Both mother and baby influence the likelihood of perineum tearing
Perineum tearing, when the skin and muscle between the vagina and the anus are torn during childbirth, occurs in 53% to 79% of vaginal deliveries. Dr. Nanette Santoro explains that in the case of vaginal delivery, “it’s really a combination of mother and baby that determines if a tear is going to occur.”
There are four different types of perineum tearing (first through fourth degree) that require interventions ranging from no additional treatment needed to surgical repair.
Influencing factors include the size and orientation of the baby’s head, pace of delivery, mom’s age and a handful of others. Dr. Santoro noted that ultimately, “all of these risk factors are weak. When we review cases of patients who have tears and review their management, sometimes they are present and sometimes they are not.”
Whether women are preparing for delivery or endured an injury while giving birth, their provider can help determine what steps are necessary to decrease risk or aid in recovery.