S.S. asks from Oklahoma City, OK on December 06, 2008
How Long to Fully Recover from Tear During Childbirth?
I had a natural vaginal delivery of my first child in May, and I had a 3rd degree tear. It probably happened because of a short pushing phase (30 min) in which I was not directed to go slowly during critical points such as crowning, even though I specifically asked for that in my birth plan. In fact, my doula saw the OB reach inside as my baby was crowning and pull my baby's head out (I did not have an episiotomy), which she said she had never seen before and which she feels was probably responsible for a lot of the tear. I was uncomfortable for the first few weeks but the stitches healed up ok, I thought. We waited 8 wks to resume intercourse, the first time was so painful we had to stop, and every attempt since then has been so painful that I usually wince and sometimes cry during sex. It has been 7 months since our baby was born, and when my DH went to touch me sexually the other day, I just started crying for fear of the pain. It is a deep, bruising sensation. I am breastfeeding so we use lube and foreplay to help with dryness, but the pain is still there. Is it normal to take this long to heal from that kind of a tear, or is it more likely that something is wrong or that it is more psychological at this point? I delivered in another state and do not have access to my OB (not that I want to see her!), so I am planning to see a local midwife in case there is something wrong physically. Anyone ever go through this or have any advice?? I hate that my body is still not back to itself, and if this pain continues then I seriously question whether I want to have any more kids.
1 mom found this helpful
H.M. answers from Florence on December 07, 2008
I am writing simply to say that I place great confidence in a well trained midwife. I have had nine children...three with a midwife at a free standing birth center, 2 at a hospital with an OB and 4 at home with midwife and doula. The OBs were qualified, but the midwives outshined them in every way. Please see one soon.
J.C. answers from New Orleans on December 08, 2008
It took me a full year to not feel pain duing intercourse. I feel for you. I will never forget the severe pain I was in after the baby, but if it makes you feel better, I have had another child since, and I did not tear. I guess the first child paved the way. Anyway, you will feel better soon. Hang in there.
D.R. answers from Huntsville on December 28, 2008
Well, i hate to deliver bad news, but i had trouble for about a year and a half!! Sometimes even sitting down on a hard surface rather quickly, like the coffee table, would cause pain. Sitting on the toilet for any length of time always made me feel like my insides were falling out. I did have the episiotomy but i had a big baby with a doctor who didn't believe in c sections unless there was a life risk!! After about six to eight months missionary position would seldom cause pain, but of course, relaxing was very difficult!! Everything except my rectum have gone back to normal but i am still scared to have that checked into for fear of reconstructive surgery!! My best advice, after seeing another doctor, find ample time to relax before sex, ha ha with a baby right!! It always seemed to help me if i could relax and focus on sex for a while to ease the fear of any pains! I hope your husband is as understanding as mine was!! Maybe the doctor will have a better answer for you, but it took me literally a year and a half before my insides felt normal again and began to be pain free during sex in other positions and things like sitting on the toilet or hard surfaces. Best of luck!!
Have a great day and god bless!!
K.S. answers from Fayetteville on December 06, 2008
You should be fully recovered from a tear, but it is a good idea to have the midwife check for infection or the possibility that a nerve is involved. Using a lubricant, such as K-Y (especially if you are breastfeeding) is a good idea. You may have to see an OB, but I would ask the midwife for a recommendation.
L. answers from Mobile on December 06, 2008
I'm sorry to hear that you are going through all of this! My friend had a problem w/a tear that was stitched but never really healed right, and a second OB/GYN (i.e. not the one at the birth) did another surgery to fix the problem. I know you probably don't want to think about another surgery (esp. w/a little one around!), but once she healed from that she was sooo relieved--back to normal (if not better)! I'm a midwife fan, too, but probably you will have to see a doctor for this. Like the first mama said, though, the midwife might be the best person to recommend a good OB/GYN. I wouldn't put it off--you (and your DH) deserve to enjoy sex again!
L.B. answers from Fayetteville on December 06, 2008
Maybe you should ask the OB why s/he pulled the baby's head out. I wonder if s/he saw something wrong, like the cord wrapped or something like that (in which case your OB probably should have been able to loop the cord over the baby's head, but who'm I to say - maybe it depends). It could also have been a case of shoulder distocia - which is rare enough that your doula really might never have seen the need. My midwife had to reach into my uterus with both hands to save my baby's life because her shoulder was stuck on my pelvic bone! Had to fold my perineum back for that one. Ouch. I'm definitely not the same, either. I do find that some positions are more comfortable than others, so try that. My dr. also assures me that if I actually do my kegels (whoops), this will help a LOT. Try that, too. They help put everything back together. Even if they can't help with a difference caused by stitches, it can help support everything.
