A lot of tears can be shed throughout your pregnancy. However, shedding tears is different from tearing that you may encounter during your childbirth. Tears or lacerations of the perineum (the area between the genitals and anus) are categorized into first, second, third, or even fourth degrees of tearing that can affect your baby. There is a possibility that you can experience these kinds of tears during childbirth. Hence, we have given the following tips to avoid tearing during childbirth.
1. Prepare Your Body
You should prepare your body for delivery. Get some exercise because it improves circulation that improves skin elasticity. Along with that, keep a healthy diet by eating many vegetables; good nutrition and hydration can also support your muscle and skin health. These will provide your body with the ability to stretch during and after labor.
2. Pelvic Floor Exercises
To strengthen the pelvic muscles, it is advisable for pregnant women to do pelvic floor exercises, specifically Kegels. By squatting and doing pelvic exercises together, you are improving and lengthening the coordination of the pelvic floor muscles with the other muscles of your body.
3. Warm Water Labor
Warm water was sworn by midwives to soften the perineal tissues and soften the crowing stage. Feeling the warm water will help you relax, too.
4. Birth Position
Birth position can influence your tearing. To find the best position for your birthing, choose what position you are comfortable with. Or, if you are still troubled, you can consider:
- Lying on your side;
- Getting on all fours and leaning forward in a supported standing;
- Sitting; and
- Kneeling position.
Furthermore, these are the least stressful positions for your perineum.
5. Breathing Rather Than Pushing
Pushing with your body while holding your breath in order for the baby to come out reduces oxygen for you and your baby. Not only that, but instead of relaxing your muscles, you are tensing them. Having contractions doesn’t mean you need to let the baby out, so don’t push. Instead, breathe down together with your contraction to allow your baby to slowly descend and cause less trauma to your pelvic floor.
6. Warm Compress
Using a warm flannel or a warm compress during your crowning stage can reduce severe tearing to your perineum. This is because the warmth felt increases the blood flow, and if pressure is used, it can be very comforting.
7. Perineal Massage
Perineal massage can reduce the risk of tearing. This massage can help a woman be familiar with her body and be confident in its ability to stretch and give birth to her baby. Although this is not a must, it appears that it can reduce the risk of having an episiotomy. Episiotomies aggravate the risk of requiring stitches. Thus, the less risk of episiotomy means less risk of having a perineal trauma, too.
8. Avoid Episiotomy
To enlarge the vaginal opening, a surgical cut is made to the skin and the muscle of the perineal area. Believed to lessen the risk of tearing and the damage to both the mother and the baby, it is not guaranteed to protect the perineum. Instead, it might increase the chance of having a third or fourth degree of tearing.
The thought of giving birth may give you anxiety. Although the vagina is able to accommodate the baby, there is no guarantee that you are safe from tearing. Hence, if you are concerned about this matter, you can talk to a doctor or your health care provider to be aware of what you can do and what aid they can offer. Furthermore, you can also refer to these tips before labor.