How to Prevent Tearing During Childbirth

How to Prevent Tearing During Childbirth | Baby Chick

How to Prevent Tearing During Childbirth

A lot of women are fearful when it comes to labor and childbirth. It’s the unknown and the unexpected that gets them. This is normal, which is sad to say, but I totally understand this fear. For me, what I’m afraid of during childbirth is tearing. And I’m not alone when it comes to this. Around 90% of all women experience vaginal tearing during childbirth — which isn’t a great number for us. I’ve had a lot of clients express this same fear to me during their pregnancies so I thought sharing some tips on how to help prevent tearing might help. I will say that it can be very difficult to avoid tearing, but there are some things that women can do to reduce their chances.

*Disclaimer: I’d like to mention that there is nothing wrong with tearing during birth. This is normal and it happens to the majority of women during childbirth. However, if this is something that you are hoping to minimize and (hopefully) eliminate from your birthing experience, here are 12 tips that can help.

1. Eat Right & Exercise

You may be wondering how your diet and exercise can help with minimizing vaginal tearing during childbirth. But it’s true that good nutrition, hydration and exercise can help improve your skin and muscle health as well as your circulation and skin elasticity. A lot of us don’t do regular exercise and sometimes this comes to a complete halt when we are pregnant. But labor is a marathon and pushing requires endurance, flexibility and strength. It’s important to get your body moving to help improve your blood flow which in turn improves your skin’s elasticity.

Also, having sex and orgasms are helpful since it can help improve your blood flow from your perineum to your vagina as well as improve your tissue health. So keep that passion and love alive!

2. Choose Your Care Provider & Birth Location Wisely

Having gone to hundreds of births myself, I have seen how many different doctors and midwives work during the pushing stage. I also notice how the place you choose to give birth can affect your birth’s outcome. Some care providers are more aggressive and instructive during pushing and others are more patient and gentle. Get to know your care provider and ask him/her questions about how they assist their patients when they are pushing. Ask what their opinion is on natural tearing versus episiotomies, what their episiotomy rate is as well as the support techniques they use. (For example, warm compresses, perineal massage, positioning, etc.) Generally midwives have a significantly lower rate of clients tearing and cutting episiotomies.

3. Do Your Kegel Exercises

You may think that Kegels are counter-productive when it comes to preparing for birth, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, you need your pelvis and vagina to be relaxed and open during the second stage of labor, however, you also need pelvic floor strength to help baby descend and deliver. Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) help strengthen those muscles which give you the strength to push your baby out. However, Kegels should be accompanied with squats since together they will improve the lengthening and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles. If you do not practice relaxing your pelvic floor, lengthening those muscles while working on your strength, then that won’t help.

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4. Practice Perineal Massage

Your body has never pushed out a baby before so it’s good idea to prepare your perineum for this type of stretching. You can do that by doing perineal massage. Perineal massage during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of tearing in mothers having their first vaginal birth. By stretching and opening your pelvic floor and vagina before birth, this can prepare your body for what’s to come and reduce pelvic trauma. Perineal massage can also be done by your care provider during the pushing stage to help stretch your perineum as your baby’s head is descending.

5. Get an Epi-No

I’m actually a BIG fan of Epi-Nos. Too bad that are not sold in the US because they are not FDA approved. Which I find absolutely ridiculous. It has been proven in studies to be beneficial in decreasing damage to the perineum during vaginal childbirth. What woman wouldn’t want one? I have had several clients purchase them while they were overseas or have had friends ship it to them and I will say, they really do help. All of these women either had either very minimal tearing or no tearing at all. If you can get one, I recommend it.

6. Get a Doula

Yes, hiring a doula is also a great way to reduce your chances of tearing. A doula helps relieve stress and tension during labor. The more tension you hold, the more likely you will tear. She helps you move into different positions during labor and pushing and she uses different methods to help you stay relaxed and strong.

7. Avoid an Epidural

Studies have shown that women who don’t get pain meds during labor are more likely to have their perineum intact after giving birth. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, an epidural prevents you from assuming the best positions for giving birth. You are limited to only pushing on your back or maybe your side. Secondly, a great majority of women who receive epidurals are unable to feel what is happening in their bodies and do not have the urge to push. They then have to rely on their doctor, nurse, doula, partner telling them when to push and how to push even though their body may not be ready. These two reasons are major risk factors for tearing.

