Perineal tears are very common side effect amongst mothers going through vaginal birth for the first time. However, there are many ways to prevent perineal tears.
How on earth is my body going to open and stretch to the degree required to give birth? I hear that a lot.
I am curious if you wondered the same thing when you found out you were pregnant:
- How on earth is my body going to be able to stretch to accommodate a growing person?
- Will I be covered in stretch marks?
- How big will my boobs get?
And then here you are, 37 weeks along and about ready to give birth.
What did your body do?
Gradually, step-by-step, it stretched to accommodate that incredible growing person inside.
Your organs moved to the side, and your stomach muscles separated to allow the space the baby needed.
Our bodies are designed to accommodate pregnancy just like they are designed to accommodate birth.
Your vagina is an incredible shape shifter as well
Rather than a straight ‘tube,’ it is made up of intricate folds that are designed t expand, open, receive, and gently hug whatever is there: a finger, penis, or baby.
What makes this expanding and opening for gentle hugging easier?
- Healthy tissues
During birth your yoni will naturally be lubricated with birth juices. Your amniotic water may be leaking with each surge, your mucus plug might be coming out bit by bit, or you might have some spotting as your baby’s head nudges your cervix open. Or you might even have the moist cushion of the amniotic sac still surrounding the baby’s head if your waters haven’t opened.
It is common to hold a lot of tension in our perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) without even knowing it. Fears, stresses, and business often get held or stored there.
During pregnancy it is very productive to take time to begin increasing our awareness of body sensations. Noticing when we are relaxed and when we are tense. Noticing where that tension is and practicing ways to relax it, to let it go.
That is true for the whole body: face, jaw, shoulders, belly, and also the perineum.
Ina May Gaskin, a famous America home birth midwife, says it is impossible to tear the perineum during birth if you have a huge smile when your baby is being born. This is something I have noticed a lot in my practice as well.
Then we need to learn ways to cope with the intensity of the stretch and still be able to relax with the sensation and even smile? Yes!
‘An avocado a day keeps the tears away!’
Healthy fats are important for good tissue integrity. Having good tissue integrity is what helps those beautiful tissues to increase their ability to stretch.
I have noticed working in many cultures and countries that communities who have less HEALTHY fats as part of their diet tend to tear easier during birth because their tissue integrity is not as stretchy as it could be.
Healthy fats include:
- Coconut oil
- Nuts: Cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts
- Flax seeds/oil
- Butter and Ghee
Help your tissues prepare for birth with incorporating these healthy fats into your diet every day. Preventing perineal tears starts in your diet!
Make healthy fat smoothies and snacks part of your routine.
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