Slide show: Vaginal tears in childbirth
Illustration of a vagina and anus
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Vaginal tears during childbirth, also called perineal lacerations or tears, occur when the baby's head is coming through the vaginal opening and is too large for the vagina to stretch around. These kinds of tears are relatively common.

Tears that involve only the skin around the vagina typically heal within a few weeks. Some tears are more extensive and take longer to heal. If the pain seems excessive or gets worse, contact your health care provider. Excessive pain could be a sign of infection.

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