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8. Labor in Water

For most people, taking a nice warm bath or shower are the perfect places to help your body and mind fully relax. The same is true when you are pregnant and in labor. There are so many benefits to laboring in the water and one of them is that it can help soften the perineal tissues. Not only that, laboring in water while in transition and during pushing can also ease the sensation of the baby’s decent and the crowning stage.

9. Get into Good Pushing Positions

The position you are in while you are pushing could determine whether or not you will tear. To minimize the chances of tearing, the best positions are:

  • On all fours, on hands and knees.
  • Leaning forward in a supported standing, kneeling, or sitting position
  • Lying on your side.

Squatting and kneeling are also great pushing positions, however, if the woman’s knees are too far apart the perineum will be stretched sideways and may increase the likelihood of tearing.

Ultimately, the best position while pushing is the position that your body chooses. Listen to your body and do what feels best and right for you.

10. Breathe More While You’re Pushing

As long as you and your baby are doing well, it’s encouraged that you breathe more during the pushing phase. Breathing helps stretch your pelvic floor and reduces tearing. When your baby is this low in your pelvis, you will feel the urge to push and bear down during each contraction. That is good and normal. But listen to your body. If it’s too much tension breathe through it and allow your body to stretch as your baby descends lower. You don’t have to push with all of your might while holding your breath in order to birth your baby. Actually, the faster your baby comes out, the less time your body has to stretch which then causes it to tear. Breathing with your contractions allows your baby to descend slowly and it will help you have less pelvic floor trauma

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11. Use Warm Compresses

When your baby is crowning, a warm compress held to the perineum can reduce tearing. The warmth of the compress increases the blood flow to that area and the counter pressure also can feel very relieving.

12. Avoid An Episiotomy

If you don’t know what an episiotomy is, it is a surgical cut made to the skin and muscle of the perineal area, to enlarge the vaginal opening. For some doctors they are a routine procedure on almost all patients. For other doctors it is done only when performing assisted births (for examples, using forceps or a vacuum).

Tearing naturally is a lot better than having an episiotomy for many reasons:

  1. The cut of the episiotomy increase the chances of the mother having a third or fourth degree tear. This happens because the baby’s head presses against that cut and causes it to tear deeper into the muscle.
  2. Tears heal better than episiotomies.
  3. Scar tissue from an episiotomy restrict the perineum’s ability to stretch which cause more tearing in future births.
  4. Episiotomies can cause infections, perineal trauma, urinary and fecal incontinence, and painful sex.

Try all of the points above to reduce your chances of tearing and having an episiotomy.

Are there any other points that you would include to this list that helped you?

About the Author /

Nina is The Baby Chick® & CEO of Baby Chick®. She is a baby planner, birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, newborn care specialist, and a mother. With over eight years of experience, she has supported hundreds of families during their pregnancies, births, and postpartum journeys.

