Degree of Tearing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-29-2007, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

Is there any info I can read, preferably online, about the different degrees of tears? I had some extensive tearing with my 3/5 baby, and the OB said it looked like a forceps delivery. However, I had an unassisted birth, and don't know if it was really that bad, or if the OB was just mad that I jipped her office and the hospital out of quite a few thousand dollars. In any case, I want to know more about tearing, so I'm prepared for our next one in a few years.

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#2 of 4 Old 03-29-2007, 05:00 PM
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I'm not a midwife...

This has pictures and from my experience on a maternity ward, it's correct.

1st degree: tear not through the perineal muscle
2nd degree: tear through perineal muscle, but not through the anal sphincter muscle.
3rd degree: tear through anal muscle but not through to the rectum
4th degree: tear from vaginal wall through to the rectum (ouch!!!)

When your doctor commented on your tear, how far post partum was it? Was it healed already, or was she repairing it?
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#3 of 4 Old 03-29-2007, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link! When the OB commented on the tear, she was repairing it. I'm going to ask her what degree it was when I see her again, but from what she said and the info on the page given, it was maybe first or second degree. It was one day postpartum when the tear was repaired, and 3 weeks later it's almost completely healed.

It's kind of strange. The OB said it didn't tear through the anal muscle, but did tear through the vaginal wall. She also said it was bilateral. So, I'm confused and want clarification from her, now that I'm not in the midst of the stitching and know it's ok. At the time, she made it sound terrible, even though there was surprisingly little blood lost, and it only hurt after the stitches were in.
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#4 of 4 Old 03-29-2007, 11:43 PM
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Tearing through the rectal mucosa would be a 4th degree tear. Tearing right up to that point would be a 3rd degree tear. Bilateral means both sides so if you tore into the vaginal wall imagine your vagina as a clock and you tore into the sides at 3 and 9 as a rough image (because I have no idea obviously where the bilateral tears are). This would match with her description of a tear that occurs with a forceps delivery.
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