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After careful consideration, I have decided I do not want to tear. It doesn't sound fun.<br><br>
Are there any exercises I can do, supplements I can take, oils I can massage in during pregnancy to decrease the possibility of tearing? I'm 30 weeks, and I don't know if that's too late or early to start doing... stuff...<br><br>
Anyone? Or is it simply the luck of the draw?
 

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I had an episiotomy with DD and as a result I tore with DS. I understand warm compresses during labor and perineal massage are supposed to help a LOT but I don't know when to start it. I too would like to see what others have to say.
 

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I don't htink massages, oil, etc, really help all that much with tearing. Havinga waterbirth helps, as long as you aren't in the tub too long (pruny skin apparently tear more easily, while wet slightly soaked skin stretches better. So get in the tub during transition, not before.) Also not pushing while the head is crowning also helps. I think most women don't push during crowning anyway b/c the burning sensation makes you pant instead of pushing. I don't think it's possible to pant and push at the same time. If you are drugged and can't feel the burning, you are more likely to push through it and tear.
 

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Don't give birth on your back or even semi-reclining. Try to birth squatting or on all fours. This way allows your pelvis to open as far as it can go, your body works with gravity, not against it, and you simply do not have the risk of tearing that you do when you're pushing on your back.<br>
Perineal support with hot compresses is also helpful. My midwife used hot compresses covered in olive oil, and I think it helped a lot. I only had "road rash", as compared to the 2nd degree tear+episiotomy I sustained during my hospital birth with my first child, where I was forced to birth a posterior positioned baby on my freaking back <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:
 

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Waterbirth is great. And/or doing exactly what your body needs to do when it needs to do it w/o outside interference/coaching/instruction <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I really like this article by one of our fellow MDCers - <a href="http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/honoring.asp" target="_blank">http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/honoring.asp</a> . HTH!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>erin_brycesmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10261009"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I really like this article by one of our fellow MDCers - <a href="http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/honoring.asp" target="_blank">http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/honoring.asp</a> . HTH!</div>
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Yes, I agree. The fewer hands and instruments on or near your perineum, and the more autonomous you are in choosing the position that feels right to you, the less likely you are to tear. I had a recent water birth and held the baby's head and my perineum with my hand as she was crowning (just my intuition--nothing planned), and I didn't even have skid marks afterward. With my previous two births, I had a major episiotomy and then tearing along that scar. It was great to feel so in control and in touch with my baby and my body as we birthed together.<br><br>
Good luck with your birth!
 

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I've heard kegels and frequent sex up to birth help you not to tear- and there's no loss even if they don't! It helps to have elastic skin, too, so consider doing that<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> (just thought your opening statement was cute). I second the perenial massage, maybe taking a vit. E would improve skin quality? If you're going to try to prevent it- why not?<br>
I didn't tear either time, I did all these things except the per. massage, and I did push semi-reclined with #1. Good luck!!<br>
A
 

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with #1, DH used olive oil several times a week to massage and stretch my perineum, on the advice of our childbirth educator. i know i definitely noticed the difference in its flexibility each time. and my m/w applied compresses and did perineal massage during birth. the second time we skipped the pre-childbirth massage (just couldn't find the time to ourselves with a little one around), but did have the m/w apply compresses and do perineal massage during birth. i didn't tear at all either time.<br><br>
on a side note, when you're preparing for birth and practicing kegels, make sure you focus as much on the release of the kegel as the contraction. if all you do is tighten the area without learning to fully release it, it may not be able to stretch as well.
 

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Having no one tell you how to position, when to push, or how to push (unless you really need a little advice), and following what feels right can help immensely.
 

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Relax (as much as possible) during pushing and push with your body's urges. If you aren't doing a water birth...putting warm compresses on your perineal helps ALOT.<br>
Sometimes...a doctor's definition of a perineal massage can be quite aggressive and rough and be counter-productive.<br>
Remember...give you body time to do it's magic <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>georgia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10260019"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Waterbirth is great. And/or doing exactly what your body needs to do when it needs to do it w/o outside interference/coaching/instruction <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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Quoting because this is important to repeat.
 

