accepting of pain, and if that's the case I wouldn't let tearing deter you.

  • I don't want to let the tearing deter me, but I am scared about it.  I don't want to have problems that could be more preventable with an episiotomy.  I am not sure if I've done enough to help prevent.  I've done some kegals and some stretching but nothing religiously and I don't want to take primrose pills on top of the mountain of vitamins i already take.  I am basically an average pregnancy I'd say and I wonder how it will go.  I guess I should have my decisions made ahead of time?
  • I've had two natural births and tore both times. I did not have an epidural so I was able to feel everything.  However, I have a high pain tolerance and I'm sure she put some numbing stuff on me before stitching me up, but I did not feel anything during that time. Sure I was a little sore a few days later, but the stitches came out on their own and felt pretty good otherwise. It was no big deal to me and I healed just fine.
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  • lmc929lmc929
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    edited August 2016
    You can do it!

    Me: 29 DH: 35

    Married: 9/29/12

    DS #1: 3/8/15

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