What happens if I do tear?

Once the placenta is delivered, your midwife will check the extent of the tear. Tears are graded. A first degree tear is the most superfical involving skin and often (unless it is bleeding excessively) is left to heal without suturing. A second degree tear involves the underlying muscles in your vagina and again, depending on the extent and oozing (blood), may or not be sutured. It is common for most of these tears to be sutured. A third degree tear is one which has extended to include your back passage (anus) and will always need to be sutured. It is not life threatening but because of the risk of incontenence problems it will be stitched by an experienced doctor often under a general ansethetic. These are quite rare, most women have either a first or small second degree tear.
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