The ‘Husband Stitch’ Doesn’t Leave New Moms Laughing

A woman I was chatting with mentioned that she is still undergoing pelvic floor physical therapy to treat painful sex a year after giving birth. Her provider had added an extra suture post-birth known as “the husband stitch.” This is done during the repair process after a vaginal birth, by stitching the vaginal entryway narrower than needed to increase the pleasure of a male sexual partner.

I asked my acquaintance, “Did you consent to this?” She responded that she hadn’t been asked. I remember my own first birth experience back in the 80’s. I was aware that I had an episiotomy which many providers did routinely at that time to prevent natural tears. For all I know I was given an extra stitch. I’m suspicious in retrospect as the discomfort remained until my 2nd post-birth experience with a female OB, no episiotomy, and definitely no husband stitch.

The irony of this “extra stitch” is that it only causes women pain. It doesn’t affect vaginal tone which has a lot more to do with male pleasure than the size of the vaginal opening. The husband stitch is nothing short of a violation. When a male partner says: “throw in an extra stitch for me,” clearly the provider shouldn’t be acting at the behest of a third party.  Women are generally on a “baby high” after giving birth and aren’t paying attention to what’s happening to their vulva. Birthing women need to be properly informed and it’s up to the provider to get clear consent and articulate any matters in question. It pains me to hear that this practice persists in the US in this day and age.

If you’re suffering from painful sex caused by any reason, you can contact us for a free phone consultation to learn how we can help you.