Vaginal Laceration



Deep tears may happen during vaginal delivery when:

  • The baby's head is too large to fit through the vaginal opening
  • Labor is very rapid
  • Delivery is done using instruments

Minor tears may also happen during sex or from an injury to the crotch.

Risk Factors

Birth factors that may raise the risk are:

  • Having a very large baby
  • Having a baby for the first time
  • Having had tears with a prior pregnancy
  • Delivery with instruments
  • Baby's shoulder gets stuck

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Putting an object in the vagina
  • Thinning of the vagina



Vaginal tears cause pain and bleeding.


The doctor will see tearing that happens to a woman giving birth.

A woman who is not giving birth will be asked about her symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.



Some tears may heal on their own. Other tears may need to be repaired with stitches.


The risk of this problem may be lowered by massaging the perineum with fingers and a lubricating jelly starting at 34 weeks of pregnancy. This will soften the skin and may help it stretch during labor.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.