Is there any way to protect against pelvic muscle damage during childbirth?

There may be, and researchers are currently working on some possible strategies.

Doctors have suspected for years, but only just confirmed with MRI, that vaginal deliveries can severely tear the levator ani muscles in the pelvis. These tears, according to a study published in February in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, can lead later in life to uterine prolapse, in which the uterus bulges into and sometimes falls out of the vagina, and possibly to incontinence, or leakage of urine, as well.