thread: how to avoid Tearing in labour?

  1. #1
    cathy Guest

    how to avoid Tearing in labour?

    Anyone have any tips on how to avoid tearing????? And what does it feel like when the head is crowning? Does it sting inside the vagina? Please no scary details this my first!

  2. #2
    Life Member

    May 2003
    Beautiful Adelaide!

    Hi Cathy.........

    It does sting a bit, around the edge, but I found it to be not as bad as I had imagined.....you are concentrating on so many other things (pushing and breathing and what the Dr & midwife is saying, the fact that you are SO close to meeting your baby..........) that it was the least of my worries......honest!

    In terms of "preparing" the vagina for birth, from about 35 weeks pg, you can try daily prenatal massage of the perineum (the area around your vagina). Perineum massage may increase the stretching ability of the area, decreasing the chance of an episiotomy and less chance of natural tears. (There is no medical evidence that this technique avoids an episiotomy, but it can't hurt if you want to try).

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Apr 2003
    Western Australia


    ditto what lucy says. I found the burning/stinging to be much less than i thought it would!

    The only other way you can help to minimise tearing is to really listen to what the midwife/doctor is telling you during the birth. You really have to concentrate (hard as it is) on pushing, breathing and not pushing when they tell you to as they can see what is happening and they will try their best to help you out.

    Oh and some people talk about a device kinda like a ballon thing that you gradually inflate to stretch the perineum. Never tried it - sounds weird to me!!

    I tore with #1 which really wasn't too bad in the end. With #2 i just grazed and that felt almost as bad as tearing!!

    Here's hoping #3 is small and i am already pre-stretched iykwim!!

    Best wishes

  4. #4

    definitely a stinging/burning sensation. I never felt it with Kam as I had a epi but I did yell a bit when I crowned with Lachlan but I had no pain relief either.
    Epi-No is the product that is meant to minimise the chances of tearing or needing and episiotomy. Even putting your fingers up there and massaging/stretching the perenium is meant to supposedly help.


  5. #5
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Jul 2004
    House of the crazy cat ladies...

    Hi Cathy,

    I think one of the main reasons I didnt tear in labour is because I was able to listen and do exactly what the midwife told me to. I had an epidural, therefore I didnt have any other pain happening to distract me. I still found it very easy to push, and stop pushing when I was told... I did graze though, which was quite sore for a couple of weeks.
    I wish I had a better explanation for why I didn't tear, as I didnt use any special creams or perineum massage or anything... plus Aidyn was a decent sized baby too...

  6. #6
    Registered User

    Mar 2004


    I also felt a stinging/burning like the other girls described, as well as a strong feeling of pressure as bub pressed down on my perineum. I experienced a rather large tear as Grace came out in such a rush, but I have to say that the tear itself didn't hurt, in fact I didn't even know I had torn until the midwife told me.


  7. #7
    paradise lost Guest

    I think the best thing they usually say is to take your time and listen to the midwife.

    I think if you have a normal unaccelerated labour and you obey your midwife when she tells you not to push, your tearing will be minimal, i think you only tear badly when the baby, for whatever reason has to be delivered faster than the perineum can stretch.

    I seriously think i'd rather tear than be cut....


  8. #8
    Registered User

    Sep 2004
    Sydney's Norwest

    Cathy, if possible breath bub out rather tahn push, your body will do the pushing for you. Listen to your midwife and when they say stop pushing do it. This will allow you time to stretch. And as hard as it sounds try to relax your body and just go with it.

    Take care

  9. #9
    Kara Guest

    My midwife told me that a good diet can contirbute to a lesser chance of tearing (if your putting in the right nutrients, your skin and muscles are at their best perhaps). My first bub was 9lb 5oz and I didn't tear. Some of this may be to do with the diet thing, but I also concentrated on feeling very open down there. The thing that I noticed most as bub was crowning was the pressure on my anus. My husband thought it was amusing that I kept saying that my bum was going to turn itself inside out. I think an important thing is to know that you may experience this sensation and you have to go with it. You feel like you are going to poo, and you just might. BUT if you fight that feeling, you are going to tense up, the pushing and crowning is going to be harder and you might tear. I also agree that you have to listen to your midwife/doctor and take it easy as bub is being delivered at the very end.

