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How to Prevent Tearing During Labour

Tearing during labour can be a common problem and many expectant mums are eager to know how to prevent tearing during labour. Firstly it is important to consider your risk factors as there are certain conditions that mean that you are more likely to suffer a perineal tear during birth. If it is your first baby or if you have given birth a number of times but suffered third or fourth degree tearing before then you could be at an increased risk. If you know that your baby is likely to be big this doesn’t necessarily mean tearing is more probable.  Lots of good perineal massage gels or vitamin E oil on the market with proven results.

There are also risk factors associated with the birth such as if you need intervention like forceps or if you spend a lengthy amount of time in the pushing stage. You can’t always predict what will happen when you give birth, however good perineal care and a structured birth plan can help to prevent tearing during birth. Tears can be painful and can also put you at risk of a perineum infection so it’s a really good idea to have a think about preventative measures before your labour begins.

Pre-Birth Perineal Care

There are actually quite a few things you can do before you give birth to help your perineum. Perineal massage is becoming increasing popular as women seek to prevent tearing during labour and post birth perineal pain. According to the NCT perineal massage in the weeks leading up to the birth has been proven to reduce perineal tearing during birth. It is a simple process and can be done by yourself or your partner. Using a natural non scented massage oil such as vitamin E oil, massage it into the perineum skin. Then place your fingers inside your vagina and press down towards your anus and move in a stretching movement. Hold this for between 30 seconds to one minute then release and repeat.


Some women also look to other holistic methods to help prevent tearing during labour. Certain yoga poses are said to help with flexibility and hypnobirthing techniques to help women relax during their labour are also popular with women and their partners. You can learn about these techniques by attending pre-natal hypnobirthing classes or listening to a hypnobirthing CD whilst in labour.


A natural birth plan

Statistics also show that if a woman feels relaxed during her labour and has minimal interventions then she is less likely to suffer from perineal tearing during labour. If you have an epidural, or forceps are used during the birth you are more likely to experience tearing and perineal pain.  Having an episiotomy (a perineum cut) can also increase your risk of tearing.

Giving birth in a standing or crouching position can help to prevent tearing during birth as the gravitational pull helps the baby to move down the birth canal more easily.  Many women therefore put in their birth plan that they want an active birth and do not want any medical intervention unless necessary.

Thinking about your pre-natal perineal care is really important. Perineal tear healing can take a long time and stiches can cause perineal pain. If you suffer from a tear then you may also suffer from a perineal infection which requires additional treatment and can be painful and unpleasant. By using our tips on how to prevent tearing during labour you can reduce your chances of perineal tearing and go into your birthing experience feeling positive and relaxed.

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