1. A warm compress. Having a midwife support the area with a warm compress can reduce tears.
2. Position. Pushing on your left side, all fours or semi- recumbent have been shown to have the lesser tears. Although being semi recumbent isn’t always the best position for birth for other reasons.
3. Communication- Blow and don’t push when the midwife says. This is so baby’s head can be born SLOWLY. At a specific point when baby is just being born. Your baby will tell you to blow …. like you’re blowing out individual candles one after another, this is for after a minute, maybe even less, and will mean that baby’s head will be born nice and slow which definitely reduces tears.
4. Hands on approach. Having a midwife support your perineum again, especially with a warm compress. Your midwife will pop her hands, on baby’s head and on your perineum as baby is being born, this has been shown to reduce tears. You can write on your birth preferences if you’d like this, or not.
5. Did I mention…
6. Perineal massage- Massaging the perineum with your thumbs (or getting your partner to do it) from 34 weeks with some olive oil has been shown to lessen any tears in first time mums by 10%. For second time Mums it hasn’t been shown to make a difference but tears are less likely to occur anyway in second time Mums compared to first.
These tips are all evidence based guidelines from the RCM or from a midwife, Julie Frolich, who made a care bundle which has been shown to reduce tears.
Now, If we’re talking about tears then we need to talk about recovery and healing.
1. Change your pads regularly to reduce infection. You want to keep the area dry.
2. Stay hydrated. It’s concentrated urine that may sting your stitches.
3. A high fibre diet will help with that first post natal poo. That’s dates, prunes, bran, fruit and veg.
4. Tea tree in the bath can aid healing. Other than that you can wash as normal but don’t use soap on the area. And pat dry.
5. Arnica tablets can help with bruising in that area regardless of if you have a tear. Have a look in your local health shop for arnica tablets to take during labour and post birth.
6. Putting your sanitary pads in the fridge before you put them on can also be soothing to the area.
So you see how knowing this information will benefit your birth, ‘knowledge is power’ always trumps ‘ignorance is bliss’ 💥🙌🏼
For other ways that you can stack the odds in your favour to get the birth you want, then take a look at The Bump to Baby Chapter’s Antenatal and Hypnobirthing Online course. It was created by midwife, Beth and is filled with videos, audios, checklists, live Q and As, and post natal lives (for weaning, sleep, reflux and colic) to help you get prepared for birth and help you through the early days with baby.