Here's What Chrissy Teigen Meant When She Said 'Life Is 90% Better When You Don't Rip to Your Butthole' During Childbirth
Chrissy Teigen has done it again. A few days after welcoming her son Miles into the world, she told us exactly how much easier it was the second time around. Without sparing any details, Teigen compared giving birth last week with delivering her first baby, Luna, back in 2016.
“I can confirm postpartum life is 90% better when you don't rip to your butthole,” she wrote on Saturday. “Baby boy: 1 point. Luna: 0.”
Pregnant moms-to-be were horrified, several people called her tweet the best form of contraception, and others shared their own (brutal) experiences with vaginal tearing during childbirth.
“I can confirm that the 4th degree perineal tear is the worst thing I have physically ever experienced,” one person tweeted. “*shudders*.”
“Amen Sister! 76 stitches later... Baby #1 - 100! Babies #2&3 - priceless!” another woman shared. “Damn big heads! Best wishes!”
“Welcome to the 4th degree tear club...it’s a journey....anyone else here, we have a group on Facebook...4th degree tear support group,” wrote one mom.
As we *shuddered* alongside these moms, we also had questions about what exactly was going on down there. Christine Greves, MD, ob-gyn at Orlando Health Hospital in Florida, told us everything we wanted to know (and then some) about what happened to Teigen.
It's normal for some amount of tearing to occur during a vaginal delivery. As all those "fourth degree" tweets get at, there are four types of lacerations, Dr. Greves explains. First-degree lacerations involve injuries to the skin and subcutaneous tissue of the perineum (the area between the anus and the vulva) and vagina, and they typically heal on their own. Second-degree tears are perhaps the most common, and they affect deeper tissue of the vagina.
Third- and fourth-degree lacerations are more serious, and it’s clear one of the two happened during Luna’s birth.
“When it extends to the external anal sphincter, that’s third degree,” says Dr. Greves. “The sphincter is a very important part of our anal area for being able to hold poop in. Fourth degree goes all the way through and includes the mucosa, the very thin lining [of the rectum]," she says. A fourth-degree tear results in "no separation between the vagina and the rectum.”
Even though Teigen joked that Miles scored one more point than his older sister, Luna shouldn’t feel too bad. Dr. Greves says lacerations are more common when you give birth for the first time because “you haven’t been stretched or torn there before.” If your doctor needs to perform vacuum extraction or use forceps during delivery, your likelihood of getting a third- or fourth-degree laceration increases, according to Dr. Greves.
As for recovering, Teigen chilled on the couch while her husband performed at the Billboard Music Awards; we can only imagine she needed to take it easy after Luna arrived, too. For third- or fourth-degree lacerations, women usually need stitches that can be absorbed, Dr. Greves explains. The time it takes to ensure muscle and mucosa are healed varies, she adds, and other underlying health concerns, like diabetes, can affect the timing of your recovery.
Sex is off the table until you're healed. “We tell women not to have intercourse for six weeks,” Dr. Greves says. And new moms need to be aware of their time on the toilet, too. “If you tore at your sphincter, it definitely hurts,” she says. “You can’t stop pooping, so it’s very important during that repair process to always have soft stool.” Drinking plenty of water and eating high-fiber foods can help.
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Vaginal tears certainly don't sound like the most fun part of parenthood. But before you swear off starting a family, keep in mind that third- and fourth-degree lacerations are not common. Dr. Greves says only up to 6% of women endure anal sphincter injuries during childbirth. Here's hoping we are the 94%.