Is there anything I can do to stop myself tearing or needing to be cut?

Very little. It is simply a matter of your tissues trying to stretch, in a confined place, to allow your baby''s head to come through. Practising pelvic floor exercises will help your muscles to have greater tone, and therefore, ability to stretch. Creams are said to help stretch and lubricate the area and are sold for you to use before labour but there is little evidence to support these claims. The best thing is to try to listen to your midwife, breathe through your pains as the baby''s head emerges, allowing this to happen in as controlled a way as possible.

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