I have taught childbirth classes for over 16 years and I can tell you one of the biggest fears about giving birth is tearing. One of the most common questions I get is "will I tear during birth?", and "how can I prevent vaginal tearing?"?
The word itself just sounds bad, doesn't it? We want birthing parents to know there are preventative things you can do to help avoid tearing during birth. It's an area of the body that can be prepped and supported to be stronger and healthier.
The first thing you get to do to prepare, is to create healthy, supple tissue. Here are 5 ways to create strong tissue and reduce the risk of perineal tearing during birth...that does not include perineal massage!
Dehydration can cause the skin to loose elasticity and specifically cause the perineal area to be dry. This can increase the risk of tearing. So drink, drink, drink all that water during pregnancy.
A good rule to follow is to drink half your body weight in ounces every day. As baby grows, so should your water intake. Herbal teas (especially Pregnancy Power Tea), popsicles, all the sparkling waters, kombucha, even Roobis tea from Starbucks...fill your pregnant body with hydration and this will impact your perineal tissue positively for birth.
2. Eat Lots of Healthy Fats
During pregnancy, load up on food with healthy fats. These food are good for you, and are low on sugar and carbs. You need extra protein in pregnancy, but these are full of the healthy fats that can help your perineum stretch during birth instead of tearing. Try these delicious foods to help your body be ready for birth!
- Avocados - guacamole & avocado toasts are our faves
- Almonds - even chocolate covered ones work
- Peanut Butter - in and on everything
- Butter with real popcorn...I mean, popcorn with real butter ;)
- Olive, coconut, grapeseed, or sunflower oil
- Dark Chocolate (yes, please!)
- Flax Seeds
- Full Fat Yogurt
3. Nourish Your Skin "Down There" in Pregnancy
It's a common misconception that there is nothing you can do to prevent a vaginal tear during birth. There are things you can do in your pregnancy to take care of and PREPARE your tissue to STRETCH and not tear! This is good news y'all!
Just like your hands or face, when the skin is dry, it's going to crack and not be as elastic. Our perineal skin needs to be nourished and moisturized and be more elastic to not tear in birth.
So why are we not taking time to nurture this amazing part of the body or even talk about it beforehand?! We are here to change that!
We know this precious skin needs care and attention..so we created birth-focused body products to help prepare your vaginal area specifically for birth! Using these two products below daily use during your pregnancy will help reduce your risk of tearing as it nourishes and brings blood flow to your entire vulva and perineum.
1. Prepare Down There Balm is infused with creamy oils and herbs, nourishes and moisturizes the skin to allow it stretch around the baby’s head instead of tearing. We recommend using right before going to bed daily in your pregnancy, so it can soak in all night. (makes an AMAZING diaper cream too!)
2. Our Ease the Way Spray is created to actually tone and strengthen the tissue of the perineal area. Spray on perineal area and around vaginal opening, 2-3x daily at bathroom breaks to help condition that skin for your upcoming birth and help reduce the risk of tearing.
These two products used together can do wonders for a mothers confidence in her body. And they both smell amazing, too! <shop PERINEAL BUNDLE here>
Powerful things happen when women start to pay attention to this area in a positive way. Instead of being scared or anxious, spending a few minutes each day caring and preparing your vagina for the day of birth can shift your fears.
You'll feel more prepared, empowered and ready for your baby's arrival, knowing you have connected to this amazing body that will give birth.
4. Have Sex…With a Partner or Without
Bow chick a bow wow. Light the candles, set the mood and have some fun in the bedroom. This is great for parents-to-be in many ways, but it actually can help you reduce the risk of tearing at birth. The more blood flow to your vaginal area the better. And lots of blood flow happens during sex and orgasms.
If you are a single parent or struggling to enjoy sex with a partner...there is nothing wrong with self pleasure. This creates the same blood flow to the vaginal area and can help prepare your perineal area for birth, and reduce the risk of tearing. And any type of pleasure is way more fun than a forced perineal massage.
5. Take a Comprehensive Birth Class
In a comprehensive birth class you'll learn the best ways to push, what to avoid, what positions are best for pushing, and most importantly — how to listen to your body so you can lower your risk of tearing.
You have more control over what happens during birth than you may realize. Did you know that who you have chosen as your provider is a big indicator if your risk for vaginal tears goes up or down?
Wrap yourself in this knowledge before birth in a evidence-based birth class, so you have the ability to choose what's best for you on the day baby arrives. Do you have the right provider? Want to know the BEST ways to push to not tear? These are things you and your partner can learn about in our Birth Dates Class!
So What About Perineal Massage?
Any and all massages are pretty great. But have you heard about the infamous perineal massage? The evidence doesn’t back it up. So just pass and do the more tender and loving things to your perineum that you enjoy…like sex and spa-like body care experiences.
Midwives report how much more confident their patients feel when they use our perineal prep products in their pregnancy. These moms have done what they can to prepare and are also used to sensations “down there" so client are more confident to push.
Taking the time to do vaginal self-care can really impact a more positive pushing stage. Birthing parents experience far less fear, and more trust in their body, which makes for a more positive birth experience!
So take the time of pregnancy to start preparing your vaginal area for birth. There are things you can do NOW to positively impact your belief in your body and reduce the risk of tearing.