What is a husband stitch? We explain what this medical procedure means, and your options if you think it’s happened to you.
What is a husband stitch?
It’s an extra stitch a doctor might make in a woman’s vagina after she delivers a baby to supposedly make the vagina smaller and tighter.
It can have severe negative effects on a woman’s health and is technically considered medical malpractice, meaning you can sue a doctor who performs one.
If you’re curious what a husband stitch is, nervous about getting one during birth, or wondering whether you had one done without your knowledge, then read on.
We discuss the legality of this medical procedure, side effects, and reversal.
In this article: 📝
- What is a husband stitch?
- Does a husband stitch make you tighter?
- Can I request a husband stitch?
- Is the husband stitch legal in the USA?
- Can a husband stitch be reversed?
- Can I sue my doctor for giving me a husband stitch?
What is a husband stitch?
Sometimes also known as the “daddy stitch,” a “vaginal tuck” or a “husband knot,” the husband stitch is a dubious medical procedure that began in the 1950s.
During labor, it’s possible to experience vaginal tearing.
A doctor may also perform an episiotomy, where they cut part of the perineum to accommodate delivery of the baby.
After birth, the doctor will repair the tear or episiotomy with stitches.
A “husband stitch” meaning is an extra stitch sewn into a woman’s vaginal opening beyond what’s needed to repair a tear or episiotomy.
It makes the vaginal opening smaller.
Let’s not mince words: the husband stitch is a type of female genital mutilation, done to (supposedly) increase vaginal tightness and enhance male sexual pleasure.
Does a husband stitch make you tighter?
No, a husband stitch doesn’t make the vagina tighter.
This isn’t possible with stitching.
Vaginal tone is related to pelvic floor strength.
You can work on this with things like Kegel pelvic floor exercises.
Instead, the husband stitch makes the opening to the vagina smaller.
As a result, husband stitch side effects can include painful sex, infections, longer recovery time after birth, general pain and discomfort.
Can I request a husband stitch?
Due to the possible side effects and complications, a doctor (acting ethically) shouldn’t perform a husband stitch.
The point of getting stitches after childbirth is to repair natural tears or surgical cuts.
It isn’t to reduce the size of the vaginal opening.
We know decreased vaginal muscle tone can be a problem for some mamas, though (particularly after multiple births).
Some doctors offer procedures called “vaginoplasty” or “vaginal rejuvenation,” meant to restore vaginal tone.
But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is skeptical about these procedures.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is usually the best starting point if you’re experiencing any vaginal or pelvic floor issues after giving birth.
A physical therapist can give you exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Also, know that it is very normal for your sexual relationship with your partner to change after having children.
It’s more than OK to speak to your doctor or a therapist if you have questions about your sex life after birth.
Is the husband stitch legal in the USA?
So, is the husband stitch legal?
The short answer is no.
A husband stitch (which is different from medically necessary stitches after birth) is considered medical malpractice.
If a doctor performs this procedure without a woman’s permission, it’s medical negligence.
Given all the possible side effects, the practice goes against surgical principles of healing and consent.
You may be entitled to compensation if you suspect you’ve had a husband stitch without your consent.
To pursue this, contact a specialist legal firm (experienced in medical issues), who can advise.
Can a husband stitch be reversed?
There’s limited medical research on whether a husband stitch can be reversed.
Equally, there isn’t reliable data to answer the question, how common is the husband stitch?
Thankfully, it’s rare in the USA and Europe, though — so don’t let the thought of this get in the way of a confident birth.
If you’re worried about a husband stitch after childbirth, speak to a trusted healthcare professional.
In some cases, it’s possible for women to be “re-cut” and stitched up again to reverse a husband stitch.
Sadly, if a woman hasn’t realized they’ve had a husband stitch, this can mean years of excruciating pain during sex or problems with future births.
Can I sue my doctor for giving me a husband stitch?
As we’ve discussed, a husband stitch is medical malpractice.
So you can sue your doctor if they’ve done this without your consent.
In the US, when anyone suffers mutilation or discomfort due to healthcare errors, they have the right to seek compensation.
This results in a medical malpractice claim, which can lead to a lawsuit.
Talk to a trusted midwife or healthcare professional and gather all your hospital records before starting a claim.
We know this is a sensitive topic, mama!
You’re not alone.
If you need support, check out the Peanut community.
No topic is off-limits.