Vaginal tearing. Yep I said it. Its the cruel, awful, terrifying experience that unfortunately women experience daily around the world – Yikes! It’s totally not fair all the hardships that becoming a mama include, but could you imagine if a man had to do it? I’m still over here recovering from my husbands last man cold; I could not imagine what would happen if he had to go through this type of pain. Can you even imagine a man researching “how to prevent penis tearing”? Just thinking about it makes me realize how strong mothers are!
But here’s the thing. Its all worth it to have that sweet little baby at the end! But let’s try and save the Va – JJ while we can, okay, cause no one wants to experience a tear. I think that was honestly my biggest concern when I found out I was pregnant, followed closely by how not to poop in front of my husband.
So, you might be thinking, okay what can I do to stop my lady bits from being torn apart? Well sometimes nothing. I know not what you want to hear, but I’m just keeping it real. There is so much research out there on whether anything will help and honestly its kind of split 50/50. Personally, id rather try to prevent it and hope for the best. I think the only thing worse than the tear itself would be wondering if there was something I could have done to stop the tearing in the first place. I’m sure you’re with me on that one!
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How to Prevent Vaginal Tearing
Healthy diet and exercise
I know this has probably been drilled into your head as you attend your appointments but for good reason! A big baby = a big head, ya get my drift? While you can’t totally control the size your baby ends up, research shows that you are less likely to have an overly large baby if you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In your first trimester and having difficulty getting active? Check out my First Trimester Survival Guide!
Natural/ unmedicated Birth
This is a touchy topic so just know I am not promoting or recommending a natural birth over a medicated one – you do you, mama. But research shows that when a mom in labour can feel, she works with her body and then pushes when their body tells them too; preventing tearing. I guess your gonna have to decide what you think is worse – pain in labour vs pain during recovery after a tear.
If you do have an epidural, you could request it is turned down a little to allow you to feel a bit more of what is going on down there. At some facilities this is common practice anyways.
Pro Tip: Take a prenatal class. This can help you SO MUCH during your labour and delivery. Check with your healthcare provider and they should be able to direct you to one close to your area. If you are anything like me, you wont want to leave the comfort of your home, let’s face it sometimes there is nothing better than relaxing in your PJ’s, am I right? There are some awesome online resources. My favorite is The Birth Boot Camp. They offer an amazing and affordable online birth class that you can complete at your own pace. You can check out their courses here. Just make sure whatever online sources you use, that they are reputable. The last thing you want is inaccuracies on information you are being provided.
Perineal massage during pregnancy
Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. The idea is that you slowly stretch the area, so it is already used to stretching before you try and push out that watermelon. There are lots of online resources if you do a quick search – if there is enough demand, I will create a how to guide, so let me know in the comments! Wash your hands before you start and use a high-quality water based lubricant. If you find it hard to reach, ask your spouse for help!
There are many different positions you can try during labour: hands and knees, side lying, legs in stirrups, etc. They all have different benefits and risks associated with them – discuss with your practitioner as they may not be willing to deliver in different positions.
Nursing soap box moment here: It is your right to choose a position that feels best for you, so keep this in mind. But it is also your care providers job to make recommendations for best outcomes during labour and delivery. Don’t let anyone force you to labour or deliver in a position you don’t want to if the only reason is that it is more comfortable for them. You are the one in labour mama! Listen to your body, medical based rationals from your healthcare providers and make an educated decision. Ok end of rant.
A warm compress and pressure on the va-jj not only feel good when you are in labour, but can prevent tearing too! My midwife actually put pressure for me and it helped me to know where to push.
Listen to your instincts
There is no one more in tune with your body in labour than you are. Birth is a natural experience that women were designed for. Listen to what your body is telling you to do! Advocate for yourself when you need to or ask your spouse to help you do this.
Vaginal tearing or not, your sweet bundle of joy will make their big debut and I promise you, its all worth it. Enjoy all those newborn snuggles, you did awesome mom!
Do you have any tips that worked for you? Leave them in the comments, I would love to hear from you!