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One common concern when planning for childbirth/delivery is tearing and most importantly how to prevent tearing during childbirth.
For first time moms it can be a nerve-wracking thing and if you are a veteran mom you know what it is like and want to avoid it happening again. The good news is that there are some things you can do to prepare yourself and minimize the chances of tearing during childbirth.
Here’s how to prevent tearing during childbirth:
Birthing positions –
In general, it is best to listen to your body and use a delivery position that your body feels comfortable in. If you get an epidural you will be limited to delivering on your back, but if you choose to have a natural labor you have more control in your position.
Try to get on your hands and knees or in a side position since these positions don’t put a lot of pressure on your bottom. They can also decrease pain during contractions. Some also prefer a squatting position and then switch to all fours when the baby’s head is crowning.
Some hospitals or birthing centers will offer the option of a waterbirth. The warm water can help relax you and your muscles which can help prevent tearing during childbirth.
If you prefer not to have a water birth, you can just do soak in a warm bath or take a warm shower during labor which can be a natural pain reliever as well as relaxing the vaginal area.
Perineal massage –
This involves massaging the vagina/perineal area in a gentle but firm way in order to decrease the chances of tearing. It relaxes the pelvic muscles and preps them for the delivery process.
You can use natural oils like coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, or almond oil to massage the area. These act as a lubricant to reduce friction. You can do this several times a week starting from around the 34th – 35th week of pregnancy.
Warm Compresses –
Soak soft sterile towels in warm water and use them as a warm compress. This relaxes your perineal muscles and can really help during delivery. Keep a stack of washcloths ready for when you would need more fresh, clean ones.
Eating healthy and keeping hydrated –
Eating healthy food like fruits and vegetables and drinking lots of water will boost your skin’s elasticity, and is one of the best ways to prevent tearing during childbirth.
Water also helps in speeding up muscle recovery during postpartum.
Kegels/ pelvic floor exercises –
there are various kegel exercises you can do to prepare your muscles for the big day. It involves tightening and relaxing the muscles in your vagina that can help with the recovery.
You can also learn to relax your muscles for when the baby enters the birth canal. Working out your pelvic floor muscles can also help relieve lower back pain and bladder leakage – a win-win!
You can always consult your doctor if you need help on how to do these exercises.
Walking helps strengthen your pelvic muscles and widen your hips. Doing daily walks can also help lower the baby to the birth canal due to gravity. A natural labor inducer, walking is a great exercise to do. Just make sure you go at your own pace and don’t get your heart rate high enough that you can’t talk through it.
Water aerobics –
Aside from working out your pelvic muscles helping to lower your baby, aqua aerobics can also help reduce inflammation and pain in the lower body.
If you haven’t been swimming yet while pregnant. Go now! The weightlessness of the water helps relieve so much pressure.
Warm baths –
You can take sitz baths or a normal warm (not hot!) bath, which is also soothing and relaxing for your perineal muscles. The goal here is to get your perineal muscles as relaxed as possible in order to prevent tearing during childbirth.
Listen to your doctor or midwife to push correctly –
This is important to remember, especially for new moms. During labor, when to push and how to push can make a big difference in preventing a tear down there.
Pushing too early can increase the chances of a rupture. A slow delivery is better since it allows your vaginal muscles to gradually expand in order to accommodate the size of your baby.
It is better to do deep pushes that work with your contractions. Once the baby starts to crown, you can then do shorter pushes to help get the baby out.
Breathe, relax, and don’t panic –
Taking deep breaths can help relax your muscles, especially when they are already getting tensed during the labor process. Breathing can also help you get through the pain so it’s really important to remember this. It’s tough to stay relaxed during delivery of course (unless you have an epidural – then it is much much easier), but it is important to not panic and try to be calm as much as possible.
I tore with my first baby and the recovery was ouchie, to say the least. So, when I found out I was pregnant with #2 I immediately started researching how to prevent tearing during childbirth. Hopefully, these tips will help you so you don’t tear during your delivery.
Have a tip that helped you prevent tearing during childbirth?