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"30 hours of labor ended with an emergency C-secti "30 hours of labor ended with an emergency C-section... not what we planned but I learned pretty quickly that night that having a plan for bringing a human into the world is a fool's errand. All that mattered was that he got here safely. Having him in the middle of a global health crisis was also not in the baby prep books, but here we are. Holding him and healing my body in a maternity ward that's eerily quiet from us not being allowed visitors or family at this time, but strangely serene. All we hear are monitors beeping and the coos of our infant son. Maybe the sound of the 100th episode of The Office @ryanhurd and I have binged while in here. The admiration we have for the doctors, nurses + healthcare professionals that took care of Hayes & me during our stay cannot be measured in this post. They risked their health every day to make sure ours was okay. I can't think of anything more selfless than that. Ultimately, I can't thank every single mother enough for going through what you've gone through because I had NO idea how hard it could be, and I'm a measly 4 days in. The world is changing before our eyes and so am I. That's been a peaceful thing to cling to during these uncertain times. Thinking of you all. 🖤" - @marenmorris and her birth to her son Hayes Andrew Hurd 💕⁠
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Thankful that takeout is still available. 🙏 Thi Thankful that takeout is still available. 🙏 This is what self-care now looks like. 😂⁠
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📷: @scarymommy⁠
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Cool 😒⁠ .⁠ #coronavirus #covid19 #nsync #qu Cool 😒⁠
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❤️❤️❤️❤️⁠ Quote via @thismessygr ❤️❤️❤️❤️⁠
Quote via @thismessygrace 🙏
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Quarantine Day 5 . . . May your coffee be strong a Quarantine Day 5 . . . May your coffee be strong and your baby's nap be long. 🙏☕😴⁠
📷: @julieejacks⁠
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#coronavirus #covid19 #coffee #naptime #quarantine #quarantinelife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
😫😫😫⁠ .⁠ #coronavirus #covid19 #quaran 😫😫😫⁠
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#coronavirus #covid19 #quarantine #quarantinelife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
🏥 When is it Too Late to Change Your Doctor Dur 🏥 When is it Too Late to Change Your Doctor During Pregnancy? 👩‍⚕️⁠
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A major decision that you must make in your pregnancy is who is going to be your care provider to help you give birth to your baby. Are you going to go with your current OBGYN, are you going to look for a different OB, are you going to choose a midwife? Depending on where and how you want to give birth to your baby, this question and your options should become more clear. But if you're seeing some red flags pop up 🚩 with your current provider during your pregnancy, you might be wondering if it's too late to change your doctor.⁠ 😬 We're talking about it today on baby-chick.com! {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!}⁠
📷: @mamamatcha_⁠
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#pregnancy #pregnant #pregnancytip #momtobe #pregnancylife #pregnancyguide #mamatobe #firstpregnancy #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #preggo #pregnancybasics #pregnancyhelp #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick
🎶 Sunny day ☀️ Sweeping the clouds away ☁ 🎶 Sunny day ☀️ Sweeping the clouds away ☁️⁠
🎶 On my way to where the air is at best, questionably clean 😷⁠
🎶 Can you tell me how to get, how to get a COVID-19 screen?⁠
🎶 Don’t come over to play, everyone’s social distancing today 🚫⁠
🎶 Sketchy neighbors can stay at least 6 feet away? 🚷⁠
🎶 Can you tell me how to get, how to get a COVID-19 screen?⁠
📷: @howtobeadad⁠
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#coronavirus #covid19 #sesamestreet #quarantine #quarantinelife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
It'll be interesting to see how all of this change It'll be interesting to see how all of this changes us in the future. But for now, we are uniting #togetherapart. We are healing and our hope is we will then be stronger than ever. ❤️⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #covid19 #coronavirus #momlife #motherhood #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #healing #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
🧘‍♀️ How to Reset Your Motherhood Mindset 🧘‍♀️ How to Reset Your Motherhood Mindset⁠ 😊⁠
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Motherhood can be the most rewarding and amazing experience in the world. 😍 But, it can also be one of the hardest. 😖 It’s easy for the stress of mom life to become overwhelming. If you’re working, you somehow have to juggle a work schedule and job demands, in addition to fulfilling expectations at home. 🤹‍♀️ If you’re a stay-at-home mom, it can be all too easy to surround yourself with the pressures and stress of motherhood, and forget to ever come up for a breath. 😰 For me, when that stress starts to bubble over, it really affects my relationship with my husband and my kids. When I start to feel like this, I know it's time to reset my motherhood mindset.⁠ 🧘‍♀️ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!}⁠
Article by: Lisa Prosser⁠
📷: @liaeverette⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #resetmindset #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick #motherhoodmindset
When you have to suction their nose during cold an When you have to suction their nose during cold and flu season. 😂😷⁠
📷: @perfectionpending⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick #coldandflu #parentlife #toddlerlife
🧼 Cleaning Tips and Tricks for Busy Moms 🧹⁠
