If I only have a first-degree tear, will it need stitches? 

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Author: Hegenberger Medical

Childbirth is a miraculous experience. However, it can be accompanied by some bodily changes. One common issue mothers face after giving birth is tearing. While tearing is uncomfortable, it’s essential to learn what kind of tear it is and how it should be treated. 

One common question mothers ask is if they only have a first-degree tear whether they need stitches or not? In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about first-degree tears and whether you need stitches to heal them correctly. 

First-degree tears are the least severe tears that can occur during childbirth. These tears only affect the skin and the first layer of muscle. Also, first-degree tears are typically less than 2cm deep, considered superficial and generally heal well without stitches. 

However, depending on how long delivery took, the use of interventions, or if there was a close call with a second-degree tear, an obstetrician or midwife may choose to stitch a first-degree tear up to aid the healing process. 

Moreover, the location of the first-degree tear also determines whether you need stitches or not. If the tear solely affects the skin and happened in a location that is under pressure when seated, such as perineum skin tear, your midwife or obstetrician may stitch it. 

In most cases, mothers with first-degree tears do not require stitches. The aim is to keep the area clean, dry and let it heal naturally. However, before leaving the hospital, ensure you receive appropriate guidance concerning postnatal care of the tear, including how to keep it clean, and any warning signs to watch for. 

If your midwife or obstetrician think you need stitches, they will give you local anesthetic, which is typically safe for breastfeeding or your newborn baby. After a visual examination, they will use dissolvable stitches to connect the torn skin. 

Although first-degree tears are the least severe of the types of tears that can occur during childbirth, they can cause discomfort if not treated appropriately. If your tear doesn’t require stitches, make sure you keep the area clean and dry and watch closely for any signs of infection. And if your doctor recommends stitches, follow their guidance to ensure quick and healthy healing. Finally, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor or midwife if discomfort or pain persists or if you notice any signs of infection. They are there to help you enjoy and remember the process of childbirth for only positive reasons. 

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