Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Minneapolis USA
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I had 2 skid marks and a tear at my homebirth, and had a lengthy discussion w/ visual aids w/ my midwige as she explained the differences.
Seriously, use a knitted garmet/blanket as a mental image in your mind--something like a crocheted afgan, with nice open stiches and a little bit of stretch.
The afgan, not stretched, is your skin. When you pull on it, you'll see the threads and stiches begin to separate...that's a skid mark; the skin is compromized & under stress. If you pulled it even harder--ouch--it might not stretch out and be compromized, it might just give way, and that's a tear. No muscle is involved in either scenario. (Muscle is ALWAYS CUT during an episiotomy.)
With a skid mark, most of the tissue is stretching: the underlying muscle, fat 'n' tissue on top of that, and most of the layers of skin (but not the most superficial layer[s], hence, the injury.)
With a tear, the muscle stretches, but there's not enough oppertunity for the skin to also stretch, so it gives way.
My skid marks looked like a skinned knee, an abrasion. The thing that caused the abrasion was the pulling of tissues, versus the scraping of tissue on a hard surface like a skinned knee.
My skid marks caused terrible burning pain when peeing--but only for the first 24 hours! I was AMAZED at how quickly they healed, just like any injury in the mouth does. The peri-bottle sprayed on one's bottom while peeing during those early post-partum moments is the key to peing comfort.
I have always thought the term 'skid mark' comes from the idea that the baby was speeding out of the vagina such that there wasn't quite enough time for the skin to stretch completely, so there's a bit of abrasion.
(FTR, the fact that I suffered skid marks and a tear is not a reflection of the perils of birth, rather, they are a direct consequence of my 1st birth w/ a episiotomy w/ a "husband's stitch," which caused my vaginal opening to be tighter without the structural integrity of a regular episiotomy. So no freaking out and worrying that everone suffers perineal trauma during birth :LOL )