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Third Degree Tearing
by Barbara Parker, RN, ARNP, CNM

Q. I gave birth to twin girls. I had an episiotomy, but the babies were entangled so my OB said that I also suffered third degree tearing. What exactly does it mean to suffer third degree tearing? Should I still be experiencing pain during sex?

A. A third degree tear or episiotomy means that the tissue between the vagina and rectum was torn, but the tear stopped before it entered the rectal wall or muscular sphincter.

No, you shouldn't be having pain with intercourse. Go back to your doctor or midwife and complain. They can help figure out just what's going on.

More on episiotomies:
  • Get Through Childbirth in One Piece! by Elizabeth Bruce, MA, CCE
  • Are Episiotomies Necessary? ~ a message board archive
  • Preventing an Episiotomy by Nancy Sullivan, CNM, MS, FACNM
  • Episiotomy vs Tearing by Nancy Sullivan, CNM, MS, FACNM
  • Episiotomy Scar Problems by Barbara Parker, RN, ARNP, CNM

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