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Childbirth, tear or cut - How common is a tear/episiotomy?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Most women who have a vaginal birth have either a tear or a cut. A few women have both.

We don't know exactly how many women have a tear in the perineum during childbirth. Doctors and midwives don't always record small tears. Experts think that at least one-third of women in the UK have a tear large enough to need stitches.[11][12]

In one British study, more than 8 in 10 women had a tear or cut during a vaginal birth.[6] And about 7 in 10 needed stitches.

Bad tears, which go all the way from the vagina to the anus (third-degree or fourth-degree tear), happen less often. The chance of a bad tear is about 1 in 200.[10]

Your chance of having a cut (episiotomy) depends on where you live. In England, about 13 percent of women have a cut. In some eastern European countries, nearly all women have a cut during delivery.[11][13][14]


For references related to Childbirth, tear or cut click here.
Last Updated: July 20, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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