Unfortunately tearing can be a very normal part of the birth process. There are loads of things that you can do to try and reduce the likelihood or the severity of tearing, the more you know; the better you can prepare yourself and your body to birth your baby comfortably.
Here are a few tips to prevent tearing during birth-
-Using the body’s natural urge to ‘push’ and allowing baby’s head to come out and then back in a little, over and over again, gently stretching the tissues and allowing the blood and oxygen to return to it in-between surges, maintaining the health of the tissues.
-Birthing in water, with the water providing counter pressure to prevent significant tearing. Some studies suggest that more severe tears (3rd and 4th degree) may be more common in water, this may because of long periods spent in the water making tissues less elastic.
-Perineal massage, although studies into this can vary in findings, if nothing else, we feel the benefit mentally is a great one, feeling like you’ve prepped as much as you can if tearing worries you.
-Hypnobirthing! Get informed about birth, prepare your mind and body and get ready to relax into the birth of your baby. Reducing the tension in your body and optimising your birth position will help reduce tears. Our online course has everything you need to prepare positively for any time of birth, be it home birth, induction or caesarean birth!
Although tearing may not be on your birth wish list, let us reassure you that it’s not as bad as you think! When you think of tearing you’re imagining it happening right now! During birth the cocktail of hormones helping us to birth our baby also help to reduce the sensations of tearing. Most people don’t notice until afterwards!
The great thing about tearing is that the tissues heal back together so quickly, as we said it’s a perfectly normal part of birth and the body is ready to heal itself! This tissues around your vulva and perineum are filled with oxygenated blood and are mucous membranes, like the inside of your mouth. This helps them to heal quickly after birth. Almost as if the body is well prepared for this!
Many people choose to let first and second degree tears heal naturally and find that everything goes back exactly as it was compared to stitched tears often feeling more restricted. Most tears can be stitched up in the same location that the birth happened, including at home. More severe tears may require a transfer to theatre.
Tips for during the healing process-
-Find a recipe for padsicles and get someone to make some for you. Alcohol free witch hazel is a must!
-Use a little jug to pour warm water over your bits as you wee, or run a shallow bath and wee in it. This prevent undiluted wee from stinging your bits!
-Sit on a doughnut cushion to stop anything pressing against your bits whilst your sitting on the sofa under a baby (which will be a hell of a lot!)
Got anymore tips for sore vulvas?