Husband stitch

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The husband stitch or husband's stitch,[1] also known as the daddy stitch,[2] husband's knot and vaginal tuck,[3] is a surgical procedure in which one or more sutures than necessary are used to repair a woman's perineum after it has been torn or cut during childbirth.[a] The claimed purpose is to tighten the opening of the vagina and thereby enhance the pleasure of her male sex partner during penetrative intercourse.[4] Evidence for benefits is lacking.[1]

Medical perspective[edit]

While repair of the perineum may be medically necessary, an extra stitch is not, and may cause discomfort or pain.[2][5] Use of the term in the medical literature can be traced to Transactions of the Texas State Medical Association in 1885.[b] There is also a reference to it in What Women Want to Know (1958), a book co-written by an American gynaecologist.[c]

It appears that no studies exist to determine whether the procedure occurs and how many women have been affected beyond anecdotal evidence.[8] Many medical practitioners assert that reports about the procedure being an urban legend are false.[2] One writer suggests that it might be a joke made by men to relieve tension after their partners have given birth.[2] However, there are several accounts of women who claim to have undergone this procedure without their consent.[8][9]

Popular culture[edit]

A short story by Carmen Maria Machado, "The Husband Stitch", first published in 2014 by Granta, describes a woman undergoing the procedure.[10]


  1. ^ "Vaginal tightening surgery has been around since the mid fifties, where gynecologists used to tighten the entrance of a woman's vagina with an extra stitch while repairing vaginal and perineum tears or episiotomies after giving birth. At that time it was notoriously known as the 'husband's stitch', the 'husband's knot', or the 'vaginal tuck', and doctors discreetly referred to this procedure as 'improving a woman's well-being'."[3]
  2. ^ "Dr. Geo. Cupples was called upon to explain the 'Husband Stitch,' which he did as follows: He said that when he was stitching up a ruptured perineum, of a married lady, the husband was an anxious and interested observer, and when he had taken all the stitches necessary, the husband peeped over his shoulders and said, 'Dr., can't you take another stitch?' and he did, and called it the 'Husband Stitch'."[6]
  3. ^ "Such a problem confronted a colleague of mine, whose pregnant patient asked him before delivery if he would please put in what she referred to as 'her husband's stitch'. It turned out that she wanted him to tighten up her vagina somewhat, so that it would revert to its original state. The doctor took her at her word and, following delivery of her fourth baby, performed a perineorrhaphy. This operation has the effect of tightening the sphincter and rendering the introitus somewhat smaller.
    "Unhappily, the patient and her husband decided that the 'stitch' had been made too tight, was unsatisfactory, and sued the doctor for malpractice, asking something in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand dollars. The doctor won his case, though not without difficulty, and it was a genuine legal battle despite the humorous implications of the issue."[7]


  1. ^ a b Kitzinger, Sheila (1994). The Year After Childbirth (1st ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0192177841.
  2. ^ a b c d Vinopal, Lauren (17 August 2017). "Who's Afraid of the 'Husband Stitch'? New Moms Everywhere". Fatherly. Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b Dobbeleir, Julie M. L. C. L.; Van Landuyt, Koenraad; Monstrey, Stan J. (May 2011). "Aesthetic surgery of the female genitalia". Seminars in Plastic Surgery. 25 (2): 130–41. doi:10.1055/s-0031-1281482. PMC 3312147. PMID 22547970.
  4. ^ Braun, Virginia; Kitzinger, Celia (January 2001). "The perfectible vagina: Size matters". Culture, Health & Sexuality. 3 (3): 263–277. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/13691050152484704. S2CID 143982758.
  5. ^ Ritschel, Chelsea (29 January 2018). "The 'Husband Stitch' During Episiotomy Repair is a Disturbing Reality for Many New Mothers". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  6. ^ Transactions of the Texas State Medical Association. Seventeenth Annual Session. Houston, Texas: Texas State Medical Association. 21–23 April 1885.
  7. ^ Imerman, Harold M.; Dewey, Thomas Blanchard (1958). What Women Want to Know: A Noted Gynecologist's Guide to the Personal Problems of Women's Health. New York: Crown. p. 134.
  8. ^ a b Murphy, Carrie (24 January 2018). "The Husband Stitch Isn't Just a Horrifying Childbirth Myth". Healthline. Archived from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  9. ^ Halton, Mary (26 April 2018). "The 'Husband Stitch' Leaves Women in Pain and Without Answers". Vice.
  10. ^ Machado, Carmen Maria (28 October 2014). "The Husband Stitch". Granta. Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.

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