Can You Prevent Episiotomies and Tears During Delivery?

If you're concerned about episiotomies and tears during delivery, we'll tell you everything you need to know in this article about how to prevent them. Keep reading!
Can You Prevent Episiotomies and Tears During Delivery?

Last update: 01 July, 2019

One of the issues that lots of women worry about during delivery are episiotomies and vaginal tears. Therefore, in this article we’ll answer the following question: Can you prevent episiotomies and tears during delivery?

First, it’s good to define both of those terms. On the one hand, an episiotomy is a cut to the perineum. It widens the vulva and helps the baby come out more easily. 

It’s a surgical procedure that isn’t entirely harmless. In fact, the scar can be very painful. In addition, the healing process is usually long and painful for weeks or even months after the baby is born.

Therefore, tears in delivery, as the name suggests, are tears in the perineal tissues. These can affect the anal sphincter and also the rectal mucosa. Also, both of these procedures make it easier for the baby to leave the mother’s womb.

However, they’re surgical procedures. Lots of moms feel uncomfortable about them, especially ones who want to have a natural birth.

Can You Prevent Episiotomies and Tears During Delivery?

How can you prevent episiotomies and tears during childbirth?

Next, we’ll tell you how you can help prevent episiotomies and tears during delivery. These activities will help you improve your chances of surviving the delivery with your perineum intact. Take note, and don’t forget to try these tips out for yourself!

Prepare your body

It’s essential to make sure that your body is ready to start working. Therefore, you should know that exercise helps improve circulation, which also helps keep your skin elastic.

At the same time, good nutrition and hydration are important for your skin and muscles. We recommend that you include lots of healthy fats in your diet, especially omega-3.

Perineal massages

Without a doubt, this is one of the best ways to help increase the elasticity of your perineum skinYou can start doing them regularly during the last few weeks of pregnancy, starting at week 34.

To do it, use your index finger and thumb, and massage with a little bit of vegetable oil. Soft massages can help relax that area if you do them regularly.

Birth position

The position you give birth in actually influences your risk of episiotomies and tears. In this sense, women need to find the best positions that help them handle their contractions.

Some of the least stressful positions on your perineum are: on all fours, supporting your hands and knees, lying in the fetal position and lying on your side.

Warm compresses

During labor, you can put warm compresses on your perineum. Then, it will make your skin and muscles more flexible. In fact, using these compresses can reduce tears since heat increases blood flow in the area.

Kegel exercises to prevent episiotomies and tears

Can You Prevent Episiotomies and Tears During Delivery?

To start doing Kegel exercisesyou need to find a quiet and private place to sit or lay down before exercising. From the beginning of pregnancy, you can start contracting and stretching your muscles. The goal is both to tone and soften your muscles. In fact, you can even do these exercises anywhere.

Push at the right time to prevent episiotomies and tears

Pushing at the right time is one of the most important aspects to prevent episiotomies and vaginal tears. Although you might feel like you need to push earlier, you should only push when the doctor tells you to.

Keep in mind that the skin of your perineum can’t stretch very well, which could make it tear. Therefore, when your doctor tells you to stop pushing, it’s time to start taking the baby out slowly.

Finally, remember that you can prevent episiotomies and tears if you follow our advice and that of your doctor. Don’t be scared, because everything will be fine!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

    • Vardon, D., Reinbold, D., & Dreyfus, M. (2015). Episiotomía y desgarros obstétricos recientes. EMC – Cirugía General15(1), 1–17.
    • Hernández-Martínez, A., Pascual-Pedreño, A. I., Baño Garnés, A. B., Melero-Jiménez, M. del R., & Molina Alarcón, M. (2014). Variabilidad en la tasa de episiotomías y su relación con desgarros perineales graves y morbilidad neonatal. Enfermeria Clinica24(5), 269–275.
    • Duarte González, L., García González, S., & Mejías Paneque, M. C. (2013). Masaje perineal. Nure Inv10(62), 1–4.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.