Monday, November 23, 2009

Ring of Fire

The Ring of Fire, also called the Rim of Fire, occurs when the baby's head is coming out of the vaginal opening and does not recede (Crowning stage).  During this stage the perineal tissue is stretching the most. This stage is characterized by an intense burning sensation known as the ring of fire.

At this point women are anxious to keep pushing and "just get the baby out," but the best course of action would be to allow the tissue to stretch and expand slowly, in an attempt to prevent too much tearing.

Other methods of coping with the rim of fire are any type of perineum stretching during pregnancy, such as perineal massage or the EPI-NO.

Some women feel this with every birth and some have it at one birth but not another. Some women don’t feel it at all.  To be prepared, one can learn to relax through the stretching/pressure/burning of the moment by preparing with the above-noted methods.

Kathy at Woman to Woman Childbirth Education describes how it feels:
"Open your mouth as wide as you can and hold it. Now, put your fingers in the corners of your mouth and pull your mouth wider until you feel stretching or burning. Now, imagine that at your vaginal opening. That is similar to what you might feel when your baby is born."


  1. haha wow I definitely just did the mouth thing-- that could be useful for the father to do to better empathize with his wife!

    THIS IS SO INFORMATIVE I LOVE YOUR BLOG and I'm not even pregnant yet!! :)

  2. Water is your friend. Crowning was VERY comfortable during my second birth and I am convinced it was partly b/c I was in water. It was SO comfortable that I had no idea just HOW MUCH of her head had already been born. I was aware that it was on the way out, so I put my hand down there.... and the a lot of the head was already out! I could feel her nose....

    Had I got out to birth "on land" I had planned to have someone support my perineum veeerrrryy gently with warm wet cloths :)

    I did no "purple pushing" either, I was at home, relaxed, confident and I stayed upright and pushed gently as and when felt "right". I am sure these things also factored in to why crowning was fairly comfy and there was no tearing. :)


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