what about stiches? - Mothering Forums
Unassisted Childbirth > what about stiches?
sarahlynne's Avatar sarahlynne 05:54 PM 01-21-2005
I don't know alot about unassisted birth so forgive me if this is perhaps a silly question. I am just wondering what you do if there is tearing that requires stiches. Do you just go to the doctor the next day or what? This is really the only part about being unassisted that "bothers" me. I am wondering what others have done and how often it is even an issue.

alegna's Avatar alegna 06:32 PM 01-21-2005
I think that women who birth without directed pushing RARELY will need stitches. What other animals need to be repaired after birth? It just doesn't make sense. But yes, like everything else, if there is something terribly out of the ordinary that requires medical treatment, you could seek it.

(who declined stitches at her homebirth and is VERY glad she did....)
erindaugherty's Avatar erindaugherty 07:39 PM 01-21-2005
The reason I am considering an unassited birth next time is stitches. I had 100's after a midwife birth with forced interventions. On one hand I think nature is the best way...but what about third or forth degree lacerations??

majazama's Avatar majazama 10:02 PM 01-21-2005
Like the one of the PP's said, if you are not doing much really direct pushing, there is rarely need for stitches. Part of the UC mindset is to let your body do what it has to do without interfering with that. Well, I guess the whole basis of UC is that, actually.
kavamamakava's Avatar kavamamakava 10:11 PM 01-21-2005
If you have a minor tear, you can just do sitz baths and compresses to speed healing and it will knit back together. If you have a larger tear that is bleeding profusely or requires medical attention, then you seek it. I had a minor tear on my scar at my last birth and my midwife offered to put a stitch in because she wasn't sure how it would close on the scar. But I didn't want to be messed with in that area so I just left it alone. It knit back together anyway.
cottonwood's Avatar cottonwood 12:55 AM 01-22-2005
This is one of THE most common questions about unassisted birth. Every few months it seems someone starts a new thread about it.

Episiotomy causes tearing. Fingers inside the vagina and stretching the perineum causes tearing. Inhibition, by way of tenseness of the tissues and hindrance of the relase of tissue-softening hormones, causes tearing. Voluntary and directed pushing (because the pushing is happening before the tissues are ready for it) causes tearing.

Women rarely tear when they give birth instinctively and spontaneously and undistracted. I have never heard of a deep tear (into muscle) in such a situation.

Small tears heal best on their own. Deeper tears that need stitches -- well, if it did happen I'd ask a midwife to repair it or go to the hospital. But the fear of having to do so certainly wouldn't keep me from UC, because there is virtually zero chance of it happening.
hawkfeather's Avatar hawkfeather 01:11 AM 01-22-2005
i haven't ever had a tear thankfully and hopefully never will.. if you don't push during the second stage and let your body do it's stuff you should be fine.. the lithomy position increases the risk of tearing as well..
i agree with letting your body heal naturally.. baths with chickweed or comfrey help.. as well honey on small *skid marks* helps and I do know more than one compitant woman who used super glue.. however repairing your own tears is *ify* in my opinion as realigning a wound incorrectly increases the risk of future injury as well as pain with sex and urination.. i think too many women assume they will tear it is a rare risk in a normal birth...if i ever ended up with a bad tear i would likely just call our local middy or make a doctors appt for the following day or go itno hospital for repair...
paloma's Avatar paloma 12:29 PM 01-26-2005
There are things that you can do to prevent tears, but I have needed to learn how to ascertain whether or not there is a tear in the first place.

Tears that do not involve muscle will usually knit together well. Muscle tissue, however, retracts when it is broken.
NatureMama3's Avatar NatureMama3 06:07 PM 01-26-2005
I doubt one would be necessary, BUT.. if something happened (you forgot and pushed, etc) for a minor tear likely nothing beyond regular wound treatment. For slightly worse you could use "human glue" (superglue like stuff that many ERs now use on almost all tears/cuts now). For a much worse I'd probably see a midwife or doc for suturing. But that's just MY comfort level.