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Really really nervous about tearing when giving birth.. Is there anything I can do to try and avoid it happening?!

I have only just under 10 weeks left and I'm getting really scared about tearing! No matter how small! Is there anything I can do to avoid it happening?! This is my first wee one and I'm just getting myself so worked up about labour now!!x

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Trust me - you really won't feel if you do tear... I had a second degree and the first I knew about it was when the midwife told me she was about to suture it up!!

Some say perineal massage works, but the midwives I spoke to were scornful of it. There are also devices you can buy to use antenatal ly to gently stretch your muscles...

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Ah really? I thought you would feel it! If you can't feel it that's not so bad, I just worry about after more I think!

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1st baby too, delivered 2 weeks ago. Same as Dr Fluffy, Grade 2 internal as my boy came out head & hand/arm 1st. I was too busy pushing him out to notice it. Again 1st I knew was after delivery when was told needed a stitch up.

Try not to worry about things like this, when you are in 'the moment' all you will want is the safe delivery of your child :-)

Yes you will be swollen and sore after but with careful management inflammation etc will settle. Hygiene is key, I used lavender, tea tree oil and milk in baths daily as recommended by a friend and even if it did nothing for the wounds. I found it relaxing :-) 2 weeks on and I wouldn't even know had given birth from the 'privates' point of view even with the tear.

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The perineal massage can help and if you can squat whilst you are giving birth, you relax the muscles around that area which increases your chances of giving birth without tearing. Also our bodies will push our babies out (even if we were in a coma), so with natural birthing methods for a straight forward birth - we recommend gentle pushing to enable the skin to stretch slowly and naturally as baby moves down..

It's also worth bearing in mind that most births could be pain free if the fear element could be removed. When we fear pain (which it is difficult not to do with childbirth because we hear about it as being an ordeal from childhood), we tense up and hinder the birthing process. Our fear & anxiety tells our bodies it's not safe to give birth and then our clever bodies slow the process down. If you can use natural methods like hypnosis for birth (have a look on Ebay for 2nd hand discs if you can't afford a class), it helps you relax so you can let your body do what it has been designed to do. Have a look at YouTube to see all the evidence out there to show it works for most women. You have plenty of time to practice & get good at it and it could very well help you and your baby to have the most amazing & positive birth experience, instead of an ordeal.

Best of luck & I hope all goes well for you.

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i agree, reading a hypnoborthing book helped me to feel more confident about labour and the wonders of the human body, and the one i had also gave details on perineal massage techniques too.

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Perineal massage from 36 weeks using almond oil try and deliver on all fours (takes the pressure off your perineum) and the best advice I can give is listen to the midwife when she says stop pushing and breathe the baby out really listen, I'm a midwife myself and have a 6 week old and I can honestly say you don't feel it at all if you do tear I was really worried and also found the water worked (I had a water birth) good luck and please don't worry as it will stop you pushing as good if you are worrying about tearing xx

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I agree with the above. You really won't worry at the time. Fear is the biggest hurdle of all, once you come to a deeper acceptance and understanding that your body is designed and able to give birth then you'll be able to deal with whatever comes your way. The truth is that not every woman will tear while giving birth which means that you could be one of those who don't. Have a look at the hypnobirthing strategies which will help with your fears.

Birthing position and baby size will also influence whether you will tear too, so with this in mind good diet and gentle exercise will certainly help. Things to help before include perineal massage and curiously evening primrose oil - there is not a great deal of research into EPO so do your homework and make up your own mind.

Breathing is also important, I'm now of the mind that I don't need to 'push' because my uterine surges (contractions) do the pushing and over bearing down is unproductive and possible damaging - more of a problem with pain relief methods like epidurals which remove sensation. For after I have heard that arnica is good for bruising so that is something I'm going to consider and definitely plenty of water and roughage to make your motions regular and soft so you don't get piles either.

