Sunday, November 23, 2014

Taking the ''Oh My'' Out of Vagina Anxiety !

I have been fortunate in over forty years of my spinal corrective practice to treat many women prior to and during their pregnancy to help them achieve pelvic alignment and nerve balance, so necessary for having a good outcome with less stress on mother and baby. From the easing of  ''morning sickness'' to maintaining the spinal column over nine months as the foetus is growing, and on to reducing labour time at delivery, chiropractic ticks all the boxes.

My Most Frequently Asked Question 

One of the biggest fears for pregnant women, particularly first-time mums, is ‘’how of earth can something as big as a baby come out of my vagina?’’  With episiotomy there are two options. (cutting the skin between the vagina and anus [Mid-Line] or diagonally [ Medio-Lateral] not to the anus) (see diagram right) during Labour is the most commonly performed operation in the West, childbirth can certainly have an effect on your delicate bits. Here’s all you need to know about Vagina Anxiety.

What’s Vagina Anxiety?

The fear of the effect of childbirth on a woman’s birth canal, and the delicate skin and tissue around the vagina and anus, can lead to some pregnant women to suffer real anxiety. Many women suffer small tears during birth, and doctors will cut the skin if necessary to prevent a ragged tear occurring, which takes longer to heal than a cut.

How Many Women Tear during Birth?

While health experts don’t know exactly how many women tear during the birthing process, as small tears often aren’t recorded, a study found seven out of ten needed stitches for a cut or tear. Bad tears, (known as third or forth-degree tears), going all the way from the vagina to the anal opening, are much less common, with a ratio of 7 in 100 women suffering a bad tear during birth.

Why You might Need an Episiotomy.

There are various reasons why you might need an episiotomy, such as if your baby is in distress, if your baby is in a breech position, and there’s a complication, or the birth is progressing quickly and your perineum is at risk of tearing, as it hasn’t had time to stretch slowly. ‘’The use of forceps does mean that an episiotomy is likely, but not inevitable,’’ confirms Dr Mariam Stoppard, author of Pregnancy, Conception and Birth (Penguin), adding that a vacuum suction delivery means less chance of an episiotomy.

Don’t Push Too Hard!

When your baby’s head is about to be born, otherwise known as ‘’crowning’’, (diagram left) you’ll feel a stinging sensation as your vaginal opening stretches. Try not to push to hard at this point, as it can cause tears to occur. ‘’As soon as you feel this, try to stop bearing down, pant, and allow the contractions of your uterus to do the work,’’ says Dr Stoppard. ‘’This may be difficult as you’ll probably still feel like pushing, but if you continue to push you run the greater risk of tearing or needing that episiotomy.’’

Other Ways to Reduce Tearing.

Studies show that massaging your perineum, or rubbing and stretching the skin between your vagina and anus using natural oil, can help prevent tearing when you give birth. Water births can also help, along with mid-wives pressing hot flannels or towel on the perineum.

Add ‘’No Episiotomy’ to Your Birth Plan.

If you want to avoid or reduce your chance of having an episiotomy, it’s a good idea to make it clear in your notes and birth plan that you don’t want it to be done unless entirely necessary.  Dr Stoppard says, ‘’If you do have to have an episiotomy, you have the right to have a local anaesthetic in the perineum before it’s done, so insist on that.’’
How Long will my Episiotomy Take to Heal?
Your stitches should not take more than a month to heal. If you're in any doubt  as to whether your stitches have healed properly, go and see your GP, or wait for your six week check-up then. Using a herbal infused warm SITZ BATH is very helpful for healing and can be fitted in a typical toilet bowl. Some models come with a small aerator to supply a gentle stream  of bubbles to the surgical cut.
The Way I See It......(My Second Most Asked Question)
''When can I have Sex again?''   Once your stitches have healed it's fine to make love as long as both you and your partner feel like it. When you first make love, you may feel some initial tenderness and tightness. Relaxing as much as possible and using a lubricant will help make you more comfortable. Try taking a warm bath before you go to bed, and leave plenty of time for foreplay. You may prefer to be on top so that you can control the degree of penetration, or you may find that the side-lying position is the most comfortable initially.  Hopefully your new baby won't make you too tired for the enjoyment of love making. I hope my advice helped reduce that Anxiety.

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