Protecting Your Perineum During Labor

Your perineum is the area between your vagina and anus. You may not think about it very much, or ever, but you should if you’re pregnant.  During labor, it is vital that your baby is able to easily pass through your vaginal canal with minimal damage being done to you. To ensure that this happens, some doctors will perform an episiotomyThis is where they cut the perineum to allow for as much stretching as possible, as seen in the example below.

Episiotomy Perineum Cutting Example

Once cut, it is easier for your baby to come through and there is less overall damage to your vaginal canal. The issue is that the damage then moves to the perineum itself. The risks associated with this can be huge, but you can avoid them as much as possible by massaging your perineal area prior to giving birth. This will make it easier for you to bring your child into the world without the risks of tearing and cutting occuring.

Massaging Your Perineum Can Prevent Tearing

A perineal massage works it’s magic by stretching your perineum. By massaging this area a few months before giving birth, you can improve the stretching and overall strength of your vaginal canal. This will ensure that you can give birth without having an episiotomy performed. Since it is easy and effective, not requiring any investment other than a few minutes every day, you can do it with minimal hassle and worries.

While a perineal massage will not work for everyone, the fact that it does not require any big financial investment makes it worth a shot. To gain the most from it, you will want to begin doing it when the time is right, which for most women is during the final term of their pregnancy. Once started, you will want to do it every day, as this increases the chances of it working for you.

Luckily, a perineal massage is easy to work into your daily schedule, so there is no real reason to skip it. If you feel that you cannot reach or if you have trouble managing this on your own, you can always ask your partner for assistance. Trust us when we say you’ll be happy that you did. Taking a small amount of time out of each day to ensure a tear-free childbirth and a healthy perineum is more than worth it.

Perineum Massage: When to Start

Perineum Massage ExampleMassaging your perineum regularly while pregnant will make it a lot easier for your vagina to stretch during labor, which will help you avoid the risk of needing to have an episiotomy performed. With the risk of tearing during labor being quite high, it is definitely worthwhile to try a perineum massage during your final trimester. It will give you the benefits that you want without requiring you to take medication, do anything severe, or put in any extra money.

Either You or Your Partner Can Perform The Perineum Massage

You will experience the benefits either way, so the sooner you get started the better. You cannot start doing it too late as that may leave you without the desired benefits, nor do you want to start too early as that may be a waste of time better spent preparing for the birth of your child. Many experts agree that around 6 months is when you should start doing the massages. Of course, you can attempt them earlier if you want to make sure that the benefits are as effective as possible. Get a good start on it and then make sure you perform the massage daily. Try to work it in to your schedule as best as you can so that you never miss a day.

A Perineum Massage Will Help Your Vagina Stretch

Continuous massaging of the perineal area during pregnancy will help you to improve its strength for when you go into labor. You will not have to worry as much about tearing or having an episiotomy performed. An episiotomy, the cutting of the perineum, does have negative side effects. Avoiding this, as well as any other issues related to a torn perineum, is important. A well-executed perineum massage will help you to keep this area strong and ready to stretch for when your baby is ready to come out, and you will have a much better time in recovery.

Remember That a Perineum Massage Might Not Work For Everyone

Some people will not see the desired benefits from their massages, regardless of how well done the massage is or when you start. It will improve stretching and overall strength, but you should go in knowing that not all results are the same. Some people will see a positive difference, and since it’s only a matter of time investment, it is worth trying. All in all, the potential advantages really do make this worth the effort and time that you will put into it.

Pregnancy and Perineal Massages

Pregnancy Perineal Massage Facts

Labor is a stressful time. Whether you’re a first time mother or you have had one, or several, children in the past, you know that this is not something to take lightly. To ensure that the experience goes smoothly, you’ll want all of your lady-parts working their very best. One part you may not think about very often, if ever, is your perineum. This is the area between your anus and your vagina, which a doctor may consider cutting during labor to improve stretching and minimize the overall damage to your vaginal area. The cutting of this area is called an episiotomy. While it may assist in stretching, it does leave damage on its own accord that most women want to avoid, and performing a perineal massage on a daily basis can greatly decrease the odds of this occurring.

To avoid this damage, many experts believe that performing regular perineal massages isn’t just recommended, but vital. This is a method that involves kneeding the perineum and improving its overall strength. When the area can move around a little more easily, you can give birth without having to damage your body too much in the process. Thus, during labor, your doctor will not have to do anything other than making sure your baby is healthy.

While a perineal massage isn’t guaranteed to work for everyone, they are a simple enough process that can greatly increase the chances of giving birth without any unnecessary complications, and they can also greatly aid in improving the overall birthing process.

Understand That Perineal Massages Are Natural And Free!

They do not require you to put in a ton of money or very much time and effort. Simply relax and massage the area daily, starting a few months before giving birth. There is no medication, no surgery, no equipment, and nothing extra to use (other than a lubricant of choice should you think it’s necessary). All you need is your hands, a comfortable position, and a little free time every day. You can also have a partner perform the massage to make it even easier on you.

These massage are simple and effective.

There is no reason for you not try out a perineal massage when there is so much to gain with so little input. Anyone can do them, but if you are extra concerned about the risk of an episiotomy during birth, you will definitely want to put some of your time into this. It will greatly improve the strength of your perineum with very little effort. By doing this one little thing every day up until you give birth, starting just a few months prior, you can decrease the chance of damage or complications when bringing your child into the world. Remember…your health and happiness matters just as much as your child’s does!

