It's important to prepare the perineum (the area between the vagina and the rectum but specifically the lower, outer edge of the vaginal canal) for birth. During birth, the perineum is required to stretch quite a bit to accommodate the advancing baby's head and shoulders.
The more you condition the perineum for this part of the birth, the lower your risk of tearing or episiotomy. Here's all you need:
- clean hands, fingers and trimmed nails!
- Use olive oil, coconut oil, vitamin E, or personal lubricant (avoid mineral- or petroleum-based oils or products)
- Develop your technique (see http://www.babycenter.com/404_can-perineal-massage-help-me-avoid-an-episiotomy_1955.bc)