An Aussie woman has shared the horrifying moment she found out she’d received a ‘husband stitch’ – the shocking childbirth myth that has proven scarily real for some mums.
According to a Healthline article, the husband stitch is something that happens after a woman undergoes an episiotomy or tearing after childbirth, and the health provider pops an extra stitch in ‘for the daddy’.
The practice can often lead to painful consequences for women, and since the story was publish women everywhere have voiced their complete shock and horror at the practice, and even shared their own experiences.
One of those women is 30-year-old Jess from Queensland, who shared her experience after the birth of her first son on Now To Love.
Jess had gone through 36 hours of gruelling labor when she had to have an episiotomy (a surgical incision of the perineum and the posterior vaginal) because her baby’s head was too large.
“When he was finally delivered safely, I didn't think anything of being cut open— or stitched back up again for that matter,” she said.
After her six-week check-up was told she could have intercourse again, only when she tried with her husband, they couldn’t.
“I attempted to have sex but he couldn't insert his penis,” said Jess, who after two more weeks of trying went to her GP.
“She examined me and immediately looked horrified: ‘Honey, you're the size of a 10-year-old down there’," she said.
“It turned out I'd been stitched up too tightly.”
There are no specific reports or studies that show how many women have been affected, or how prevalent the practice truly is, but stories like Jess’ act as a warning.
A NSW Health spokesperson said that childbirth can result in a perineal tear for the woman.
"The decision to repair the tear is based on best practice principles of stopping the woman’s bleeding and restoring the anatomy to ensure normal pelvic floor function," the spokesperson said in a statement to Be.
"Repairing a tear for reasons other than these best practice principles is not supported."
Jess was lucky. Although she had to be ‘re-cut’ and stitched back up again, her vagina healed properly and is now back to normal.
“I know this sounds awfully sexist but I do wonder if a female doctor had administered the stitches whether I would have been stitched up too tightly,” she said.
“It was as if he was programmed to give me a tighter vagina.”
Others have taken to Twitter to voice their concern about the practice.
Stephanie Tillman is a certified nurse midwife at the University of Illinois at Chicago and blogger at The Feminist Midwife. She says the practice highlights the misogyny still prevalent in the medial industry.
Hello! Yes, this happened to me! Not sure it was a purposeful thing done by the doctor, but I had to have reconstructive surgery to fix it. Hence, no more vaginal births for me! https://t.co/TC1oIC4Ncc
— Alicia WanstallBurke (@alicia_j_burke) January 27, 2018
I just learned about the "husband stitch" and it's been a while since I've been this level of appalled. Absolutely disgusting.
— Little Foxx (@littleredfoxxr) February 12, 2018
“I felt betrayed because something unnecessary was done to my body that I didn’t ask for,” Angela said.
It's not a myth. I've got cousins subjected to this unnecesary pain because a doctor wanted to "please" their husbands. An enraging and very sad read.https://t.co/l2RASzV63d
— RaquelRosarioSánchez (@8RosarioSanchez) February 12, 2018
— lauren (@laurennn424) February 15, 2018
The 'husband stitch'...is this still actually happening? https://t.co/pAkmhha15z
— Milli Hill (@millihill) February 14, 2018
The doctor that sewed me up after delivery actually said this to me.
— Femme Fatale. (@hyperactiv21) January 27, 2018
“The fact that there is even a practice called the husband stitch is a perfect example of the intersection of the objectification of women’s bodies and healthcare,” she told Healthline.
“As much as we try to remove the sexualisation of women from appropriate obstetric care, of course the patriarchy is going to find its way in there.”
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