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As a busy mom, I have a whole lot going on at any given moment. 🤹‍♀️ Sometimes, I'm not able to keep my house as clean as I like. 😬 But I have found that I’m much happier when my house is clean and organized, so I try to dedicate some time to getting the job done. I’ve found that following these ten cleaning tips and tricks makes things much easier for a busy mom to maintain (and keeps a whole lot happier!).⁠ 🙌 {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading and see our tips!}⁠
Article by: @flake.lauren⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#adultlife #adulthood #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #cleaningtips #motherhoodunplugged #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick #cleanup #cleaning #cleaningmode #timetoclean #passionforcleaning #cleanyourhouse #healthyhome #springcleaning #housecleaning #howtoclean
I mean, can you blame us?! 😍😂⁠ 📷: @momf I mean, can you blame us?! 😍😂⁠
📷: @momfriendblog⁠
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#pinchmeimcute #stpatricksday #stpattysday #motherhood #momlife #motherhoodrising #mumlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick #babiesofig #lucky
Absolutely true. 💚🍀 Happy St. Patrick's Day! Absolutely true. 💚🍀 Happy St. Patrick's Day!⁠
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#motherhoodquote #motherhood #quotes #momlife #quoteoftheday #mumspiration #motherhoodrising #mumlife #inspiringquotes #stpatricksday #momfriends #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick #fourleafclover #lucky
☀️ Warm Weather Wardrobe Refresh 😎⁠ .⁠ ☀️ Warm Weather Wardrobe Refresh 😎⁠
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The temperatures are rising and Spring is almost here! If you're not sure how to transition things in your closet with the new season and you're looking for some pieces to welcome the warmer weather, we've got you covered. Consider this your warm-weather wardrobe refresh. 🙌 {Click 🔗 in bio for our tips and for new Spring pieces!}⁠
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#springishere #warmweatherwardrobe #springtime #springstyle #ootd #fashion #style #spring #springfashion #instafashion #instastyle #styleinspo #mommychick #babychick
Such a sweet pregnancy announcement. 😍 To all t Such a sweet pregnancy announcement. 😍 To all the lucky babies out there . . . you're magically a dream come true. 🌈💕⁠
📷: @isisallmiightyy⁠
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#pregnancy #pregnant #pregnancyannouncement #momtobe #pregnancylife #mamatobe #firstpregnancy #babybump #pregnancyjourney #firsttrimester #preggo #luckybaby #luckymama #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick
😧 Common Concerns of New Parents (And How to Ha 😧 Common Concerns of New Parents (And How to Handle Them)⁠ 👍⁠
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You waited months and months for this big moment. 🤰 The day you get to meet your bundle of joy and bring him or her home. 👶 Once you're home, you're quickly overtaken by common concerns many new parents have! Wondering how often you should be feeding your new baby? Did they tell you when your baby can have his or her first bath? 🤔⁠
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Don't worry. You're NOT alone! In fact, it's natural to be feeling a little unsure about this whole parenting thing right about now (I know I did!). 😬 So to help you out, we're going to break down some of the common concerns of new parents AND how to handle them!⁠ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!}⁠
Article by: @fitmommystrong⁠
📷: unknown (DM us for credit!)⁠
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#thisispostpartum #postpartum #postpartumlife #newparent #postpartumcare #postpartumcareplan #newborn #dailyparenting #honestlymothering #motherhoodunplugged #youarenotalone #motherhood #mothering #momlife #newmom #4thtrimester #fourthtrimester #postnatal #babychick #mommychick #motherhoodthroughinstagram #mumlife #mommylife #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣
I like to live on the wild side. 😎 In light of I like to live on the wild side. 😎
In light of the Coronavirus, we do hope that everyone is staying home and stay safe. While taking kids out in general can be crazy 🤪 this is not the time to be taking risks. We hope everyone is staying healthy and happy. 🙏💕
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
And to the person waiting for my parking spot, it’s definitely gonna take a while. 🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️⁠
📷: @emily.the.mom.next.door⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
And I sadly leave it looking like that for half of And I sadly leave it looking like that for half of the day 😬🙈😂⁠
📷: @themotheroctopus⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
"Becoming a parent will test you, change you, stre "Becoming a parent will test you, change you, stretch you beyond what you thought possible and we need all the help and support in the world . . .⁠
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Not just for them but for us too. ❤️⁠
THANK YOU to the fellow mamas and papas, never judging.⁠
The aunts and uncles, always helping.⁠
The grandparents, eagerly spoiling.⁠
The loved ones that stick with us.⁠
The saints that have been sent into our lives in ways we never expected.⁠
The stranger that helps when I'm about to lose it, amidst the kids going haywire in the grocery aisle.⁠
The friends we know and those we've never met . . .⁠
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YOU ARE THE TRIBE!"⁠
Words & 📷: @justamamma⁠
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#momstrong #motherhoodmoments #motherhoodquotes #motherhoodrising #motherhoodslens #stopdropandmom #momlifebelike #momlifeisthebest #motherhoodunplugged #momstrength #motherhoodintheraw #motherhoodjourney #toddlermom #babymom #newmom #realmomlife #babychick #mommychick #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #uniteinmotherhood⁣