Avoiding Tearing During Labor and Delivery
Tearing means that the vaginal tissue, usually between the lower vagina and rectum, tears. These tears can be surgically repaired. Episiotomy, a deliberate surgical cut in the vagina, used to be done routinely to avoid tears, but research has shown that episiotomy does not reduce the incidence of tears during labor and delivery. You can still tear despite an episiotomy.
Tearing is more common with forceps and vacuum extraction deliveries. It's also more common for first-time vaginal deliveries and when women give birth flat on their backs.
One way to lessen the chances of tearing is to be relaxed and well supported during pushing, and to know how to relax your throat and pelvis. You can also lessen the odds of tearing by massaging your perineum during labor and delivery.