Incorporating perineal massage from 34 weeks of your pregnancy is widely beneficial, as it can help to prevent tears & episiotomies, increase perineal elasticity, potential pain reduction and postpartum recovery and of course be empowering and comforting.
Perineal massage involves gently massaging and stretching the area of skin between the vagina and anus. The action of doing this is focused on increasing flexibility and elasticity of the perineal tissues, preparing them for the stretching that occurs during childbirth.
Lets look closer at the benefits of perineal massage.
1. Reduce tears, and episiotomies
As we mentioned massaging this area promotes flexibility of the tissue, which can potentially reduce the risk of tearing during childbirth or need for episiotomies.
2. Increased perineal elasticity
Regular massage has been shown to enhance the elasticity of perineal tissues, making them more adaptable and able to stretch during birth. This may help you to have a smoother and less traumatic birth.
3. Potential pain reduction
Perineal massage can help to desensitise the area, and ease tension, which may lead to a more comfortable birth experience.
4. Postpartum recovery
By potentially reducing the trauma to the perineum during labor, the massage will in turn contribute to your postpartum recovery. Leading to decreased discomfort and aid in the healing process.
5. Empowerment and comforting
Lastly, engaging in perineal massage can help you to become more familiar and comfortable with your body, and encourages you to take a more active role in your birth preparations.
So now that you know all the beautiful benefits, let's look at how you do this massage.
Firstly, choose a comfortable environment, sitting in a relaxed position, like on a bed, or supported by cushions on a lounge.
Gently massage (either yourself or ask your partner if you need help). Insert thumbs into the vagina, about an inch or so and press downwards, toward the rectum, stretching the tissue and holding for about a minute. Perform this motion for about 3-5 minutes. It shouldn't be painful.
Practice for at least 5 minutes, 3-4 times a week from 34 weeks.
You may feel some slight discomfort when you first begin, but this is a great time to practice your breathwork in preparation for childbirth, after a few times it shouldn't be uncomfortable anymore.