Expectant mothers are usually concerned about the vaginal tearing that happens during the birthing process. This is one of the negative effects of a normal delivery that can leave you sore and hurting, after going through entire labor, pushing and delivery phases. Unfortunately, it happens a lot many times, but it is possible to reduce the chances of vaginal tearing, by taking some precautions beforehand. Here’s what to expect during vaginal birth.
Why tearing happens?
Vaginal or perineal tears happen when the child is being pushed out during vaginal delivery and the vagina doesn’t stretch enough or the child’s head is too big to stretch. First-time expecting moms are most likely expected to have vaginal tears, because the tissues in the vaginal area are not flexible enough. Women who are overweight may also be susceptible to tears. If you push too fast, without giving a chance for the tissues to prepare and become flexible, you may tear yourself. In case, if your delivery required the help of forceps or vacuum, you have chances of vaginal tearing.
When pushing, the vagina naturally stretches itself enough for the child to pass, but sometimes when it cannot, tears happen. It may not be possible to avoid the tears in all cases, but you may try and reduce the chances.
Measures to reduce vaginal tearing
- When it’s time for you to push, take control and avoid pushing too fast with too much exertion. Try and push slowly, in a controlled manner, so that the tissues have time to become flexible and stretch just right for the baby.
- When you are pushing, applying a warm compress to your perineum is known to reduce the chances of tearing. You may take the help of your birthing assistant with this.
- Choosing not to lie down during delivery is helpful in minimising the pressure on the perineum and avoiding tears. You may sit upright or on your knees or sideways; whichever position you find comfortable, with the guidance of your birthing assistant.
- A few weeks before the end of your third trimester, your doctor may suggest you to massage your perineum everyday for a few minutes. Massing the perineal base with a natural oil such as almond or olive oil on a regular basis is known to make it soft and flexible. You should do this only if your doctor recommends it, otherwise any pre-existing condition may pose a problem.