Perineal Massages: Understanding The Benefits

Facts on Massaging Perineal Massages

A perineal massage is often used during pregnancy near the end of the final term. It helps increase a womans ability to stretch, which can help with tearing and lower the need for an episiotomy.  These types of massages can be a great thing to do to prevent yourself from tearing during labor, but you need to make sure that you are doing it properly and that you are taking care to be clean and hygienic.

Performing a Perineal Massage – A  Refresher on The Steps

  • The first thing that you should do when performing a massage of your perineal area is make sure that you have clean hands and trimmed nails. After all, you wouldn’t want to cause an infection by having sharp or dirty nails
  • Next, it is often recommended that you use your preferred type of lubricant while performing the massage. Almond oil, for instance, is a great choice.
  • Now you can begin the massage. Start by hooking your thumbs into your vagina with your hands facing downwards, towards your perineal area. Begin by gently massaging your vagina in circular patterns going around the opening. This is what will aid your perineum in stretching, which will hopefully prevent tearing during birth. Trying to relax while this is going on is also important, as it will help allow your vagina to stretch even further.

Generally you should be doing a perineal massage for about ten minutes everyday. This will help to ensure minimal tearing during labor or sex, and hopefully prevent it all together. You should also be aware of the fact that while these massages can be done alone quite easily, they can also be done with a partner. For instance, if your belly is larger and difficult to navigate around towards the end of your pregnancy, it can be a lot easier to have a trusted partner help you do it rather than doing it yourself. 

Working a perineal massage into your daily routine during your pregnancy can make childbirth so much easier, and it can also give you a chance to relax for a few minutes each day. It is also a great way to get in touch with your body. No matter who you have perform your perineal massage, doing them regularly should be considered an important step in your labor preparation process. Just remember to stay clean and to be gentle. Take things slow and make sure to stop if you feel like something is wrong. Remember ladies, massaging your perineal area shouldnt hurt. You will feel a stretching sensation but if you have any severe pain, you should stop right away.

How to Avoid an Episiotomy During Labor

Episiotomy Prevention

I know what you’re probably thinking.

“Wait, you want me to massage where?”

But do us a favor and set your inhibitions aside for a moment. If you’re pregnant and are worried about the trauma associated with an episiotomy, or even just the run-of-the-mill perineum tearing that comes along with having a child, you’re probably someone who could benefit greatly from a perineal massage.

Many experts believe that by beginning to massage your perineum around your 34th week of pregnancy, you can greatly decrease your chances of experiencing an episiotomy or tearing during childbirth. While not a guaranteed science, it is said that a daily perineum massage will increase your ability to stretch down there, eliminating the biggest worry most women carry with them throughout their final trimesters.

If you’re still reading at this point, chances are you’re probably interested in performing a perineal massage yourself as a means of preventing an episiotomy. While it’s true that getting up close and personal with your perineum while working around a pregnant belly can be a difficult feat, it’s certainly not impossible. Below is a brief outline on the technique, as well as a few tips and tricks that will help aid any struggling beginner.

Avoid an Episiotomy by Performing a Perineal Massage

  • If you plan on performing your perinuem massage yourself instead of utilizing your partner, start by washing your hands and trimming your nails if necessary. It might seem like a minor detail, but it’s one that makes all the difference.
  • If you feel at all unfamiliar with your perineal area, grab a large hand mirror so that you can have a better idea of what you’re working with.
  •  Once your hands are clean, your nails are trimmed, and you’re somewhat familiar with your perineum, sit in a semi-reclined position in an area where you’re most comfortable. Bend your legs at the knee and spread them apart.
  • Lubricate your fingers, thumbs, and perineal area with a personal lubricant or (preferably) Vitamin E oil if you have it on hand. Baby oil, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil should be avoided when tending to your perineum, as this area can be quite sensitive.
  •  Carefully place both your thumbs about 1 to 1 1/2 inches inside your vaginal opening. For reference, this will be about to or just past your first knuckles. Press downwards toward your rectum and the sides of your vaginal canal at the same time. Very gently but firmly continue this stretching until you feel a slit tingling or burning sensation. Hold this stretch for roughly two minutes.
  •  Hook your thumbs onto the sides of your vaginal canal and gently pull the tissue forward while gently massaging the lower most part of your vagina back and fourth. This will mimic what your baby’s head will do during labor. Continue this for up to four minutes, then massage the tissue between your thumbs and forefingers in a back and fourth rotation for another minute or two.

As you can see, performing a perineal massage isn’t all that complicated, but it’s very important that you work gently. Massaging your perineal area too roughly could lead to swelling or bruising, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to do. You should also avoid putting pressure on your urinary opening (urethra) while you work, as this could increase your risk of developing an irritation or infection. With that said, when performed correctly, perineal massages are a perfectly safe practice and a great episiotomy prevention method.

In summary, a perineal massage may not be everyones cup of tea, nor is it a guaranteed solution in every case, but they can be beneficial nonetheless. If you feel too leery about performing a massage on your perineum yourself, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor or midwife about other options that will minimize your risk of an episiotomy or perineum tears during labor.

After all, a happy healthy mom is just as important as a happy healthy baby!