Childbirth requires immense body strength and stretch. One of the major issues faced by many women is a perineal tear. Let us find out what a perineal tear is, how you can prevent it, and take care of one.
What is a perineal tear during childbirth?
The perineum is the region between your vagina and the anus. During vaginal deliveries, a perineal tear is a common problem that almost 95% of mothers go through.
This is because, during childbirth, the baby tries to push forward through the birth canal and towards the vaginal opening. The position of the baby is usually headfirst unless they are presenting as breech. Since the head of a baby is the size of a cantaloupe, this forward push results in a tear in the perineum.
Though you may not require a stitch always, most cases require dissolvable stitches to help the area heal faster. Women who are at an increased risk of a perineal tear are:
- First-time mothers, as the perineum is rigid during the first delivery
- Women pregnant with overweight babies
- Women who have had prolonged labor
- Assisted delivery with forceps or vacuum
How long do perineal tears take to heal?
This typically depends on how deep the tear is. Usually, if the perineal tear is a first-degree tear, then it will take 7-10 days, with minimal guidance. However, this increases with the severity of the tear.
If the tear is a third or fourth-degree tear, then it may take months before the mother can resume her normal activities.