Scared to give birth? Terrified of all the crazy stories you heard about people tearing down there? Yup, tearing happens, and it’s completely normal! However, with certain habits, you can help reduce tearing during labor.
Let’s be honest.
Almost all women are scared of giving birth the first time, especially with all the horror stories floating around the internet. Personally, giving birth never scared me. However, thinking of tearing during labor made me squirm and cringe.
So let’s just say I became a little too obsessed with the topic of “how not to tear during labor”. But hey, it worked! It helped calm my nerves, I was able to try and prevent any tearing, and in the end not tear during labor one tiny bit!
But what use is good knowledge if you don’t share it? Well, that’s what I’m here for. So continue reading to find all the ways on how you can reduce tearing during labor.
How to Reduce Tearing During Labor in 8 Easy and Natural Ways:
- Perineal Massage
- Use Water
- Use Warm, Wet Towels
- Use Gravity
- Push When you are REALLY Ready
- Gentle and Slow
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Essential Oils
Enough of the intro, let’s dive right into the easy and natural ways you can prevent any tearing during labor!
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
1. Perineal Massage
Don’t cringe at the thought of getting down there with your hands to prepare your birth canal for pushing out your baby. The practice of perineal massage helps prepare your body for delivery and may even reduce your chances of tearing.
What is perineal massage?
It is a practice where you use your fingers to gently stretch out your birth canal. Most women start this a few weeks before their due date to gently and slowly prepare their bodies for giving birth.
Is it helpful?
A 2013 review of studies featured in The Cochrane Collaboration noted that women who practiced this type of massage were 9 percent less likely to experience perineal trauma that required sutures and 16 percent less likely to have to endure an episiotomy. (1)
Even though this may not sound too convincing, perineal massage is most helpful for first-time moms and women over 30. For first time moms, tearing and requiring episiotomies are more common than in other women or pregnancies. Practicing perineal massage can cut that chance of tearing in half for first-time moms.
So, if you are comfortable enough to get down there, make sure to give it a go!
Interested in how to properly and safely practice perineal massage? Check out this blog post for more information on how to reap the maximum benefits and do it safely and properly.
2. Use Water
Labouring and even giving birth in a warm water bath can have huge benefits on you and your baby. It has been found to help ease the pain of labor, shorten labor, decrease chances of infections, and reduce your chances of tearing.
The water acts as a softener to your perineum, causing it to become more elasticized and relaxed, reducing the risks of tearing.
You also may find that the famously named “ring of fire” (when the baby’s head passes through) may be eased through applying water or being in a bathtub.
Although not proven, water births can make a significant difference in reducing a woman’s chances of tearing. And if you were wanting a water birth anyways, this may just be another added benefit!
3. Warm, Wet Towels
Placing warm, wet towels on your perineum when your little one is being born helps to soften the skin when it stretches.
When my midwife did this, it felt so nice and even seemed to relieve the burning sensation I had before.
The concept is like the labouring in water above, however, you are labouring on land (most likely in a bed) and are using wet towels instead of bathwater.
So if a water labor is not an option, make sure to give the warm towels a go!
4. Use Gravity
Using gravity to help baby go through the birth canal has been a trick midwives and doulas have used for ages.
Gravity helps pull your baby down with every contraction, also helping it move through the birth canal with more ease.
When you are laying down, which seems to be the typical labouring pose, your body is needing to work against gravity and push the baby out. In the end, putting more strain on your body. The baby’s head also then pushes down on your perineum more in an unnatural way, making it more likely to tear.
7 Things You Should Know About Contractions That Will Make Labor Easier
Simple Birth Plan Template – All You Need To Know
5. Push When you are REALLY Ready
You will know when you need to push, and no midwife can tell you when you are ready. This of course implies you have had no epidural and still have full feeling down there. If not, make sure to listen to your midwives telling you its go time!
I thought I felt ready to push after a few hours of active labor. However, my midwife checked, and I was only 8 cm dilated. So obviously not ready yet.
When I was fully effaced and dilated, I couldn’t think of anything else except pushing. That is when I knew my body was ready to push this baby out.
Make sure you are truly ready to push the baby out. If you are doubting or just feel like you are ready, wait a few minutes or at least a few contractions and check in with your body again.
6. Gentle and Slow is the Way to Go
Giving your body time to stretch and slowly push baby out, puts less trauma and stress on your perineum. Fast labor and deliveries are more likely to tear as the skin doesn’t have time to stretch.
I pushed for 3 hours. Yes, 3 whole hours. It felt like the longest 3 hours out there. However, I didn’t tear anywhere. My skin was still perfectly intact which made my recovery oh so much faster and comfortable.
I went with my body and gave it time to stretch and gently push the baby out. Of course, this was my first birth, and they tend to take longer than the second or third births.
Push when you feel ready and your body is signalling you its go time! Follow your body’s instincts and you will most likely tear less.
This is of course given that you and your baby are still doing okay and are in perfect health. In case something comes up, you better press like a madwoman!
7. Use Evening Primrose Oil
Disclaimer: Never use evening primrose oil without consulting your midwife, doctor, or healthcare professional. It may not be suited for your body and doses may wary.
Evening Primrose Oil comes in capsules which you regularly stick up your vagina to help lubricate and soften your cervix and your skin.
This oil is known to help induce and shorten labor, so make sure to use it wisely. Start when you are already ready to give birth (after 37 weeks) and usually place 1 capsule twice daily in your vagina.
This will act as a softener to help the skin stretch and dilate and efface faster and more efficiently when the time comes.
When used excessively or in too high doses it can have negative effects on you and your body, so make sure to consult a health professional first.
8. Use other Essential Oils
Essential oils have been on the rise lately, and that for good reason. Certain essential oils can help you during your labor. To relax, to speed up labor, to help mom with any nausea or cramps, as well as tearing.
Oils such as helichrysum help act as a lubricant oil for when baby crowns. Diluting this essential oil (20 drops to 4 tbsp fractionated coconut oil) and applying all over the perineum area helps stretch the tissue to minimize swelling and discomfort, thus avoiding tearing.
Adding 20 drops of frankincense to this mixture may also help prevent bruising, swelling, tearing and bleeding.
Interested in getting your hand on some high-quality DoTerra Essential Oils? Make sure to leave your email and name below and I will be in contact with you shortly!
Using these 8 ways to help prevent and reduce tearing during labor can really be a huge lifesaver in the end.
Give them all a try, or at least a few! You have got nothing to lose right?
Until next time,
4 thoughts on “8 Helpful Ways to Reduce Tearing During Labor”
Love these tips! I’m expecting my first in November and will definitely be taking these suggestions on board 😍
Hello Kez, Congratulations! Wishing you and your baby all the best and a smooth birth and recovery! Definitely let me know if any of these helped you during labor and delivery.
All the best,
Love these ideas! Wish I used with my first born!
Hi Amelia, yes I guess we always tend to look back and wish we had done things differently in the past. Hope this was helpful and informative!