I’m pregnant with my second baby. During my first labour I had a third-degree tear – should I consider a caesarean this time?
Obstetrician Dr Vijay Roach says: A third-degree tear is damage to the external anal sphincter, the muscle that goes around the anus and keeps the bowel continent. If it has been repaired effectively and you have no symptoms (such as needing to rush to the toilet, difficulty controlling wind or soiling yourself), you may be able to plan a vaginal delivery next time. Most second labours are faster and associated with less damage to the perineum. If there is evidence of the anal sphincter not working properly, your midwife or obstetrician would advise you to consider a caesarean section.