Every birth is unique and when it comes to vaginal deliveries, there are more variations than you might imagine—from the woman's position to the baby's orientation to how long it takes to deliver and more.

There is one thing they all have in common, though: a very large (relatively speaking) head must come through a very small opening. This is when the woman's perineum, the skin and muscle between the vagina and the anus, can get torn.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), an estimated 53 percent to 79 percent of vaginal deliveries result in perineal tearing.

There are ways to reduce the likelihood and severity of perineal tears. If they do occur, the right treatment and care will play a big role in the nature and length of recovery.

What increases the risk of perineum tearing?

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