Is it common to tear during a vaginal birth?

Yes. As you are giving birth, you might end up with a tear. Often the tear occurs in your perineum – the area between your vagina and your anus.

It is more common to tear for women having their first natural birth the tears can be small nicks and up to to deep lacerations affecting several pelvic floor muscles. Having episiotomy may raise your risk of getting severe tears.

First-degree lacerations

The superficial tears are of the skin of the perineum and the tissue around the opening of the vagina or the outermost layer of the vagina itself, but no muscles. These tears need few or no stitches. They usually heal quickly and cause little or no discomfort.

Second-degree lacerations

These tears go deeper, into the muscles underneath. These tears need to be stitched closed, layer by layer. They’ll cause you some discomfort and usually take a few weeks to heal. The stitches dissolve on their own during the healing period. Mine was not repaired… and the muscle atrophied under the skin that was put together…..I found out many years later.

Third-degree lacerations

About 4 percent of women who deliver vaginally end up with a more serious tear in their perineum that extends to or through the rectum. This kind of tear can cause pain for many months and increases your risk of anal incontinence. Here the tear is in the vaginal tissue, perineal skin, and perineal muscles that extends into the anal sphincter (the muscle that surrounds your anus).

Fourth-degree lacerations

These go through the anal sphincter and the tissue underneath it.

Other kinds of tears are to the urethra, known as a periurethral laceration. These tears are often quite calling for few stitches or none at all.

 Less common, is a tear to the cervix or labia (the folds of skin just outside the vagina) or tear deeply into the tissue of her vagina (known as a sulcus tear).

How should tears be treated?

If you have a tear that requires stitches, a local anesthetic is first injected directly into the areas that need numbing. Or, if you have an extensive tear, you may get a pudendal block – an injection of a local anesthetic into the walls of your vagina, which bathes the pudendal nerve and numbs your entire genital area. Then your practitioner will stitch you up, layer by layer.

I got no injection, I felt the stitching of the skin. The pain internally was for months…. I had no idea why…..


  1. Rebecca

    You do not have to tear during delivery. The area needs to be massaged and stretched during labor. There is a OB in FL that came up with this technique & has taught it to others that have successfully replicated it.

    1. Noa

      Thanks. I have done it during the last weeks of my pregnancy. I tore…..4-5 inches
      We are not all made the same. As always there are many variables.

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