After identifying patterns in the birth experience of women’s first labours, my next task was to compare these experiences with what happened during second labours. For the purpose of this task, I ignored women who chose to have an ELCS second time around. Here are my key findings:
When comparing second labour with first…
Induced labours dropped from 27% to 8%.
Instrumental deliveries dropped from 23% to 2%.
Episiotomies dropped from 26% to 6%.
Epidurals dropped from 23% to 4%.
Anterior positioned babies decreased slightly from 30% to 27%. Although, this is probably not a statistically significant difference.
A second stage lasting more than 1 hour decreased from 40% to 7%.
Women pushing strongly during delivery of head decreased from 43% to 4%, and women panting increased slightly from 9% to 12%. Although, the latter is probably not a statistically significant difference.
1 lucky woman was treated to a soothing warm flannel on her perineum, compared with none in their first labour.
Women delivering on their back decreased slightly from 40% to 17%.
Women pushing when they felt they needed to, instead of when they were told to, remained identical at 11%.
I suspect that many, if not all, of the above findings will be related to the fact the woman are delivering a baby for the second time and thus their bodies and their minds are more amenable to the process. The factors that I think could be conscious decisions made in a hope to reduce damage to their perineums are the decision on when and how strongly to push, and the choice of delivery position.
Whether the difference is down to a natural or conscious decision is not important though. There are still a number of conclusions that we can draw when examining the birth experience of women who have suffered perineal tears. I will call these my tips for avoiding tears and blog about them another day as it is now my bedtime.