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Nancy SullivanScleral Hemorrhage
by Nancy Sullivan, CNM, MS, FACNM

Q. I had a scleral hemorrhage with my daughter (that is when the blood vessels in your eyes burst). What is the possibility of it happening again? I had to push for 45 minutes with my daughter and had a fifth degree episiotomy because she didn't want to come out.

A. A scleral hemorrhage is a sign that you were really pushing hard! It is unlikely to happen again, since it is usually easier (and quicker) to push out your second baby. You are also less likely to have such a large tear with the second baby.

I would suggest asking your nurse/midwife/support people to let you push naturally, when you feel the urge, rather than exhorting you to hold your breath and push as hard as you can. Just do what your body tells you to do, and you're less likely to have these problems.

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