Perineal Massage

This practice has a lot of controversy so I will speak about it from a personal aspect. Again, I will state for clarity that I believe every person should investigate and do what they feel is right for them.

Practicing perineal massage during my pregnancies helped me to prepare my perineum for delivery, and always reduced my risk of tearing.  The practice helped to stretch my perineum so that I experienced minimal stress.

Will I tear is one of the main concerns that I get asked by many expectant mothers that are concerned about being cut or tearing during childbirth.

Stephanie Fritz from “Essential oils for pregnancy, birth and babies” states that “Perineal massage is very much like stretching a balloon before blowing it up”.  She also says that it doesn’t matter if you massage or not, that just putting the oil on your perineum area will make a difference.

What Is Perineal Massage?

If done daily, this technique softens the skin, improves elasticity, and increases the ability of the perineum—the area between the anus and the lower aspect of the vagina—to stretch, leading to less tearing and less need for an episiotomy during a vaginal delivery. The practice can also help a mom-to-be relax her pelvic floor muscles, which is helpful during childbirth.

A 2013 review of studies featured in The Cochrane Collaboration noted that women who practiced this type of massage were 9 percent less likely to experience perineal trauma that required sutures and 16 percent less likely to have to endure an episiotomy.

Mix any of the following with Fractionated coconut oil: Camomile, Geranium, Sandalwood, or my favorite Frankincense. I created a spray with mine and it worked great!

They suggest that you consult with your midwife or OB before beginning the practice.

just make sure you use the oil to moisten the area prior to beginning

Perineal Massage Instructions:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.You don’t want to introduce germs into the birth canal
  2. Cut your fingernails short.The tissues in your vagina and perineal are delicate so cutting your nails short will prevent tearing of these tissues
  3. Prop yourself up in bed.Use pillows if necessary to support your back. Bend your knees and get into a relaxed state. 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.
  4. Use a lubricant.You will need to lubricate your thumbs and the perineal tissues.  Gently rub lubricant or a natural oil (almond, olive, coconut  or Vitamin E are popular, or you can use the specially formulated essential oil blend above in a spray bottle into the external skin until soaked in.
  5. Place your thumbs about 1” (3 cm) inside your vagina.Rest your fingers on your buttocks 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 first and second fingers
  6. Gently Press downwards (towards the anus) and to the sides of the vaginal wall.Hold your thumbs in this position until you begin to feel a slight burning or stretching sensation (usually this occurs in less than 2 minutes). It is only a gentle stretch – it should not be painful.
  7. Slowly and gently massage the lower half of your vagina.Use a “U” shaped movement. Try to relax your muscles while you are performing the massage. 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.
  8. Continue to massage for 10 minutes.It may take up to several weeks of this daily massage before you notice that your perineal area has more elasticity.                                                  

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