After years of painful sex, this 23-year-old mom discovered she once had a “husband stitch” without her consent


After years of painful sex, this 23-year-old mom discovered she once had a "husband stitch" without her consent

Ever heard of the “husband stitch” or “daddy stitch”? It refers to when doctors sew a person’s perineum with extra stitches after childbirth — making the opening of the vagina “tighter” during sex.


It is called “husband stitch” because its main purpose is generally considered to be a benefit to the sexual partner.

“Husband stitch” isn’t a procedure with an approved medical name, and some people don’t know they’ve received one until it’s already occurred — or even that there’s a slang name for it.

One of those people is TikTok user Hannah (@hannahhhleigh_). The 23-year-old recently discovered – after years of pain and a sudden realization – that she once sewed a husband.

In the video, Hannah shares how she saw another video on TikTok of a woman explaining what a husband stitch is and “it all made sense” as she reflected on her own postpartum experience. Hannah explains, “I gave birth to my son…in 2019 on a military base in the hospital. I had a second degree tear in my son – it’s common. Anyway, they’ll have to stitch you up after the tear, right. “Well, I was stitched, nothing was said to me.” She adds, “I went to my six-week postpartum check-up, and they said everything was fine After getting permission to have sex with her husband again, Hannah says, “I noticed that when we [had sex]it was extremely uncomfortable and even painful at times.”

Screenshots of a TikTok by user hannahhhleigh_

When she presented it to her OB-GYN, she was told it was normal and that her “hormones were out of whack” and she just needed to use “extra lube.”

Hannah says, “I’m a first-time mom… I just accepted the suggestion and I was like, ‘Okay, this has to be normal.’ I suffered with the pain and discomfort for two years.” After the move, she saw a new gynecologist in preparation for the birth of her second child. During Hannah’s Pap smear, the new gynecologist examined Hannah before asking if she had “problems.” have to insert something into her.

@hannahhhleigh_ / Via

Hannah then explained her struggles of the past two years. Hannah says in the video: “You [the OB-GYN] was like, ‘I know why you’re having these problems. It’s clear as day: you got stitches wrong.’” Hannah says her new gynecologist explained that the opening to her vagina was much smaller than it should be and there was a lot of scar tissue. While Hannah clarifies that the OB-GYN didn’t specifically tell her that she had a husband stitch, she expresses confusion at how her problem was not recognized beforehand.

Screenshots of a TikTok by user hannahhhleigh_

Hannah explains that after watching the video on TikTok and recognizing herself in the experience, she realized she had gotten a husband sting.

Hannah adds that after the birth of her second child and renewed tears, her new OB-GYN was able to remove the unnecessary scar tissue and sew her up properly. Hannah adds that she hasn’t had any problems since.

After watching the original video, which made her realize her husband had previously had stitches, Hannah says, “[When I] figured out that what happened to me has a name and I’ve seen all the horror stories about how it happened, the way it happened to me, unknowingly [and] without [my] Agree… like, that’s scary.”

@hannahhhleigh_ / Via

Hannah’s original video has 2.4 million views, 103,600 likes, and a comments section full of people sharing their own thoughts and feelings about the husband stitch.

The comment section on a video by hannahhhleigh_

I spoke to Hannah, who added that in addition to aches and pains during sex, she also struggled with everyday activities like inserting a tampon and even sitting down. She said, “It took me a long time to heal after giving birth…I know that can be normal right after giving birth, but it took quite a while after that.”

Hannah said that after her previous doctor told her her pain and discomfort was normal, she was actually comforted when the second gynecologist explained that something was wrong. Hannah said, “I was very relieved to finally get an answer and a solution to the problem.”

A Pap smear test in a gynecologist's office

Jodi Jacobson/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Describing how she kept watching the TikTok video about the husband stitch, Hannah explained, “I was honestly in total shock. Neither my husband nor I knew this was even a thing, let alone was common or had a name. I watched the video probably 10 times and compared what she said to my previous situation in complete disbelief.”

A pregnant person holds her stomach in a hospital bed

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For more context, I spoke to Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale Medical School. Minkin said that while the term “husband stitch” is slang, it’s not necessarily a new term — she’d heard the term as a resident in the late ’70s.

Mary Jane Minkin stands in front of a framed New York Times article on a wall showing her

dr Mary Jane Minkin

Minkin said that in her experience, the term referred to a single extra stitch at the tip of a vagina given to a patient after an episiotomy — a surgical cut at the opening of the vagina to aid in delivery — to tighten the vagina . She said: “It was called the husband stitch because it was thought that after a couple of children the husband wouldn’t enjoy sex as much. So they would make it a little extra tight for his benefit.”

A pregnant person lies on an operating table

After a patient’s episiotomy, or even after a normal tear during childbirth, Minkin pointed out, the goal is to bring the patient’s vagina back as close as possible to the anatomy it had before the tear. She said the purpose is “to put the vagina together and give it good support. You want to make it tight enough for the patient to be comfortable, but not make anything too tight.”

Fatcamera/Getty Images

Because the vagina naturally stretches during childbirth, Minkin said she’s had patients who specifically ask to be sewn tighter, typically after they’ve had a few children. However, she added that in the case of the husband’s stab, “the main benefit is for the partner.” Minkin said it’s important to let your doctor know if you experience any pain or discomfort.

A pregnant woman talks to her doctor

Petri Oeschger/Getty Images

Hannah said she thought about sharing her experience on TikTok for a while, but finally made up her mind, “If I had an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue, I should take it, even if it meant being vulnerable.” She added that she was stunned by the number of views and comments the video received, saying, “I had such a small platform at the time that it was definitely not expected.”

The practice of a gynecologist

One of the most common questions Hannah has received from commenters is if she’s ever confronted the doctor who she said stitched her husband up in the first place, but Hannah said she never thought about it. She explained: “This happened in Alaska almost three years ago now. We got on with our lives. I’m just glad it was fixed and I’m no longer suffering from it.”

Jazzirt/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hannah also encouraged others who feel like they are struggling with a similar issue to speak up for themselves, stating, “You are your best advocate because you know your body best. If your OB, GP, etc. aren’t listening to your concerns, get a second opinion. Hell, get a third, fourth, or fifth opinion if you must. Pain is not normal and you shouldn’t have to live with it.”

You can keep up with Hannah on her TikTok and with Minkin on her educational website here.

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