A large proportion of women tend to tear to some extent during childbirth, the chance is 80-90%. Read more about it in the brochure ‘Cutting and tearing during childbirth’. We are often asked if tearing can be prevented. Things to consider are a perineum massage or using an EPI-NO®. We checked for scientific evidence for these methods.
Below you will find a summary of several studies from 2013:
“The application of antenatal perineum massage and the antenatal use of the EPI-NO® could not demonstrate a protective effect against the occurrence of full ruptures. However, both interventions have shown a favourable influence on the risk of minor ruptures and the need for a medio-lateral episiotomy.” (an episiotomy is another word for incision)
In 2016, the results of 5 different studies on the effects of EPI-NO® were published. However, it was found that the EPI-NO® does not prevent against the need for cutting and the occurrence of perineal ruptures. For that reason, we cannot professionally recommend an EPI-NO®, but the option is there if you wish.
If you are interested in trying the perineum massage method, you will find more information here. There is also an instructional video here (in English).
It is therefore possible that perineum massage can help to prevent smaller ruptures and the need for cutting. The decision to try perineum massages or not, is up to you.