5 Simple Steps: How to Do Perineal Massage Safely and Effectively
Perineal massage can be an incredibly beneficial practice for pregnant women. But it can be hard to know how to do it correctly and safely. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to do perineal massage safely and effectively. In just five simple steps, you can learn how to do perineal massage and give yourself a better chance of having a smooth easy delivery.
1. What is Perineal Massage?
Perineal massage is a technique that involves gently stretching and massaging the perineum – the area between the vaginal opening and the anus – during pregnancy in preparation for childbirth.
The perineum is made up of muscles and tissues that need to stretch during delivery to allow the baby’s head to pass through the vaginal canal.
Perineal massage is typically recommended for women who are giving birth for the first time, have had a previous tear or episiotomy, or have a particularly rigid or tight perineum.
The goal of perineal massage is to make the tissues more flexible and less likely to tear or require an episiotomy during childbirth.
The technique involves using the fingers to gently massage the perineum with a lubricant such as vitamin E oil or a water-based lubricant.
It can be done by the pregnant woman herself, with her partner, or with the assistance of a trained healthcare provider.
While perineal massage may be uncomfortable or awkward at first, with practice and regularity, it can become an easy and beneficial part of a woman’s pregnancy routine.
2. Benefits of Perineal Massage
Perineal massage has numerous benefits that can help prepare the perineum for childbirth and potentially reduce the likelihood of perineal tears and the need for an episiotomy. Here are some of the main benefits:
- Increased Flexibility: Perineal massage helps to increase the flexibility of the muscles in the perineum, making them more elastic and better able to stretch during labor.
- Reduced Risk of Perineal Tears: Perineal massage can reduce the risk of tears and the need for an episiotomy by improving flexibility.
- Improved Blood Flow: Perineal massage can increase blood flow to the perineum, which can help to speed up healing after childbirth.
- Reduced Pain: Regular perineal massage during pregnancy can reduce pain and discomfort in the perineum, particularly in the last few weeks leading up to delivery.
- Increased Confidence: Knowing that you have prepared your perineum for childbirth can help to increase your confidence and reduce anxiety during labor and delivery.
Overall, perineal massage is a simple and effective way to prepare the perineum for childbirth and reduce the risk of complications during delivery. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, the benefits far outweigh any temporary discomfort or awkwardness.
3. When to Start
Perineal massage is a technique that can be beneficial for pregnant women to prepare their bodies for childbirth. However, it’s essential to start at the right time to ensure that it’s safe and effective.
Experts suggest that women should begin perineal massage around 34-35 weeks of pregnancy. This is ideal as it gives enough time for the tissues to stretch and become more pliable before delivery.
Starting too early can lead to discomfort or even pain during the massage. On the other hand, starting too late may not provide enough time for the tissues to stretch, reducing the effectiveness of the technique.
It’s also important to note that perineal massage should not be done if there is a history of herpes, vaginal infection, or active lesions in the perineal area.
Women who have undergone vaginal reconstructive surgery or have scar tissue from previous births should also consult their doctor before doing perineal massage.
It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting perineal massage to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.
They can provide you with specific guidelines and recommendations based on your individual needs.
4. Things to Consider
Before you start doing perineal massage, you should consider a few things to ensure that you do it safely and effectively.
- Consult your doctor: Before you start perineal massage, it’s important to consult your doctor, especially if you have any medical conditions or complications. Your doctor can guide you on whether perineal massage is safe for you and how often you should do it.
- Find a comfortable position: Perineal massage can be done in a variety of positions, including sitting, standing, or lying down. Find a position that is comfortable for you and allows you to reach your perineum easily.
- Use a lubricant: To make perineal massage more comfortable, it’s important to use a lubricant, such as a water-based gel or coconut oil. This will reduce friction and make it easier to massage the area.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Perineal massage can be uncomfortable or even painful at first, so it’s important to practice relaxation techniques to help you cope with any discomfort. Breathing exercises, meditation, or visualization techniques can all be helpful.
- Be gentle: When you’re doing perineal massage, it’s important to be gentle and avoid applying too much pressure. Start slowly and gradually increase the pressure over time as your perineum becomes more flexible.
By taking these considerations into account, you can ensure that you do perineal massage safely and effectively, helping to reduce your risk of tearing during childbirth and promote healing after delivery.
5. How to Do Perineal Massage?
If you’re pregnant and preparing for delivery, perineal massage can help reduce your risk of tearing during delivery and potentially prevent the need for an episiotomy. Follow these five simple steps to do perineal massage safely and effectively:
Step 1: Get Comfortable
Find a comfortable and relaxing position that allows easy access to your perineum. Some popular positions include lying on your back with your knees bent, sitting on the edge of a chair with your knees bent and apart, or squatting against a wall.
Step 2: Apply Lubrication
Use a natural lubricant such as vitamin E, coconut, or water-based lubricant to the perineal area. This will help prevent discomfort or pain during the massage.
Step 3: Insert Your Fingers
Gently insert your thumbs or fingers about 1-2 inches into the vagina and press down towards the rectum. You should feel a stretch or resistance in the perineum.
Step 4: Massage the Perineum
Apply pressure to the perineum while massaging it in a U-shaped motion for 2-3 minutes. This will help increase blood flow to the area, reduce tension, and prepare the perineum for childbirth.
Step 5: Repeat Regularly
Repeat this process two to three times per week for 10-15 minutes at a time. As you approach your due date, you can increase the frequency of the massage to once a day to help stretch and prepare your perineum for delivery.
Remember, perineal massage can be uncomfortable at first, but should not be painful. If you experience pain or discomfort, stop immediately and speak with your healthcare provider. With regular practice and proper technique, perineal massage can be a safe and effective way to prepare your body for childbirth.