I've had to be stitched with both of my babies, no 1 (8.14) episiotomy plus tearing, on my back, over bearing in desparation - not nice, no 2 (9.7) water-birth, upright squatting, natural tear due to large baby head - not avoidable.

Not the best but you do heal and you do get over it and you do have a sex life again, in good time. I hope that no3 who will make an appearance in the next month will be kinder, but if not I won't worry, I'll just get better. I hope this helps :)

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Yep the first thing I knew I had torn was when they said that I needed stitching up...the last thing on ur mind when you are giving birth is whether you have torn or not....all ur aiming to do is get tht baby out and hold him/her.

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If you are in such a pain and exhaustion like I was you will not even notice it. But the worst is the after, I couldnt sit for one week but its forgotten now and im like you im so scared of happening again

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I really think u should stop working yourself up about what may happen in your labour. U won't feel it if u do tear & u will b more concerned about getting the baby out then the minor details of a tear. Jst stop worrying & enjoy this last stage of your pregnancy. Being anxious wont help.

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I've just had my first baby. He was 5 weeks yesterday and I'm pleased to say I didn't tear! One of the lucky ones....

I did do perineal massage but I think the thing that was most helpful was the natural birthing classes I took leading up to the birth. It meant that I was able to stay calm and push slowly so the skin had plenty of time to stretch! i also spent some time in the water during the labour but came out to "push". We also had a very lovely relaxed midwife!

Good luck x

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There is a piece of equipment called epi-no that can help get your muscles ready. Google it and have a read. I am considering it myself as I am worried about third degree tears x x

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I agree with georgiepinkfeet. I had a fairly bad tear with my first, a tiny graze with my second, none at all with my third and a small one with my first - the only difference with my second and third was the way I 'breathed' the baby's head out. With the first I was under pressure to 'push, push, push' with the clock ticking after an induction and with the last I had a really on-off backache labour and was just really impatient to get baby's head out! Talk to your midwife (at the birth) or have your birth partner do it and say that you are concerned about tearing and she will hopefully help you through the crowning of the baby's head with some good techniques. Even better, if you can get a good class which will give you the techniques (hospital run classes sometimes dont). Basically it comes down to the fact that once the baby's head is crowning the contractions themselves are usually enough to push the baby's head down without all that *deep breath, eyes tight shut, scream!* stuff you see on one born every minute, the baby's head can ease out much more gently without that. A longer pushing stage where you only push when you literally can't help yourself can give more time for the skin to stretch and make more room. Sadly some midwives still operate a sort of 'coaching' system, especially for first time mums where they tell you to "PUSH!" as soon as you are fully dilated and you go for it early on, get tired and, often, torn. The truth is your body can do it for itself, when the urge to push becomes irresistible things usually go fairly quickly but by that time you can already have begun to stretch a lot and the perineum is more ready than if you just push straight away. There is some good evidence out there for the use of perineal massage but I have never really used it because if it is going to work you need to be quite committed to doing it and I am too lazy! It is true though that generally you don't feel a tear at the time (unless it is a feeling of, 'oh, thank God, something has happened which means the baby's head has been born!) and that the pain is afterwards. So if you do end up with a tear bathing is wonderfully soothing, especially as people have said with lavender oil in the water. Top tip which my first midwife gave me and I have used every time is when you pee have a jug of warm water ready and pour it over your vagina (it does mean weeing at an odd angle!) at the same time - it dilutes the wee and makes it sting less. That helped me loads. Don't do too much, sit on a soft cushion (or a valley cushion, take paracetamol and remember it passes! Mainly, as people have said anything you can do to help with your fears will be so worth while as you are likely to hold yourself tense (everywhere, including your perineum where you need to relax most) if you feel afraid of pushing so one of the best ways to avoid a tear could be to do classes which might help allay your anxieties. Long rambling answer, sorry!

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No that was brilliant to read, thankyou!! All of you have really put my mind at ease! Not so worried now, think I'm just scared of the unknown! It will all be worth it though! Thankyou again :)

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