What Affects Tearing in Birth?

I’ve talked about push prep (super in-depth in my KnockedUp Fitness Program) and how to prepare for an easier birth, but today I wanted to talk about what actually affects tearing in birth. 

There are 3 things I want to cover that I have found are really critical when it comes to having a positive or negative impact on tearing during birth. After working with 100’s of moms with all different birth experiences, I’ve really found that these 3 things can make or break tearing with a vaginal delivery. Here’s a video with all this info if you prefer to watch:

What Impacts Tearing in Vaginal Births 

1. Having Too Tight of a Pelvis and Pelvic Floor 

So many women believe that their pelvis and pelvic floor are “weak” so they try to strengthen by doing Kegels. But, moves like Kegels can actually create tightness and imbalance in your pelvis. 

Another cause of a tight pelvic floor is constantly tucking your pelvis. In a lot of fitness and barre classes, you are taught to tuck your pelvis in and squeeze. If you’re doing this all the time, it’s causing too much restriction in your pelvis. 

If you’re too tight when it comes time to push at birth, it’s harder for the pelvis and pelvic floor to soften and open up to allow the baby to come out easily. Instead of doing these common moves to strengthen your pelvic floor, instead learn how to activate, release and soften your pelvic floor. I have a blog post all about that RIGHT HERE.

2. Pushing Baby Out Too Quickly 

I get it, moms, sometimes you just want that baby out! With my first baby, I only pushed for 10 minutes. But looking back, I wish I could have taken more time. My baby was under no stress, there was no emergency that was causing a rush. I should add that if you are in a situation like that, please keep your baby safe by any means and work with your doctor to push quickly. 

In reality, we want to give our body time to release, relax and open up to allow baby to come out easily and not by force. We want to work with our bodies and not be so forceful. Once your body is fully dilated, allowing contractions to open and soften your perineum and pelvis is a good thing. Giving your body a couple of pushes to allow everything to start to open up is really beneficial. Let your uterus do the majority of the work and allow your baby to come out when your body is ready.

Every mom and baby are different, but time and time again I’ve seen that 30 minutes is about the sweet spot to really open up and prevent tearing. Even if you tear, there are so many varying degrees of tearing. Any move you make to minimize the severity of tearing can have so many positive outcomes on your recovery early postpartum. 

What I do advise against is pushing for hours (learn how to be more effective at pushing here). This puts so much stress on both baby and mom. The stress can add more inflammation to your pelvis, which increases the likelihood of tearing. 

3. Holding Your Breath While Pushing 

Holding your breath through the pushing process adds extra stress to the pelvic floor. To experience what this feels like, stand up and hold your breathe. Then, try to exert energy downward. You’ll feel pressure downward and your pelvic floor will grip and grab. 

Holding your breath makes you more forceful with your body. As mentioned above, we want to work with our body and not against it. Use your breath to assist your body through pushes, but in a relaxing and releasing way. Exhale as you push to allow softening and opening through your pelvis. 

I want to add a quick note about episiotomies. If you don’t know what this is, look it up and do your own research. Ask your doctor about their position on episiotomies beforehand. From my own personal experience and through my experience with many moms, I recommend asking your doctor to only do one as a last resort. This is because episiotomies can result in so much scarring and really affect your healing. If you discuss the above techniques with your doctor, episiotomies can mostly be avoided. 

Birth Preparation is Life Preparation

There is so much knowledge and prep work you can do prior to pregnancy and birth. If it feels overwhelming to you, just know that even a little nugget of info can help you. If you’ve found this blog post a week or just days before you’re giving birth, that’s great! You can use some of these tips for an easier birth process. 

Preparing for birth through movement and mindfulness can help you prepare for life as a mom. There is so much physicalness to being a mom that we have to prep for. I want to help you prepare so you don’t have to deal with the aches and pains that are so common among moms. 

Both life and birth won’t always go according to plan. My advice is to visualize and prepare. I help you do all of this through my KnockedUp Fitness prenatal and postnatal program. I don’t only cover the physical preparation for birth, but the mental aspects too. Find out more and sign up HERE

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