How to Prevent Tearing During Childbirth
One of the things I hear the most from women when we talk about labor, is the fear of tearing during childbirth. It is the not knowing how bad you will tear, the pain you might feel from it. I truly understand that fear. Almost 90% of all women will experience vaginal tearing during childbirth. These tips below can help you to prevent tearing. It is not a guarantee.
Disclaimer: Let me just say tearing during childbirth, is not bad. It is normal and like I said above happens to so many of us. These tips can just help you to possibly prevent it.
Finding the right doctor: You need to make sure to find the right doctor for you and your baby. Some doctors are not open to certain things so make sure you have an idea of the way you want to have your labor and birth and see if your doctor is comfortable with it. Make sure to ask your care provider questions, to get a feel for how they take care of patience. Ask their opinion on natural tears versus episiotomies. You might decide to try a midwife, they have a lower rate for patience tearing during labor. You just have to do what feels right for you and your child at the end of the day.
Kegels: Make sure that during your pregnancy your are doing your kegels. You need your pelvic floor to be as strong as it can be, and kegels are a pelvic floor exercise. It strengthens those muscles so it gives you the strength to push your baby out. My doctor told me when I was pregnant it can help the pushing process go faster, because the stronger you are the quicker it can go.
Perineal Massage: If you have never heard of this, that is okay. Perineal massage is “massaging” the vulva/vagina/perineum during pregnancy to pre-stretch mom’s perineum before birth. It is a good idea to do a perineal massage, it has been known to help reduce tearing in mothers in their first vaginal birth. This stretching and opening your pelvic floor and helps reduce pelvic trauma during labor. Your nurse or doctor can teach you how to do this if you want to do this during your pregnancy. Your health care provider can also do the massage during the pushing stages of labor. Just make sure to talk to your doctor ahead of time to ensure they will do this for you.
Hire a Doula: Having a doula for labor is something you see so much these days. A doula can really help relieve stress and tension during labor. They are very knowledgeable and will help teach you different positions to be in during labor and methods to keep you relaxed. Their job is to help you have this baby the easiest and calmest way you can.
Pushing Positions: Finding a good pushing position during labor is a great way to help from tearing. Now you need to ensure your doctor is okay with trying different positions. Some hospitals require you to just lay on your back and push.
Here are some great positions
- Being on all fours, on hands and knees.
- Lying on your side.
- Squatting or kneeling. just don’t have your knees to far apart if you are in this position. That can cause you to tear easier. If you have a doula they can teach you the right form.
Warm Compress During Labor: If your doctor allows, they can apply a warm cloth when your baby is crowning. The warmth of the compress is said to increase blood flow to the area, which can help prevent tearing. It is also said the pressure can feel very relieving for the mom.