After Childbirth: The “Husband Stitch” Haunts Many New Mothers

The "Husband Stitch" is a practice that happens to many new mothers. It's not a necessary medical procedure and those affected suffer pain

A pregnant woman is having a consultation with her doctor.
Source: IMAGO / agefotostock

A ritual called the "Husband Stitch" can turn into a real nightmare for new mothers. Childbirth is an extremely intimate experience and women are vulnerable in this before, during and after giving birth. Unknowingly, some women receive the "Husband Stitch".

There are some popular - and harmless - rituals surrounding childbirth, for example allowing the father to cut the umbilical cord. Have you heard of the practice of burying the placenta under a fruit tree? The placenta is supposed to provide nutrition to the growing tree which in turn is meant to provide nutrition to the baby in the years to come.

While doctors sometimes have to respond to strange questions, it is important to ask questions nevertheless, especially when it comes to childbirth. What happens when a woman unwittingly receives the "Husband Stitch"?

The "Husband Stitch" is a painful practice many women suffer.
Source: IMAGO / Addictive Stock

One Stitch too Much

Every woman's pregnancy and experience of giving birth is different. However, there is one common denominator: women are vulnerable during childbirth. Suffering perineal laceration is not unusual during childbirth. In this case, the doctor puts stitches in the wound - in the case of the "Husband Stitch", however, the doctor adds an unnecessary extra stitch. Why? This stitch is supposed to tighten the genital area of a woman after giving birth. The woman doesn't benefit from this practice at all; it only happens for the pleasure of the husband. For women, this extra stitch often results in excruciating pain during intercourse!

If you think this doesn't happen where you live, you're probably wrong. Thanks to the anonymity of the internet, women have come forward to give accounts of this traumatizing practice.

One woman openly spoke about her terrible experience with Healthline:

After giving birth women are very vulnerable.
Source: IMAGO / Westend61

"Repairing" More Than an Episiotomy

Tearing from birth is, as we said earlier, not unusual. Repairing episiotomies is definitely necessary - but doctors who apply the "Husband Stitch" go too far. The extra stitch tightens the woman's genital area for the sole pleasure of the man during intercourse. The consequences for women are serious - loss of libido and pain while being intimate with one's partner occur all too often.

Sarah Harkins shared her story with Healthline. She remembers that, after giving birth, she was "so out of it physically, emotionally, and mentally. The doctor said it to him. Not to me… I was just lying there like a lump.” Taking away a woman's agency in this most vulnerable state is unimaginable. This once again shows how important it is to openly talk about the painful experiences women have during childbirth in order to take action against them.

In order to feel safe and comfortable during childbirth, try to find a doctor - and maybe even a doula - you trust.