Pregnancy is always an exciting feeling for prospective mothers. You’d love to know how the baby looks, touch their feet, and show how much you love them.
Are you close to your delivery day and wondering how the process will be? Aside from packing a bag of necessities and learning birth delivery tips, you must add a perineal massage to your to-do’s before giving birth.
A perineal massage is essential to prepare your body for childbirth. It works by softening the tissues prone to stretching during vaginal delivery. Ultimately, your birthing process will be more straightforward, giving you more time to spend with your loved ones instead of recovering.
In this guide, you’d learn about perineal massage, its benefits, the right timing, and procedures.
Read: Prenatal Yoga Spots
What is a perineal massage?
Perineal massage stretches and manipulates the tissues around your perineum using fingers.
The purpose is to prepare these tissues for stretching over your baby’s head and body during vaginal birth.
During delivery, your vagina expands to support your baby and returns to its pre-pregnancy size within a few weeks.
However, your perineum, or the pelvic muscle tissues between your vagina and rectum, is a little less pliable and can tear while you are giving birth.
While your baby’s head is passing through the narrow space, the surrounding tissues can tear apart and make your birth delivery harder.
Fortunately, you can prepare for this tear using a prenatal perineal massage.
In summary, the goal of perineal massage is to prepare your pelvic floor for childbirth and make the process smoother.
Benefits of perineal massage
What does a perineal massage do? Here are ways it helps you:
1. Makes your birth delivery easier
You tend to relax better knowing that you have prepared your body for the birth delivery. You will be calm and less anxious because you’re sure the process will be smoother. A perineal massage helps you get into the right state, physically and emotionally, to deliver your baby efficiently.
2. Reduces demand for stitches
Studies show that even the number of sutures necessary to close up tissues is less with perineal massages. That is to say; a perineal massage helps to lessen the severity of tearing that you may experience during labor.
3. Composes your tissues for the task ahead
In addition to increasing blood flow, massage may also aid in stretching the tissues and skin more quickly and comfortably during labor.
4. Assists recovery of scar tissues
Perineal massage is also beneficial for women with stiff perineum. The procedure makes the pelvic area more flexible to eject your baby during childbirth and for athletes who want more flexibility.
At what week should you start perineal massage?
It is best to begin your perineal massage between weeks 34 and 36 of pregnancy. Repeat it as often as possible to ensure the benefits are evident.
You need 5 minutes a session to get the desired results, no matter how often you do it. Consult your physician or midwife if they have any recommendations regarding the timing and frequency of your perineal massage.
Is it worth doing perineal massage?
According to recent studies, a perineal massage during the final month of pregnancy may minimize the incidence of vaginal and perineal rupture and episiotomies.
However, there have only been a few investigations, and the results are still ambiguous.
No evidence states that massages help, but many women assert that it helps pregnancy. The anatomy of childbirth reflects the truth in this.
Anatomically, massaging helps soften the pelvic cavity muscles, making it easier for you to deliver.
How to do a perineal massage
Here’s a step-by-step guide to performing a perineal massage by yourself:
1. Clean your hands
Every massage session should begin with the cleaning of your hands. Use a light soap that won’t irritate the area surrounding your perineum to clean yourself properly. To avoid irritating your skin, it’s a good idea to trim your fingernails short while you’re at it.
2. Choose a convenient position
Make a place for yourself that is both private and inviting. Try performing the massage on a sofa or bed with your legs wide and your knees down to get the best results.
Use a unique pregnant cushion to support your upper body while sitting upright if you prefer that position.
Another alternative is to massage yourself while in the bath, leaning on a stool, or even sitting on the toilet. There are numerous options to try, but ensure it’s safe for you to do the procedure.
3. Begin the massage
After washing your hands and choosing the perfect spot, it is time to begin the massage. Start by applying a personal lubricant to your hands. Then insert one or two fingers, about one to half inches, into your vagina.
Use a mirror to ensure you’re massaging the correct body parts the first few times you do it.
Furthermore, ensure to press your thumbs toward your anus. Continue applying the pressure until you feel a stretching and a burning sensation that is not too intense.
4. Stretch your body
For up to 2 minutes, keep your fingers spread out in this posture. Then, move your thumbs outward and inward in a steady U-shaped motion.
Keep in mind that your vaginal tissues are the primary focus, but you should also be able to feel the experience on the outside.
During the massage, do your best to remain as calm as possible. Relaxing your body and thoughts is necessary for this.
You may become used to the feelings over time as your tissues relax. Keep an eye on the clock, no matter what. You should not spend more than five minutes overall during each massage session.
Consequences of perineal massage
Perineal massage does have some downsides. Firstly, it takes time and effort for results to show.
To reap the benefits of consistent perineal massage throughout the last weeks of pregnancy, you’ll need to do it regularly.
Furthermore, when you massage too forcefully, you risk increasing blood circulation to an already swollen area.
Endnote on perineal massage
Finally, just as preparation is essential to every accomplishment, perineal massage helps your body adjust to the child delivery process. It works by stretching the muscles around your perineum, which will expand for your baby’s head to come out.