C Section After 3rd Degree Tear

219 Replies
Jessica R. - January 12

I had a 3rd degree tear (to the r___m) with my first child. It caused chronic constipation, fecal incontinence and I still cannot sit comfortably after 4 months. Has anyone had a c-section after that kind of tear? Which recovery was worse? I want to pick the lesser of two evils, since if I do tear again, my chances of incontinence worsening increases significantly, and I have a real fear of another labor like that one. Thanks for the advice!


jenn - April 6

Please let me know if you find an answer, because I am about to deliver my 2nd child after having a 3rd degree tear and can find blessed little info about this!


Saird - April 7

Just from my experience, with a scheduled c-section, it went amazingly well. No labour, no pain- you get drugs in the hospital- it wasn't bad and because I read up on everything and knew what to expect and what to do- it went very well. I found there was minimal pain afterward. Sounds like you had a nasty experience first time and so did I with my first c-section after labour and trying to deliver. But with a scheduled one I found life was good.


Cat - April 12

I would go with the c- section I have had two my second one was scheduled and will soon be having a third in July.


Michele - April 17

I had a 4th degree tear with my first child and couldn't sit down for 4 months. I didn't want to go thru that again so I had a c-section with my 2nd child (born on April 1). The c-section recover is 100 times better for me!!!! I can sit, move around, not sit on those sitz baths, etc. It has been a great experience for me. I won't lie, there is pain involved in the recovery but nothing compared to what we went thru before.


michelle - April 17

I had a fourth degree tear with my first baby. It started with the midline episiotomy the dr used on me and continued into my rectum. I then learned that most major tearing starts with an episiotomy. I chose not to have episiotomies with my subsequent children and haven't had any tearing or injury requiring stiches. There are other ways of avoiding tearing - including perineal ma__sage - than major abdominal surgery. I strongly suggest you look into them. Most women do not tear as much or at all with second and greater deliveries. IMO scheduling a c-section to avoid perineal tearing is foolish. There are other options.


J.CLARK - April 18

Hi Jessica! I had a 4th degree tear with my daughter and I am due to deliver number 2 in about 4 weeks.. I am at the same stage as far as deciding a c section over another vag delivery. Both my doctors have stated that back to back level 3 or 4 tears are extremely uncommon...but I have had the same incontinence issues..and it has been 2 years.. so I may opt for the c section..what you and i had is something (at least my medical group) referred to as a "bottom c section".. so I am thinking i rather be cut across the lower abdomen vs. mybottom...


Karen - April 21

I have an article that should help. It says that even if you try to have a v____al birth and end up having a c section, just having the baby low in the birth ca___l can put pressure on a nerve and make you more incontinent. There were other points that made me decide to have a c section and believe me, I'm a natural girl and opted for a water birth for my first (which didn't work out but I really tried). If you're interested, I can give you the name of the article (I have to look for it) or maybe I could even send a copy to you. If you're interested, my e mail is karlynn17@hotmail.com and my name is Karen :)


Karen - April 21

I had a partial 4th tear. It's now 2.5 years later and I'm still getting pain almost every day. It feels like a stinging burning pain for a couple hours after I have a BM. I'm seeing a specialist next month, but why am I still having pain???


melodie - April 25

with my first child, i had a 4th degree tear. i don't know if it was just the doctor who delivered or what, but i too had a horrible recovery!! my st_tches kept coming out or ripping and the doctor kept putting them back(which my currunt ob says he shouldn't have) anyway it took over a year for me to "recover." i had another baby in january thru a very unwanted cesarean. my incision got infected, but overall it is healing alot better than the 4th degree tear. i would definately go for the cesarean if i have another baby. i'd be happy to try and answer any questions carstin@peoplepc.com


SHERRY - April 27

I had a 3rd degree tear with my first child and a 2nd degree tear with my second child and I don't have any problems.


Lori - May 2

I had a 4th deg. lac. through the rectum with some of your same symtoms. Please, go with the C-section! Several friends have said that the recovery is rough for a few days like with v____al delivery, but at least you won't have bad problems for months afterward.


Cindy - May 4

You do NOT want a c-section. It is horrible. The recovery is much longer. I could not get out of bed by myself, go to the bathroom without help, and was depressed! Plus if you want another baby you have to worry about uteran rupture. It takes much longer to heal, and you can have complications up to a year afterwards. I wish I had a v____al delivery.


Angie - May 7

I had a fourth degree tear with my 2nd child (VBAC) and it was miserable. With my 3rd I opted for c-section and recovery was alot easier. The hardest part for me is standing up the first time after surgery. After that I was walking around as much as my body would allow. The only drawbacks from my c-sections have been numbness in the area of the surgery and a hernia. You might want to talk to your dr about the chances of hernias after c-section.


Claire - May 9

While pregnant again following a 4th degree tear with my first child, I did ALL the research I could. My doctor even printed every study he could find in the hospital and online libraries. Unfortunately, there aren't enough conclusive studies done regarding 4th degree tears. Most studies only focus on 1-3rd degree tears. There is conflicting evidence as to where a repeat delivery will increase your chance of fecal incontinence. Many studies say that incontinence following a c/s is the same as following a 4th degree--it is the act of carrying a fetus that weakens the pelvic floor. Some studies say that a C/S should be done following a 4th degree. My own OB advocated v____al, saying the 2nd baby could slide out like a bar of soap, but my colo-rectal surgeon said that even if the delivery went smoothly, I would suffer incontinence later in life, b/c the muscles will have lost much of their elasticity after the initial 4th degree repair. The colo-rectal surgeon specializes in fissures/fistulas and he says that his patients in their '50s who suffer incontinence (urinary and fecal) all delivered children. You rarly encounter an older woman who has incontinence and never delivered children. Following the colo-rectal surgeons advice, I had a C-Section, and it was a piece of cake! Yes, I needed help getting out of bed, but I also needed that after the 4th degree! I weighed the percentage chances: if you have a repeat tear, then you're in just as much pain (I think more) as a C-Section. You can do perineal ma__sage etc. and may not have another episiotomy, but you may suffer other consequences later in life (incontinence.) I'm especially glad that I chose the C-Section! The surgery risk to me and the baby was worth not having the high risk of being in diapers for the rest of my life. Sewing a___l tissue is like sewing jello. My surgeon said that a___l repairs have a low success rate, while all C/S types of repair (even if there are complications) have a high success rate. Good Luck!


Hi Jessica - May 12

I too had a 3rd degree tear to the rectum and am now pregnant again and am told I should expect a c section, what response did you have thanks karen


Chrissy - June 24

My first delivery was an emergency-section, then the second was a VBAC with a 4th degree tear and the last delivery a scheduled section. The emergency section was a nightmare and I was depressed for over a year and in pain for about 6 months. The VBAC was also very difficult and then to tear and have everything sewn back together and numerous trips back to the OB/GYN to have some st_tches fixed, and the pain and now 5 years later bowel problems that I am trying to figure out, well the scheduled section for my 3rd baby was great. Yes scary laying on the operating table but I read what I could on what to expect, how to prepare for and how to recovery quickly and it worked. After how my friends saw me with my first two deliveries they couldn't believe how quickly I recovered with this 3rd one! So I would go for the section, and I have always been the "natural way" is the best way mentality, but it honestly didn't work for me.



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