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Protecting Your Perineum, with Rachel Reed

The Birthful Podcast: Episode #38

The thought of vaginal tearing can make any woman cringe. And let’s not even think about episiotomies. Are there ways to avoid tearing? What’s the evidence behind perineal massage? Will being told how to push make things worse? Rachel Reed tells us more about protecting your perineum during birth.

To listen here, click the play button on the player above, or click the button below to listen in iTunes.


What we talked about:

  • Perineal massage: might help, might hurt, may increase your confidence.
  • Episiotomies: a thing of the past (hopefully!
  • During pregnancy, what may increase your risk of tearing in the pushing stage of labor? What may reduce it?
  • During birth, what may increase your risk of tearing? What may reduce it?
  • What really happens down there when you push in a hospital: the (useless?) management of second stage of labor.
  • Things to include in your birth plan that can lessen your chances of tearing
  • Why you should let your body do the pushing
  • Are tears really all that bad?


Links for more on protecting your perineum:


Links to the research that Rachel mentioned on the podcast:

(Thank you Rachel for passing these along!)



Image of Rachel Reed
Courtesy of Rachel Reed
About Rachel Reed

Dr Rachel Reed is a Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast and a homebirth midwife. She has practiced midwifery in a range of models and settings in the United Kingdom and Australia. Rachel is committed to the promotion of physiological birth, and of women’s innate ability to birth and mother. Rachel has written articles for journals, magazines and websites, and presented at many conferences and study days. She is also the author of the MidwifeThinking blog site.

Find out more on her blog, follow her tweets at @MidwifeThinking, or join the conversation on her Facebook page.

Adriana Lozada


Perineal Protectors? | MidwifeThinking

[…] You can download a poster (literature review) of common midwifery practices during birth here and listen to me discuss protecting the perineum on the Birthful podcast. […]