Perineal massage is a beneficial practice for expecting new mamas. It can be done by yourself or your partner. It is a simple massage of the vaginal area and do not need experts. Perineal massage has a lot of benefits as experience by women during and post delivery. It is done usually in the later stages of pregnancy. Edible oil is generally used for this massage. But there are a few precautions to the way you do this massage. Not doing the massage in the right way can cause complications. Keep reading to know everything about perineal massage.
What is perineal massage?
It is a simple massage that aims to loosen the muscles in your vaginal area. The motive behind this kind of massage is to stretch the vaginal muscles for an easy delivery. Scientific study shows that if you do the massage daily in the last 4 weeks of your pregnancy, it will ensure a smooth delivery without any damage to your vaginal area. This gentle massage done by your fingers helps to keep the tissues around your vagina supple. This flexibility makes it possible for the tissues to expand without damage during labor.
How is it done?
- The first step is to make sure that your nails are trimmed and your hands are clean.
- Apply edible vegetable oil or vitamin E oil on your fingers and thumbs. Also apply the oil on the entrance of your vagina.
- Now you need to put your thumbs inside your vagina. You have to press your thumbs towards your perineum. You must apply some pressure on that area with your thumbs till you feel any tingling sensation.
- Now massage your perineum in a U-shaped motion. You can move downwards from the sides of your vagina, and then up again.
- Do this continuously for a minute the first time. As you keep practicing, you can increase the time to about 5 minutes.
- It is important to do this in a comfortable position. You can try sitting down or lie on a bed. Even doing this in shower will help as warm water will relax your perineal muscles.
When should you start?
The ideal time to start your perineal massage is around 34-35th week of your pregnancy. Doing this massage every day for about 5 to 10 minutes will work like magic. It is most effective if it is your first delivery.
If you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself, you can ask your partner to help. But it is always safe to consult your doctor before staring the perineal massage. This will prevent any complications in case you have any medical condition from beforehand.
- Close to your labor, your vaginal muscles stretch out to accommodate the coming out of your baby. Mostly, this results in the tearing of your vagina. It can be very severe too and difficult to heal. Perineal massage prevents this situation. This massage relaxes and makes the muscles and tissues flexible.
- One of the greatest benefits of perineal massage is that it prevents episiotomy. Episiotomy is necessary for the tearing of the vaginal area during labor. Once the muscles tear during vaginal delivery, it can take a lot of time to heal. The process is painful also. Perineal massage is a boon for pregnant women as it prevents this complication.
- This massage also helps you to avoid the use of forceps or vacuuming during labor. Perineal massage during pregnancy can ensure a safe and easy delivery of your baby.
- Since your perineum is flexible during labor, it actually puts less pressure on your baby’s head. Perineal massage therefore keeps your baby safe from any harm during labor.
- Perineal massage also keeps your pelvic floor healthy. This way it can heal faster after childbirth. You can also get back to your regular life very soon.
- Perineal massage can also soften your skin.
- Mostly perineal massage is considered a safe practice. However, if you have herpes or a history of herpes, doing perineal massage can prove harmful. The infection can spread through your urinary tract and cause severe health complications for you and the baby. It is better to check with your doctor before starting on this massage.
- Using excessive force on your perineum can prove extremely harmful.
- Sometimes perineal massage can cause infections in the vagina.
- Use proper lubrication while massaging. Edible oils are preferable. If you are unsure of what oil to use, ask your doctor to suggest.
- Keeping your hands and nails clean is very important. Hygiene is vital to prevent any kind of infection. Make sure to wash your hands well before you start.
- Avoid using extra force on your perineum. This can be harmful for you.
- Do not do this massage if you had a miscarriage before. A history of preterm labor and premature rupture of membranes is also a strict no-no for perineal massage.
- If you have any kind of infection, it is best you avoid this massage. Perineal massage can further complicate the infection.
- If there is discharge from your vagina, it is best you skip the massage and consult your doctor. It can be an indication of a serious medical condition.
- While doing the massage, if you feel contractions immediately stop it. Consult your doctor about this.
Perineal massage can help a pregnant woman in various ways. It can ease the delivery process, ensure a safe delivery and also prevent possible damage to your tissues. Perineal massage is not unusual for women, especially first time mamas to have mild to severe tear during labor. It has been scientifically proven that women who practice perineal massage are 9 percent less likely to have perineal tear than those who did not.
They are also 16 percent less likely to go through an episiotomy. However, sometimes perineal massage may not prevent tearing during labor. Birth is highly unpredictable in nature. It can also cause some problems if not done properly. It is best to take the advice of your physician before starting.