I am not a doctor BUT I am a person who has given birth to multiple tiny humans. Needless to say, I do have some experience with labial tears during childbirth. I think it is really important that expecting mothers are fully informed about different types of complications that can happen during labor and what steps they need to take to properly heal their bodies.
What is a Labial Tear
Tears are fairly common during childbirth and there are a couple of different kinds. There are labial tears, first-degree tears, second-degree tears, third-degree tears, and fourth-degree tears. A labial tear is “a tear of the skin or soft tissues that form the vulva. This can include the labia minora or majora or the clitoral hood,” (birthtrauma.org.au). A labial tear is the least common, but it’s still important that expecting moms know about it so they aren’t confused if it happens to them.
Things You Can Do to Prevent Labial Tears During Childbirth
While there is no guarantee that you will be able to prevent a tear during childbirth, there are a couple of different things you can try in the weeks leading up to labor and during labor.
- Perineal massage, you can have your partner do this or do it to yourself starting at the end of your third trimester
- Keeping a warm compress on your perineum throughout labor
- Doing kegels to improve your pelvic floor health
- Taking a birthing class or speaking with your care provider about the proper way to breathe and push, pushing gently and slowly is important
- Talk with your provider ahead of time and let them know you would like to avoid an episiotomy (a surgical incision made in the perineum during labor) if possible
Healing After a Labial Tear
Healing from childbirth is difficult on many levels. If you have a labial tear, it is very important you take things slowly and take proper steps to heal. Labial tears are usually not stitched back together as they will heal on their own, so it is just important to keep the area clean by showering daily and changing your pad often.
There are 2 things that I tell every expecting mom she has to have ready to go in her postpartum kit, stool softner and a peri bottle! These really are a must for any mom who has a vaginal delivery but especially important if you have a tear. The stool softner with help make it so you don’t have to bear down. The peri bottle will help cut down on the stinging feeling when you go pee.
I would also recommend having padsicles or Honey Pot Pot Organic Cotton Herbal Postpartum Pads ready to go. I personally preferred the herbal pads as they provided soothing relief where as the frozen padsicles felt a little too intense on such a sensitive are.
Last but not least, I think every new mom should pay close attention to their overall healing and bring up any concerns with their doctor. If you are having any troubles that seem beyond the scope of your general doctor, there are pelvic floor doctors and therapists that can help you get on the path to healing.
Your body just did an incredibly hard thing! I know that as a new mama, everything you just went through can feel a little overwhelming. If you had a labial tears during childbirth are nothing to be too concerned over. But, it is important not to ignore what is going on with our bodies as they heal so that we can be the best versions of ourselves for our children in all the years to come.
How common are labial tears during birth?
Tears during vaginal delivery are quite common, however, a labial tear is not quite as common as a first or second degree tear.
How long does it take for labial tears to heal?
Labial tears should fully heal about a month after childbirth.
How do you repair a labial tear?
Labial tears are usually not stitched back together as they will heal on their own, so it is just important to keep the area clean by showering daily and changing your pad often.
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