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How To Do Perineal Massage?

4 min read

If you are into your final weeks of pregnancy then you would have heard of perineal massage. It is recommended because if you have a stretchable perineum then it reduces your chances of perineal tear during delivery. It may further help you prevent an episiotomy. Continue reading to know how and why to do perineal massage.
perineal massage

  • What Is The Perineum?
  • What Is Perineal Massage?
  • Is Perineal Massage Worth A Try?
  • When To Start Perineal Massage?
  • Benefits Of Prenatal Perineal Massage
  • What You Will Need To Do Perineal Massage?
  • Step By Step Guide To Perineal Massage

What Is The Perineum?

The perineum is the muscle and tissue region of the body, which lies lower to the pelvic diaphragm and between the legs. Perineal area is a diamond-shaped area between the anus and the vagina. During childbirth, the perineum stretches to allow the baby’s head to come out through vagina. Therefore, in most cases, perineum is subjected to trauma and pain during delivery.

What Is Perineal Massage?

Perineal massage is one of the best-researched methods of reducing perineal trauma during a vaginal delivery. As the name implies, this is the massage given to the perineal area. The pregnant women herself can do this or else seek help from her partner. It helps to condition the muscle tissues around perineum area and increases its flexibility helping a more comfortable vaginal delivery. Perineal tears, which are more common among women who are aged thirty years and above, can be reduced if perineal massage is practiced during the final weeks of pregnancy.

Is Perineal Massage Worth A Try?

Yes. If you are in your last trimester, you should definitely give perineal massage a try. Perineal massage is based on the theory that a more stretchable perineum lessens the chances of tearing during vaginal delivery. Perineal massage is safe if done properly. However, it is very important to use adequate lubrication and avoid excessive force. Also if the woman is pregnant for the first time, then perineal massage is works effectively. After undergoing tears or episiotomy during your first delivery, the massage will not give effective results in subsequent pregnancies. This is because the perineum that has scar tissue that is feebler than the tissue that is normal will not respond well to massage and will have more chances of tear in future deliveries. Read: Perineal Tears And Stitches During Childbirth

When To Start Perineal Massage?

Start perineal massage when you are 34 weeks pregnant (starting it earlier than that is not recommended as it will not give the desired results) and should take about 5 minutes to massage the perineum, three to four times a week. By following this strategy, some researches in this field shows that, more mothers ends with an intact perineum.

Benefits Of Prenatal Perineal Massage

Perineal massage done during the final weeks of pregnancy has many potential benefits. Here are some of the benefits of a perineal massage:

  • Avoid tearing: Perineal massage helps to reduce or avoid tearing in the perineum during a vaginal delivery
  • Avoid an episiotomy: Perineal massage considerably decreases the chances of episiotomy in the first delivery
  • Avoid postpartum perineal pain: Some mothers will be subjected to ongoing perineal pain during the first three months of postpartum. Prenatal perineal massage reduces the intensity or avoid the postpartum perineal pain altogether
  • Helps the baby’s head come out fast: Regular massage on perineal area stretches and relaxes the tissue, thereby, increasing its flexibility. Once the muscle is flexible, it will be easier for the pregnant woman to push the baby’s head out smoothly
  • Eases the pain during crowning: Mothers who massage their perineum in the last weeks of pregnancy, experience less stinging sensations and pain during the crowning stage
  • Helps to avoid assisted delivery: As the perineal massage increases the flexibility of the perineal region thereby prompting smooth delivery the chances of assisted vaginal delivery
    where vacuum and forceps are used is reduced considerably
  • Fast recovery: Less tearing means less injury to pelvic floor. Therefore, perineal massage initiates fast recovery of pelvic floor

What You Will Need To Do Perineal Massage?

Before getting started with perineal massage, take care of the following points and get ready with the items mentioned below:

  • Whoever is doing perineal massage, whether it is you, your partner or midwife, should make sure the fingernails are neatly trimmed
  • Only touch gently in the perineal area
  • A clean towel
  • Innocuous, non-toxic, unscented and mild massage oil that do not irritate like coconut oil, almond oil or vitamin e oil
  • Some pillows
  • If you are performing perineal massage by yourself, a mirror is needed to get a clear view of the procedure


Step By Step Guide To Perineal Massage

Taking a bath with lukewarm water just before perineal massage (optional) helps the perineal muscle to soften thereby increasing the efficiency of the massage.

  • Step1: Choose a position that is comfortable for you. While some pregnant woman prefer sitting, some other prefer lying down. Use pillows for additional support and comfort. A semi recline position by bending up the knees and pulling apart the legs is widely chose posture
  • Step 2 : Apply some massage oil on the fingers and thumbs of the person performing perineal massage. Apply some oil on the perineum as well
  • Step3: Now gently put in the thumbs into the vagina as deep as possible and slowly push the perineum area down and against the sides of the vagina until you feel a tingling sensation. This is an indication that the perineum is being gently stretched. Firmly massage in a U-shaped motion. Move from the sides of the vagina downwards to the perineum, and back up again. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
  • Step 4: Repeat for four to five minutes
  • Step 5: Stretch the perineum externally too. For this, place two or three fingers from each hand in the center point of the perineum. Now gently stretch the skin outwards towards the thighs

After starting to perform perineal massage for a couple of weeks, you can see the skin and muscles around the vaginal opening loosened. This is a significant sign that the massage is working.
Did you indulge in perineal massage? Do share your experience in the comments section below.

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