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I've had three and the only one I didn't tear was the one I delivered myself (#3). The Dr. didn't make it into the room! So another vote for do what feels best for you.<br><br>
By the way my other 3 were delivered by midwives - go figure. Not that I'm against them but really -do it your way.
 

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Do what feels right. But you still might tear. Deciding YOU WON'T doesn't mean you won't. I mean, no offense, but I think EVERY woman has decided that they don't want to tear!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>art_teachermommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10278245"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Sometimes...a doctor's definition of a perineal massage can be quite aggressive and rough and be counter-productive.</div>
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I want to second this point. A midwife with whom I once worked only ever recommended perineal massage to be used between intimate partners. In other words, she wouldn't do them but would give information out to couples who wanted to try it.
 

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so you are probably healthy and I don't need to say this but<br>
the things that help skin integrity<br><br>
-- no smoking-----<br><br>
a diet that has plenty of fresh/frozen fruit and veggies cooked or raw<br>
(the alphabet of vitamins and minerals)<br><br>
be sure you don't have an active infection that would effect your tissue strength- BV or yeast can really cause problems-- in the same turn probiotics help<br><br>
water births or births that avoid your bottom being pressed firmly into a surface basically from your tailbone forward should be free to open and let a baby pass-<br><br>
frequent sex changes the thickness of the vaginal walls- make them a bit tougher--<br><br>
studies seem to go either way on doing your own perineal massage- up to you I would say be familiar with your anatomy and that understanding how to release- as opposed to tensing can make a difference<br><br>
slow down when pushing- use your own hands to smooth out tissues or to give you tactile feed back about how to ease the baby out-- avoid those mind made up going just going to get it over with feelings- if it burns or stings slow down--
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>georgia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10260019"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Waterbirth is great. And/or doing exactly what your body needs to do when it needs to do it w/o outside interference/coaching/instruction <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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Well, I tried that with this baby but the midwife kept wanting to check her heartbeat. Good thing because the position I favored, hands and knees, was stressing baby out too much. If If I had just done my thing, I might have had a very sad birth situation on my hands. One midwife suggested I sit up on the bed, which baby liked but I hated. The other one suggested the stool. That worked like a charm but I still tore.<br><br>
I asked my midwife about how to prevent tearing and she said position helps but that ultimately your body does what it does. So, sometimes it is just inevitable.<br><br>
And prettypixels is right. Everyone decides they do not want to tear. We all hope for that but for many of us it is just not in the cards.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Do what feels right. But you still might tear. Deciding YOU WON'T doesn't mean you won't. I mean, no offense, but I think EVERY woman has decided that they don't want to tear!</td>
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Hehe, I know. I was kidding, don't worry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Thanks for all the tips! I am planning a waterbirth (at home with a midwife--two actually--but they're fairly hands-off in approach, preferring the husband to catch the baby, for instance, so hopefully they'll be okay about letting me do my own 'touching').
 

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I had an episiotomy that tore an extension with DS1. With DS2, I tore. Both of those births were on my back, with forceful pushing, and lots of interference with my perineum.<br><br>
Had a homebirth this time around. My midwife's biggest recommendations to preserve the perineum were slow and easy descent of the baby, and waterbirth.<br><br>
For DS3, I did all of the following:<br><br>
- ate a healthy diet<br>
- stayed hydrated<br>
- kegeled (toned muscles stretch better than untoned ones)<br>
- applied a little peri massage oil to my old scar tissue every morning after my shower (but didn't actually do peri massage, just gave my old scar tissue a little extra vitamin E)<br>
- transitioned and birthed in my tub, in positions I chose<br>
- kept everybody's hands off of my perineum during birth<br>
- didn't push forcefully - I labored DS3 down and out<br>
- "caught" the baby myself<br><br>
No tearing. I was floored. Even my previously beat up perineum stretched beautifully when given the chance. Now, there is never a guarantee of no tearing, but in general, take good care of your body before birth and during birth, be gentle, and you will minimize the chances of tearing.
 
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