I was just wondering today about how perineal tears were handled back in the day...like hundreds of years ago, and in various places around the world. Did women tear as frequently as they seem to today (is there any way of knowing this)? If not, why not? And if so, what were the traditional ways to treat tears? How long, and in which places throughout the world, have stitches been used?
Since my oldest was born I have heard so many things...perineal massage is good at preventing tears...perineal massage has no effect...perineal massage is actually harmful. If you do this or that (breathe the baby out, etc.), you won't tear. I've also heard that some women just tear no matter what. I have torn each time (natural births, no episiotomies) and it just makes me curious.