Experiences of 3rd degree tears and subsequent deliveries

My first labour went from 4cm to delivery in 2 hours, I was sent home at 4cm so most of this time I was travelling from and then back to hospital in the car and I wasn't relaxed in the slightest. I got back to hospital, sat on the bed and delivered straight away without pushing, had to shout for the midwife, and my baby shot out in one contraction.

It resulted in a 3rd degree tear, which means I had to have an endoanal scan this time to see how much scar tissue there is. I am waiting for the letter to say wether I have a vaginal delivery, or wether they would reccomend booking me in for a c-section. However, at the scan the guy doing it said it looked 'fine', so I'm hoping I will be allowed a vaginal delivery.

I had an appointment with a consultant to discuss the options, and I discussed the last labour. She said that this time I would be kept in hospital from the beginning (as sent home at 4cm last time) and I would be cloesly monitored so no water birth. She said they would try and support to perenium during delivery. Reassuringly she said that she sees loads of people every day and so far this year she hasnt had any women who has had two third degree tears...

So, just wondering if anyone had any experience of having a tear and then having a tear-free delivery afterwards?

Was there anything the subsequent time that you felt helped you not to tear?



  • I had a 3rd degree tear with my 1st. My labour was very different to yours though, it was 48 hours long, I ended up with an epidural because I was so tired and not coping with the pain. I was pushing for one and a half hours and the midwife had injected me and was just about to cut me when I managed to push F out.  She was face up (back to back labour) which is why it had taken so long and why I struggled to push her out. If the midwife had cut me then I wouldn't have torn but some people say it's better to tear naturally than be cut.  I was in theatre afterwards for a couple of hours and I have to say they did an amazing job of stitching me up because I had very little problems with moving about afterwards.  When I got pregnant with my 2nd I was absolutely terrified of it happening again. My midwife went through my labour notes with me which helped. I was told I could have a C-section if I wanted but they preferred for me to have a natural birth. I really didn't want a C-section because of the recovery time afterwards with a baby and toddler to look after! My midwife recommended I gently massage my perineum during pregnancy to get it ready for labour (I have to admit I didn't do this). Anyway, my 2nd labour was 8 hours from start to finish, A came out the right way and was out in just 3 pushes! I managed to stop and pant when the midwife told me too and I just ended up having a couple of stitches for a 'graze'.  My 3rd labour was similar, again just a couple of stitches needed.  

    I think as they will monitor you next time and they are aware of what happened, you should have a totally different experience.  Have you had any problems since your tear or has it all healed ok?

  • Thanks Frankie. You're reminded me, Elsie was back to back too, maybe theres something in that? Thank you for sharing your experience, very reassuring! I healed amazingly well, within 6 weeks I felt back to normal and have had no problems since, I feel very lucky. I have been asked loads of times about 'how much' incontinence I suffer, as if they expect me to have some, which scares me as I wonder if it happened again, would I heal as well this time. However, I know a c-section is not as easy ride and I would like a vaginal delivery. I am interested to know if the tear was something to do with the actual labour, or is it likely to be just how I am - I remember the surgeon stitching me up saying 'oh your tissue is very thin, I cant get the stitches to hold', which made me wonder if I have thin skin or something!

  • The day after birth in the hospital there were other women who could barely walk cos of they're 'normal' stitches and there was me, walking around absolutely fine because I had no pain there!  I'm sure the back to back is a big part of it. When I was in early labour with my 2nd the midwife said she was back to back too and I was terrified but thankfully she turned before it came to pushing her out.  

    I had to have an appointment with an incontinence nurse a couple of months after birth because of the tear but I didn't need to see her at all, she seemed quite surprised at how well I was 'down there'. I remember the consultant speaking to me not long after I'd given birth saying that it was quite likely I'd suffer long-term problems because of the tear which scared me but I've honestly not had a problem at all!

    I'm no expert but it sounds like you tore because of the combination of baby coming out the wrong way and also so quickly.

  • I has a 3rd degree tear with my first birth. Homebirth. No reason ... Except maybe baby was 9lb10oz !!  Meant I had to go to hospital for stitching in theatre and night on a ward. The birth was great. The hospital experience was awful. I am planning a homebirth with #2 (due Xmas day) and have had sign off from consultant. Actually, if I'm honest, I would be attempting a vaginal birth anyway, as I might or might not tear again but a c-section is definitely a cut/scar/hospital stay etc

  • Frankie - our experiences sound very similar! I also healed amazingly quickly, didn't really feel any pain other than just a bit of uncomfortableness! My friend who had a small tear suffered for ages and is still not right now. I thought that possibly the more severe the tear the more they seem to invest in your recovery, like the antibiotics, fibogel, follow up appointments etc.

    Horsefan - I understand your thinking, I think I would try for a vaginal birth again whatever they said, because there is no gaurantee that I would tear again, but having a c-esction would guarantee having surgery, stitches etc. It's worth a try isn't it! Good luck with your xmas baby!

  • I had an episiotomy with number 1, tore with number 2 and had slight tears and grazes with 3. All three of my babies have been back to back but I think that is because I have a retroverted uterus so they seem to lay back to back until the very end and then turn. That's what number 2 and 3 did.

    Anyway the tear with number two sounds very similar to yours, I went from 6cm to delivery in 10 minutes and he just shot out. I had to go to theatre to have loads of internal stitches but like you I was completely fine after 6 weeks or so. I tore with number 3 but that was in a totally different place and only a very minor tear which again healed very well. Number 2 was 8 pounds 9 and number 3 was 10 pounds 1 so quite a weight difference too!

Sign In or Register to comment.

Featured Discussions