13 Ways To Avoid The Ring Of Fire During Birth

Comments (15)
  1. Elmi says:

    Great article, thank you, I will definitely keep these pointers in mind (some of which I didn’t know — wish I did with my first one!)

  2. Valeriana says:

    Very very warm water compresses on a burning perineum is Homeopathic. It’s the law of similars, in other words ‘like cures like’ with the addition an some oil in the water like calendula baby oil it’s vet soothing the supportive of the stretching tissue. Mom love it!!

  3. ashleigh says:

    This is dumb, avoid an episiotomy ? .. well duh, you don’t try to have an episiotomy or forceps, it’s a last resort that is used, you cant just have a tip as ‘avoid’ – that’s ridiculous.

    1. Susannah Birch says:


      I’m glad to hear you live somewhere that episiotomies are used only as a last resort.
      Unfortunately, in many countries, they’re still often used as a standard part of labor, whether they’re needed or not.

    2. Erin says:

      I certainly would never use these methods unless a last resort. There are many people however that do something solely because a doctor says so without asking questions or having knowledge about it, and plenty of doctors who go to these interventions when it may not be necessary. So someone recommending avoidance can be good advice for someone who wouldn’t know better otherwise.

      If you are going to spend time commenting or replying you would be doing yourself and others a favor by making it constructive criticism rather than bashing.

    3. Erin says:

      Hi, actually I worked in labor and delivery and doctors can be very impatient I had a doc that routinely did episiotomys. And almost all of my docs used kiwis or vaccumed the baby out because they were too impatient to let it happen naturally they would tell the moms what they were going to do and the mother’s went along with it becuase they thought it was best for the baby when there was no need for intervention

  4. Thanks for writing this up! These are great tips. Slower breathing helped me cope with that undeniable urge to push with my second baby.

  5. Sarah says:

    This isn’t right at all. I’m not saying my birth wasn’t painful, it was, but I have never experienced the “ring of fire”. I had no perineal massage. I pushed through the pain (hey, it pushed the pain away). I had no one supporting my perineum. I was nowhere near water. I didn’t moan or scream, I grunted. I pushed so hard I broke all the capillaries in my face. I think I bit down on my lip when I pushed. I did hypnobirthing while pregnant, but that went all out the window during labor. I had an episiotomy and had my babies on my back. No pain until it was time to push, then intense pain, but no ring of fire. Everyone is different. We’re so used to being able to control things but in labor you have no control.

    1. Jessica says:

      I had an epi with my 1st. My 2nd I was drugged up and don’t remember it at all. With my 3rd I was also given pain meds which didn’t help at all, other than putting me to sleep in between contractions. All I remember from that labor/delivery was the ring of fire. I remember screaming “it burns, it burns, it fucking burns!!!!” I didn’t “tear” in the traditional sense, my skin under my labia butterflied. It still remains the worse experience I’ve had so far while giving birth. I had an epi with my last labor (#4) and I’m now 33 weeks 4 days with #5 and am planning a natural water birth and the main thing I’m scared of if that horrid “ring of fire”. Even with the epi with my 4th my midwife massaged my perineum and applied pressure. I didn’t feel much. But it did feel like my clit was going to split open. I didn’t tear or anything and she came out pretty fast. Her head was perfectly round which everyone found amazing for a vaginal birth. Anyway. That’s AWESOME that there’s ladies out there that have never felt the ring of fire. But it does exist. I am very thankful for these tips and advise and pray they work for me in 6 weeks when I deliver my baby girl. And actually you have more control over your birth than you care to realize. Which is why I stopped seeing OBs/GYNs and started going to midwives. And also why I’m considering an unassisted home water birth. Sad it took me so long to realize and learn that I do have a say in how I labor and deliver.

  6. Erin says:

    I am a mother of two and gave birth naturally with a midwife both times. Both births were a different experience completely. Labor and delivery with my second was much easier. I had already experienced it before, I was much more rested, no back labor as I had with the first, and she was 1 lbs. 1 oz lighter with a smaller head by 2 inches. So for the second I really didn’t experience the ring of fire. I did however experience the ring of fire with my first and used a few “tools” from your list. I appreciate your tips and think they are can all be helpful. I also helped myself during delivery while the head was crowning and we were almost there. I pushed with my contraction and when my contraction stopped instead of relaxing completely I continued a small amount of pushing just to keep the pressure of baby’s head on the perineum to allow the perineum a little time to stretch slowly. This really helped me. My biggest fear of the delivery was tearing and I believe this helped greatly to prevent any tearing. My son was 8lbs 7oz with a 15 inch head circumference. I only share this in the case that it may help someone else. If it doesn’t feel right to you than don’t use it.

  7. Leesa says:

    Hmmm…I had 2 drug free deliveries and as excruciatingly painful as they were, I never experienced the ring of fire. Never even heard of it until now. Hope I don’t find out what it feels like when i deliver this baby!

  8. Taylor says:

    I would never have thought of putting olive oil down there to help you stretch for delivery. Very interesting fact.

  9. Laura says:

    You can also use a device called an epi-no. I used it before my three births. It stretches the vagina and the ‘ring’ to up to 34cm and I can almost guarantee that you will not push for longer than 5 minutes. It also prevents damage to your muscles such as fistulas or tearing. Use it from 34 or 36 weeks until birth. Your vagina will heal faster and you are much less likely to develop incontinence as well.

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