    All the best


  10. #10

    Nov 2004

    With Xander, i had too much trouble pushing him out - i pushed for 2 hours and he wasnt going anywhere, and was becoming quite distressed. I was so exhausted i was pretty much unconscious between contractions, and only concentrated on my breathing as much as possible. I ended up aving an episiotomy, which had 4 stitches. I required about 10, very very large cut and i also tore. I had no pain relief (that aint happening again) i was also told that massaging the perinium helps during labour and am trying this technique with this one. Mind you, Xander was 9lb 2 oz!! (hopefully that wont happen again either!!) #-o

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Sep 2004
    Melbourne, Australia

    A friend of mine tried the device which somebody else mentioned (Epi-No - there is a web site for it), which is like a balloon pump thing you use to stretch your vagina 2 or 3 weeks prior to the due date. She found it very successful and didn't need any stitches. Personally I would be reluctant to try it as its new and not widely distributed in Australia.

  12. #12
    layla Guest

    I had an episiotomy with Sean (not a problem at the time but recovery is longer) and with Kate I was determined to avoid one. The midwife was great and just as the head was crowning she whipped out a pot of vaseline and smothered my perineum in it and hey presto, baby popped out -no episiotomy and no tear. I'll be hoping for the same experience this time. Oh, and I don't actually remember any burning or anything at the time of crowning, like Lucy said, I was too focused on getting my baby out to notice the pain. (I had no pain relief either.)

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Nov 2004
    Giving the gift of life to a friend..


    My midwife asked my sister to take a Maternity pad to the sink & run hot water onm it at the time the head started crowning, the hot water against the (chinese burn) sensation of the skin stretching counteracted each other & it went totally numb, I tore & felt nothing, I only knew I tore when Maddison was handed to me & she said, I'll just stitch up your tear? By then it's so numb, that you feel nothing!

    Best of luck & relax it works better if you can relax!!

  14. #14
    Registered User

    Sep 2004
    Sunshine coast, QLD

    I was cut and didnt feel a thing and even after the birth they stitched it up and i still didnt feel it. You have to remember that the whole area goes numb because it has been stretched so much after birthing. It was uncomfortable for a few days. Just a tip to ease the discomfort afterwards at the hospital they gave me a chucks dishcloth that was wet then folded up and frozen, so you put on that area then just dispose of it with maternity pad. Felt great. I done the same thing when i got home.

  15. #15
    Registered User

    Sep 2004
    Melbourne, Australia

    I found the episiotimy wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined it could be; in fact it was the least of my concerns, and it hardly bothered me when the stitches were healing either.

  16. #16
    Registered User

    Sep 2004

    All the advise here sounds to be spot on, I didn't deliver vaginally. However, I have 2 G/Fs both with nurses for mothers and they did a combination of massage and the epi-no/epi-ballon - they swear by it. Infact both of them have had 2 children and not tears each time!!! Good luck

  17. #17
    Scarlett Guest

    We have been using massage since about 36 wks, according to kev it is making a difference so will continue. I still assume I may need stiches but am hoping to minimise the number.

  18. #18
    Registered User

    Aug 2004

    OK - funny boys story that I was told today on this topic - but kinda gross too.
    "It'll stretch a mile before it tears an inch" and "I wish I could find tyres made of the same stuff - they would never wear out".
    I guess thats the joy of working with men right?
    I've been told to do the finger twirl - 2-3-4-5 fingers up there and move it around alot in the few weeks before birth. I'm picking I wont be able to reach, so it might be DP's job.
    We saw a birth video the other night - first one I've seen for 15 years, and ouch! Thats a whole heap of stretching!!!