“Vaginal tearing can’t be avoided 100%.” This statement often misleads first-time mamas into thinking it is an unavoidable thing that cannot be prevented.
But no. The truth is that you can do a lot to prevent vaginal tearing. Many things are in your control.
While it is an unfortunate truth that vaginal tearing happens a lot during childbirth ( happened to me all three times and I have the lovely, strange scars to prove it ) you can avoid this with some effort. Remember that there are 4 tearing levels from minor to severe.
Today, our goal is to arm you with practical tips that will help you to avoid severe tears.
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6 Ways to Prevent Vaginal Tearing During Childbirth
1. Do Perineal Massage to Soften the Tissues
You can help prepare your tissues for childbirth with a massage.
In this regard, perineal massage can’t be neglected. It softens the tissues to endure stretching at delivery time.
This elasticity drops the chances of severe tearing or episiotomy during vaginal delivery.
Experts advise starting perineal massage between 34-36 weeks of pregnancy.
Massaging 3-4 times a week for 5-10 minutes is good enough.
How to do Perineal Massage
- Wash your hands with a mild soap so they don’t cause any irritation inside the vagina.
- Find a relaxing position such as sitting with your legs open with bent knees.
- Apply a lubricant on your thumbs and insert them inside your vagina approximately three to four centimeters.
- Now, start stretching the vaginal opening gently but with enough force to feel pressure in your vagina. You should keep your thumbs in this stretched position for about 120 to 180 seconds.
- Afterward, move your thumbs outward and repeat the above-mentioned steps 2 times.
Natural organic oils such as olive and sunflower are better choices for perineal massage. If you can’t bear the smell of these oils then consider using water-based lubricants. However, avoid synthetic products at any cost.
Moreover, if you have a history of vaginal infections, consulting a doctor is a must before trying this method. Otherwise, it can cause yeast or bacterial infections.
2. Deliver In an Upright Position
Do you know changing your position can change the pelvis opening size? Neat right?
The key is to choose the position that can open your pelvis the most.
Upright is considered a safe and comfortable delivery position for both the active and second stages of labor. It helps you to avoid severe tearing during childbirth.
Upright positions bring stronger contractions as well, and that helps bring the baby down and reduce pain.
These benefits make the upright position your best choice for not only preventing tearing but having an easier birth in general.
It’s highly recommended to stay in that position as long as possible to speed things up and keep things going.
Tips to Practice Optimal Childbirth Positions
It’s recommended that you take a prenatal class like this one to help educate on childbirth positions as well as all other aspects of having a baby.
You will feel ready and secure once the big day arrives knowing how to best go about the whole process. It lends a sense of readiness and calm that you’ll need, believe me!
Here’s a great course created by a labor and delivery nurse I know. It only takes a few hours to take and you can do it in the comfort of your home.
Here’s a great course if you wanna check that out too!
3. Prepare to Push Gently
“Push, honey push.”
Till now you might have made up your mind that you need to exert much strength to push your baby out.
The chances are you have already started imagining yourself in a hyperventilating position or holding your breath during the labor and the credit for this goes to the movies.
So, what’s the solution?
You should aim to deliver your baby slowly and gently so that childbirth may cause only minimal tearing.
Obviously, this is only if your unique childbirth experience allows it. Some babies come fast and there’s not a thing in the world to do about that.
But to keep a slow and steady push ( when contracting ), you should keep practicing breathing exercises in your third trimester up until birth.
Along with keeping you focused, breathing helps relax the body and keep the oxygen supply up for healthy delivery.
There are many techniques but “destresser breath” can work in early, active, and final labor stages as well. All you need to do is inhale deeply from the nose for about 4 seconds and exhale long for 6 seconds through the mouth.
4. Use a Warm Compress during Birth
During labor, there’s a ton of pressure on the pubic bone. It feels crazy.
However, placing a warm compress can make you feel relaxed and increase your mobility.
It is a simple and effective measure to reduce the severity of tearing during childbirth.
Usually, the compress is soaked in warm water having a temperature of around 45-59-degree C.
Check the temperature with your hand before applying so that you don’t burn yourself and cause inflammation which could increase your chances of tearing.
Add this to your birthing plan also so that the staff will be able to accommodate your needs.
5. Eat Well To Nourish Your Skin And Tissues
Pregnancy demands extra care of your body.
In general, it is recommended to have a balanced diet for overall well-being.
This includes a reasonable portion of protein, carbs, fats, and fiber in your diet.
However, everybody’s body is different. Maybe, one expecting mama is suffering from iron deficiency and the other one has low calcium levels.
So, you need a customized diet to fulfill the needs of your body.
It is best to consult your doctor and even a professional nutritionist if you can to stay fit and healthy throughout pregnancy.
After all, you need energy and strong muscles to deliver your baby – especially perineal muscles.
Also taking an excellent prenatal like Ritual Vitamins Prenatal will help keep your tissues healthy and strong. It’s the ONLY prenatal we recommend here at This Little Nest because it’s the BEST.
Pro Tip – Eat Dates Regularly
In the middle of the third trimester, you should start eating foods that induce labor and speed up the childbirth process.
Date intake is extremely effective for this, believe it or not.
A study suggests that eating six dates per day (during late pregnancy days) can reduce the need for labor induction.
Moreover, faster cervical dilation is seen among women who regularly ate dates before labor – all leading to reduced chances of perineal tear.
6. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Just like healthy food, a reasonable increase in water intake is necessary during pregnancy.
Besides regulating other body functions, it helps increase your skin elasticity.
As a result, it lessens the chances of perineal tearing. Experts recommend drinking 8 to 12 cups of water every day.
To Wrap It Up
It is extremely important to prepare your body beforehand for easy labor.
That’s why we recommend you start practicing the above-mentioned tips as early as possible to avoid excess vaginal tearing during childbirth.
We wish you luck and happiness, mama!
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