Episiotomy Vs Natural tearing.


I have question...

I had an episiotomy with baby no.1 as she was stuck and in a twisted position so a failed ventouse and then forceps delivery. My Cystocele 'arrived after baby no.2 (2 and a half yrs later). I had a tear with baby no.2.

I am assuming that my episiotomy contributed to the cystocele but is there really an alternative with a forceps birth?

Wouldnt a natural tear be just as bad for the pelvic floor as an episiotomy?

Just wondering.....

Zoe x

I have read a natural tears heals easier than a slash.

I have had 2 x epi's and 1 x tear and the tear healed faster and with less pain and discomfort


Look into the eyes - They hold the key!

I think there is really no way to know what 'would have been'
my second got stuck on a cervical lip, and mw had to hold the cervix open while I pushed him past it. the attending dr said if it were up to him he'd have used forceps or vacuum. so I think in many cases there are alternatives. but whether your prolapse outcome would've been different, hard to say. I think that pushing past mw's hands was probably pretty truamatic for my vagina.

I tore pretty badly after my first (no episiotomy) and it never healed right, so really you never know.

that said, I'd never opt for a surgical incision over natural tear, I think the odds are in my favor that way

and I think we will always wonder.....

My eldest was too big for me to deliver, but the country doctor went ahead and "let me try." After 13 hours of hard labor, he told me I would have yet another 24 hours or more while I was on the delivery table. I raised my body off the table holding onto the hand and foot ties and pushed with everything I had, and the last thing I remember was "Oh my God, give her gas." Apparently, I delivered a nine pound baby in one push, 10 percent of my own weight, and tore right across the buttocks. It took 45 minutes to stitch me.

My question is, later - 30 years or so, I was told by a beloved friend and physician who is retired now that I have a big chink out of my cervix. Could this have been caused by a rough birth or be why I prolapsed?

My other three were born without a single labor pain in record time. I think I was at the hospital 3 minutes with Katy, 20 minutes with Molly and 45 minutes with Anne. Anne got stuck.


Change what you can change; be happy with what you cannot.

Hi Judy

I agree with Granolamom. When I was having my babies in the 80's, very little was said about prolapse and I really think that very little was known written about it. Nothing much has changed. It still seems to be cloaked in mystery and feared. It is a pity there is not more effort made by mainstream medicine to find out why prolapses happen and prevent them, rather than inventing surgical procedures to 'fix' them up afterwards (which often just creates more problems to be solved with surgical 'solutions').

I guess prolapses are not life threatening, though they certainly are life-changing. Also they are hidden from view, so it is all left up to the imagination, and they are about as sexy as a badly maintained, aged, family sedan. Also there is a lot of money invested in keeping the current balance, with certain individuals and companies making a lot of money after the event. Sorry if I seem to be over-cynical, but that just seems to be the way that it is.

You would think that it would be fundamental for humans to get this elimination / reproduction thing happening in the best way it possibly could, so that bodies could maintain their integrity for life, but it is not the way we seem to work.

Hopefully Christine's work will open a few minds to the possibilities of changing how we prepare for childbirth, how we recover from childbirth, how we manage our diets, how we design our clothes, how we teach our children to hold their bodies as they emerge into adulthood.



Hi Louise,

I started having babies back in 1971, and it was ALL hush hush. When I declared I wanted to nurse, I was a pariah and shoved embarrassingly into a corner where "nobody would see." My son doubled his weight in a month, and to this day, my children remain healthy adults.

Life changing... that's for sure. Having had this only a few months, it has been very life changing, and not the kind of life change I'm game for for very long. I'm a doer not a sideline watcher. I have to do something about this and not just depend on a doctor. Doctors can't fix this; I have to do this myself.

As soon as I knew what I thought it was, I found this site, read as much as I could, and I started back doing yoga that I had previously given up during menopause because I couldn't walk - it was side effect. Yoga is a program that strengthens the entire body from head to foot.

Here's my reasoning: If it's true that the vagina is built of a group of muscles, then it is also true that whatever once was, can be again. Muscles don't just stop. They are, for the rest of our lives, a part of our body we can continue to work with and on to strengthen and build. We can redevelop the muscles that have failed to be whole and complete again, but it takes work, and at my age, lots of work because I don't have the estrogen the young ladies here have.

Here's what I've done: In only a few months of relieving my body of the "up down" posture and tilting a little as Christine explains, and exercising the total body three times a week as I do in yoga, I find that the prolapse that was about the size of my thumb back in April, and nearing the opening of my vagina, is now nearly back in place. The few times I check it, it's about the size of half pecan. I don't feel it when I walk anymore; I don't get the backaches I was getting anymore; that drawing feeling I was getting right down to my knees is gone. In stead of having to sit every 30 minutes in terrible pain, I can be on my feet most of the day.

I do believe it's the exercise and the posture.

My goal - everyone needs a goal - is to fix the rectocel as well. I'm discovering certain stretches and muscle strengtheners that are reducing this muscle failure as well.

I want to share this with you because it's really working, and I know that this thing is not something I'd wish on anyone - even The Cupcake - but that's a whole other story.


Change what you can change; be happy with what you cannot.

I guess that in understanding how this thing happened I am working through the stages of moving towards my own healing. Having read some on how episiotomies seem to weaken the whole pelvic floor, I wondered whether tears did as much damage.
I know from my own experience of an episiotomy that was (badly) stitched, that it seemed to take an age to heal and was incredibly painful. The large 2nd degree tear I had with my son in comparison was healed up very very quickly, needed no stitches and I hardly even knew it was there.
I am trying to find some logical reason for my cystocele, but I suppose I'll never know for sure how it began and even if there was one dominant factor.
I was angry about my episiotomy/forceps birth for a while and I guess I'll always wonder if it was neccessary, or whether a skilled midwife could have helped in other ways, but what's done is done and it's time to move on. I do want to understand the causal factors as much as possible not least so that I can fore arm my own daughter when the time comes.

Thanks again, Zoe x

I have a beautiful 9 wk old baby boy and a wonderful 2 and a half yr old daughter who make it all worth while :-)

Hi Zoe,

I, like you, have spent a lot of time wondering what would have happened "if"? If I had a skilled midwife, if my OB had not stripped my membranes, causing my water to break, causing me to go into labor needing pitocin, everything. I constantly wonder why she let me push like a maniac for so long, then used a vacuum to pull him out. So I understand what you mean when you say you're trying to find some logical reason for your cystocele. It was probably a combination of many factors. Easy for me to say, hard to accept! But one thing I can say is that I insisted on no episiotomy and had two very bad tears. They healed very well, but I still had a cystocele. You are still on a few months postpartum, so there is a lot of room for you to heal still. Try to take the best care of yourself as possible.