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Perineal Tear with Delivery

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is a perineal tear?

A perineal tear can occur during vaginal delivery. The perineum is the area that includes your vagina and anus. There are 4 different types of perineal tears that may occur during delivery.

What increases my risk for a perineal tear?

There is no way to know if you will have a perineal tear during delivery. Your risk may be increased if it is your first vaginal birth or you deliver a large baby. Your risk is also greater if your baby is in a position other than the usual head-down position during delivery. Your risk may also be increased if you have had a perineal tear during a previous vaginal delivery.

How is a perineal tear treated and managed?

First or second degree tears may require a few stitches. Third or fourth degree tears will require surgery to repair damage to the anal sphincter and tissues underneath. You may need pain medicine to decrease pain. You may need to take laxatives or stool softeners to make it easier for you to have a bowel movement. This can help decrease pain during bowel movements.

How is a perineal tear managed at home?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.