Our perineal massage instructions will help you to learn how to massage your perineum in the lead up to your birth, to help avoid tearing during birth.
The perineum is the strong muscle between the vaginal opening and your anus. It has the ability to stretch during childbirth to allow the baby to be born. Perineal massage doesn’t guarantee you won’t tear, but has been very popular for many years now to help try and prevent it. It will also help you to become familiar with the stretching sensation that you will feel when you birth your baby.
When to Start Perineal Massage
It is recommended you start massaging your perineum from about 32 to 34 weeks, massaging once or twice a day for about 5 minutes. This will help to stretch and condition your perineum, in preparation for birth. After about 36 weeks, it may be easier to ask your partner to try and help you, rather than trying to reach around your baby bump. You may feel some tenderness, particularly if you are very athletic.
Perineal Massage Instructions:
Wash your hands first, and ensure your nails are short. Sit or lean back. You may like to use a mirror, especially to start with. Often women are not very familiar with this part of our bodies.
Gently rub lubricant or a natural oil (almond, olive or Vitamin E are popular, or you can use the specially formulated Weleda Perineum Massage Oil or Peri Balm) into the external skin until soaked in.
If you are massaging yourself, place your thumbs up to about 3cm inside the lower vaginal opening. If you partner is helping, they should use their their first and second fingers). Gently press downwards (towards the anus), and outwards until you feel a slight burning or tingling sensation. It is only a gentle stretch – it should not be painful.
Hold the stretch for about 60 seconds (the average time of a contraction), and then relax. Rest for a minute or two. You can practice using your breathing and relaxation techniques. Your partner may breathe with you to help you focus, and for extra practice.
Benefits of Perineal Massage:
- Perineum becomes more supple and elastic
- Prepares you for the physical and emotional feelings as your baby starts to crown, helping your relax during your labour.
- If you do it together, it gives you an opportunity to communicate about your support
Note: Please do not do perineal massage if you have active herpes or thrush, or if your waters break early.
Perineal Massage Resources:
Birth:Conceiving, Nurturing and Giving Birth to your Baby by Catherine Price & Sandra Robinson
Gentle Birth Method by Gowri Motha
The Natural Way to Better Birth and Bonding by Francesca Naish & Janette Roberts
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