perineum tears

5 things you need to know about perineum tears

Perineum tears are a reality that many, many folks face during vaginal birth.

Your perineum is the space between your vagina and your anus. When you get a perineum tear it will occur when you’re pushing your baby out of your vagina. Sometimes the skin doesn’t adjust enough or your baby has a larger head, and you tear.

The thought of a perineum tear might make you cringe, and believe me, I’m right there with you.

There are four degrees of perineum tears:

First degree:

This is when the perineum tear only (I say “only” lightly, believe me) affects the perineal skin. This type of tear may or may not require stitches.

Second degree:

This is when the tear goes through the perineal skin and into the muscle (and possibly into the vagina). This tear usually requires stitches.

Third degree:

This tear goes from the vaginal opening to the muscle that surrounds the anus. It’s likely that you’ll require anaesthetic and surgery for this tear.

Fourth degree:

(Give me a second….this one’s a doozy…) This tear is fucked up, I don’t even understand how it is a thing, and I’m sorry to anyone who’s experienced one. This perineal tear runs from your vagina, through the anal sphincter, and into the mucous membrane that lines the rectum. This tear almost entirely will require surgical repair. Don’t worry, these tears are not common.

The healing time entirely depends on the degree of perineum tear you experience, your body, and your healing process.

Can you avoid perineum tears?

So, yes and no. There are ways that you can stretch your perineum while you’re pregnant like in this post about vagina yoga, however, there’s really no telling how big your baby’s head is going to be and how your body is going to respond to birth.

So, what does it feel like to have a perineum tear?

I tore with my first and second babies. They were second degree tears that required a few stitches. By my third and fourth baby, my vagina apparently learned her lesson and I didn’t have any tears.

I can’t say you’re going to “know” when you tore. When your baby is passing through the vaginal opening it hurts. It’s not called the ring of fire for nothing! The pain almost numbs the area so that if you do have a perineum tear you don’t really feel it happen, though.

I can’t speak to a third or fourth-degree tear, but I imagine it would make things more painful.

What happens after you have a perineum tear?

Perineum tears happen to a lot of folks who have a vaginal birth. These are 5 things you need to know about perineum tears!

Again, depending on the degree of tear your recovery will look different.

For first and second degree tears you might need stitches. If this is the case you’ll receive a local anesthetic and then be sutured.

For a third and fourth-degree tear, depending on the severity, you may require a surgery to repair the tear. In this case, your healthcare professional will have a conversation with you regarding how to go about healing your perineum tear.

How can you recover from a perineum tear?

(There are some affiliate links in these suggestions. I am not being paid to endorse these products-I do it because I believe in them-however, I may receive compensation at no cost to you if you purchase through the links)

-Use a peri-bottle instead of wiping. Pat yourself dry instead of wiping. Air dry if you can. Apply some perineum balm after you’re dried off.

-Eat lots of fibrous foods so that you don’t get constipated and feel the need to bear down

Use a perineum spray from Earth Mama Angel.

-Change your pad every 4 hours or so. Make sure that the adrea is clean.

-Leave your stitches alone. If you’re up to it, take a peek with a mirror because it’s kinda crazy cool that you have badass stitches that nobody (?) will get to see, but for the most part avoid touching them.

-Give a sitz bath a go.

(Add this herbal mix to make it even more effective!)

when you're overdue

Things not to do when you’re overdue

When you’re given a due date it’s hard to deal when that date comes and goes and suddenly you’re overdue.

The average typical gestation is 40 weeks. Of course, this is an average but it’s funny how hopeful we become when we’re immensely uncomfortable and supposed to get relief on a certain day.

Let me tell you, once you’ve reached your due date you reach a whole new level of “get this kid out of me”.

If you’re like me you’ve had 1, or 2, 3, or 4 babies AFTER your due date, so reading on, please do understand that I’m VERY empathetic to your situation!

Things NOT to do while waiting for your overdue baby:

15 ways your body changes after birth (that nobody else will tell you)


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Forget that your “due date” is actually an “estimated due date”.

I’m sorry to tell you, but there’s no real sure-fire way to know when your baby will come unless you have a scheduled cesarean.

Jump on the trampoline.

Seriously, you can barely waddle my way up the stairs. You’ll more than likely break something if you start jumping on the trampoline and it won’t likely be your water.

Have sex, go for long walks, and eat spicy food.

Ok, so none of those things are actually a bad idea unless you figure doing all 3 at the same time would be most effective. (*Avoid sex if your water has broken, you have vaginal bleeding, or you’ve been told by your healthcare professional to avoid it.)

Tell anyone when your due date was.

Of course, you're getting super excited to meet your baby, but there are a few things you shouldn't do when you're overdue!

The sympathetic looks and “hang in there” comments won’t make the baby come any faster, and it’ll just get increasingly more annoying. You’ll also likely get daily phone calls from your family asking if the baby is born yet. My suggestion: Let them know that you have not had the baby yet and that you will certainly let them know…in your voicemail message.

Beg, threaten, or bribe baby.

Trust me, your baby doesn’t care if you’re willing to give it $100.

Eat baby out of house and home.

The 45 lbs of raspberries on the counter seems like an appropriate way to overcrowd baby. Nope. You’ll get a massive bellyache in your massive belly bump…and still no baby.


Unfortunately, the only thing you can really do is…WAIT. Ahhh, I know. That’s not what you wanted to hear, but your baby will come when they’re ready.

In the meantime, take advantage of the things you can do when you’re overdue:


-Finish getting ready for baby

-Make some freezer meals

-Use your belly to get you to the front of the coffee line up

-Enjoy those last few times of telling people you’re not pregnant when they ask when you’re due


Did anything work for you to encourage your baby to come?