For many first-time mothers, the birthing experience can feel overwhelming and a bit scary due to so many unknowns. When it comes to vaginal tearing, a little over 90% of mothers giving birth for the first time experience some amount of tearing, due to pressure put on the body and the tissues being less flexible.
Fortunately there are exercises to prevent tearing during birth, and for mothers who have a second vaginal birth, the chances of tearing go down as the body becomes more flexible. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can strengthen the body, prepare it for childbirth, and how to prevent tearing during birth.
8 Exercises To Prevent Tearing During Birth
Here are eight exercises to help prevent tearing during childbirth. Use these to prepare your body in the best ways possible.
1. Try Perineal Massages
One of the main exercises to prevent tearing during childbirth is a perineal massage. It’s a stretching massage for the vagina to prepare for childbirth done to oneself or with a partner. It’s recommended to start 4-6 weeks before your due date, with daily 2-3 minute massages to make the perineal tissues more supple, improve flexibility, reduce pushing time, and reduce pain after birth.
2. Perform Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which then supports better function of those muscles and organs. During pregnancy, pelvic floor exercises help with muscle control during labor and pregnancy and recovery afterward. Not only that, but women who paired perineal massages with a consistent kegel routine increased their chances of no tear at all from 6% to 17%.
Want to supercharge your exercises to prevent tearing during birth? Get started with Kegelbell with just 5-minute kegel exercises, 3 times a week to build your muscle tone, and see results in just two weeks. Kegelbell workouts focus on the relaxation of muscles between contractions for the full range of motion and the brief workouts generate muscle health naturally.
3. Practice Birthing Positions Ahead of Time
While there are a number of birthing positions that are recommended, a few specifically reduce the pressure on the perineum and the pelvic floor, decreasing the chances of tearing. Side lying or squatting tend to be the most effective delivery positions for perineum protection, and it’s important to practice these positions ahead of time so you’re ready when the time comes.
4. Consider a Water Birth
Warm water helps the body become softer and more supple, which is great for the perineum and the muscles involved in the birthing process. Some women choose to use a water bath for just the laboring process, while others choose to stay in the water for delivery. Additionally, there are also other reasons that women choose to go the water birth route.
5. Apply a Warm Compress While Pushing
Similarly, for those who may not want to get into a water bath during the labor or birthing process, applying a warm compress directly to the perineum has similar benefits of warming up the skin and helping to create more flexibility in anticipation of the birth process.
6. Push With Urges and Breathe Through It
It’s important to talk with your doctor about how you’ll approach the pushing phase of the birthing process. It’s vital that the woman isn’t pushing unnecessarily, and rather focusing on breathing through the process. By only pushing when the urge happens, it reduces unnecessary stress on the perineum, allowing the pushes to come when the body is ready and reducing the likelihood of tearing.
7. Consult Your Doctor or Midwife
It’s important that you consult with your doctor, midwife, or other health professionals throughout this process so that they can advise you on any other preventative measure to take, and so that they know how you’d like to proceed. Have your plan set in place so that anyone supporting you through the process is able to help you during this exciting time.
8. Take Care of Your Body As a Whole
Consider the care and time a marathon runner goes through to prepare for a race. It’s not just about practicing running, it’s about eating healthy, cross-training, and keeping an overall healthy state of mind.
This is equally if not more true for the pregnancy and birthing process. It’s important to eat healthy, exercise, and take care of yourself so that when the time comes, your body is ready for peak performance.
Find the Right Exercises To Prevent Tearing During Birth for You
As perineal tears are incredibly common, you can do many things to heal perineal tears naturally after birth to recover gradually. Most tears heal with time within the postnatal period, so it is essential to be patient and maintain good hygiene for faster recovery.
The birthing process is such an empowering and wonderful experience for pregnant women. It’s important that women understand how to strengthen their bodies so that they can move through the birthing experience and into motherhood confidently. By strengthening the body before, during, and after pregnancy, more women can live without the embarrassment or discomfort of urinary incontinence, laxity, and prolapse.
Learn more about how Kegelbell helps strengthen the pelvic floor and prepare for pregnancy and get started with your pelvic floor training journey today.