My dr did say that it does take time, sometimes a lot of time, for things to return to some semblance of normal again. I have heard up to a year.
If it were me, I wouldn't go through that kind of pain. If you feel pain to the point of wincing and crying, you really should stop, for your own safety and health, let alone the fact that you deserve to not experience that kind of trauma, especially associated with something intimate like sex! I'm sure your husband will understand that you need to, say, take it more slowly, maybe try different degrees of penetration, and definitely different positions. Maybe for a little while you can try just oral sex, cuddling, etc.
If these things don't help, and after the next few months you're not noticing any improvement when you return to some of your old positions, etc., you may have to see an OB in your area.
Good luck. It's not fun, I know (I still look 4 months pregnant in my clothes, even though I'm my prepreg weight).
PS Yay for natural childbirth! If you do have another, check out Natal Hypnotherapy program. It's award-winning for a reason. I can vouch for it. Had a fantastic experience with it.
E.I. answers from Oklahoma City on December 07, 2008
I am so glad that you put yourself out there and actually asked about something so personal because I had problems with wondering the same thing for a long time and it kept me from gaining healing more quickly. I had the same pain and dread of sex...
My doctor referred me to a physical therapist that works primarily with the pelvic floor. (There are only 3 physical therapists that do this in the state of Oklahoma.) First she used ultrasound to start wearing the scar tissue away. Second she taught me various kegel exercises that would strengthen my pelvic floor so that as they were exercising they were strengthening. She also gave me an at home exercise to do, it was painful but as time went on it resolved my issue. You could feel a ball of scar tissue in my perinium where I had torn and she told me every time I went to the bathroom to take baby oil and put it on my fingers and rub that tissue about 3 times. It hurt and sometimes I would do it only the 3 times because it hurt so badly, but then sometimes I would do it a few more times so that it would go away more quickly. Eventually it did dissolve. What I liked about the physical therapist is that I had something I could go home and do myself and that she taught me the exercises that I needed to do so that I wouldn't have to continue to keep coming to see her after she felt like she had done what she could in the office. It did happen again the second time after my 2nd son was born but after going back to her I was really pleased that she helped me again with ultrasound and reinforcing the exercises she had taught previously.
My doctor had also prescribed 600mg of Tylenol for me to take before we had sex in order to ease some of the pain. As well as a gel form of Lidocaine that I would put on the skin 10 minutes beforehand that would numb the area. There is fear from pain and the pain relievers took some of that fear away because it didn't hurt as bad. When you get into a pattern of dreading and tightening up because you anticipate the pain then you have to learn how to also break that pattern.
You're not a failure because you have these problems and you're not all messed up because there are others of us that have had something similar happen to us as well. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions I am fully convinced this is the way to go! I'll give you the name of my physical therapist if you need it too, just let me know. I really hope that you'll be able to heal and enjoy yourself and your relationship better. There are so many changes that happen in your life when you have a child, time and help will help you learn. Don't give up hope!
K.E. answers from New Orleans on December 07, 2008
Hi, I never tore from having either of my children, my youngest is 20 months. I to have gone through that horrible pain during sex and screaming in pain and just wanting it to stop, even now with my youngest being 20 months I am still in pain, but not all the time and not as bad. I would definitely recommend seeing a new obgyn and getting your female parts checked out, just in case. I wish you luck and hope everything is ok.
A.C. answers from Oklahoma City on December 07, 2008
i had pretty much the same thing happen, i also had a short labor, about 2.5 hours, with about ten minutes of push time, and his head came out fine, but the nurse popped both shoulders out at once and i had a fourth degree tear--no fun. it took me about nine months before i wasn't in alot of painduring sex, and really about 14 months before i enjoyed it much again. there are physical therapists who deal with vaginal scarring and such. i went to one at ou who basically griped at me for having a natural birth, and recommended a csection next time. when i got pregnant the second time i used the midwives at ou and she helped so much. i needed one stitch and she called that 'cosmetic', and my daughter was a full pound heavier than my son at 9# 1 oz. Pauline Lisle, Shana Thomas and Ann - i forget her last name- are amazing midwives.
not to be too graphic, but doggy style was the least painful psotition for me for a long time, since it didn't put alot of pressure on the scar during sex