If you’re reading this you’re most likely in your third trimester, and first of all we just want to let you know you are doing an incredible job and so is your body. Secondly, if you're ready to give perineal massage a go but you’re not quite sure where to start, don’t worry we’ve got you mama!
A great time to begin is around or after 34 weeks. (If you find out about perineal massage later in your pregnancy, it is totally fine to start anytime after 34 weeks). It’s good to try massaging your perineum 2-3 times a week (or more if you feel comfortable doing so) for about 3-4mins at a time. (If you have any medical conditions it might pay to talk to your LMC before starting perineal massage).
BENEFITS OF PERINEAL MASSAGE
- Helps prepare the perineum for birth by increasing elasticity.
- May help to reduce the risk of tearing and episiotomy.
- Can help with scar tissue from previous births.
- Increases blood flow to the area preparing skin tissues.
- May help mama relax and mentally prepare for birth.
LET'S GET PREPPED
1. TAKE A WARM, RELAXING SHOWER
It’s best to massage the perineum immediately after a bath or shower as the blood vessels in the area are already dilated, making your perineum more stretchy and more comfy to massage. The idea is to get the tissue and muscle used to stretching which will help ease the pain as your baby moves down the cervix and crowns. At first, this may feel a little uncomfortable, (perhaps a slight burning sensation) but this should improve after a few massages.
2. FIND A COMFORTABLE POSITION
Having had a shower/bath and washed your hands, grab your massage oil. Find a position where you are able to reach your perineum. You could try:
- Reaching hands in front of you or behind you.
- Leaning back with your legs apart with cushions supporting your back.
- On your side with cushions supporting your leg at the knee.
- With one leg up on a support i.e. a small stool.
*Feel free to use different positions on different days or even change positions during your massage if you become uncomfortable or tired. Once you’ve found a comfortable position, place both hands on your perineum and take a few breaths here, releasing any tension. Your perineal area and pelvic floor are working double time to carry your baby.
3. OKAY, LET’S DO THIS
Pop some massage oil on your hands and rub them together. Start by applying the oil to your perineal area to lubricate, gently massaging around the internal and external perineal region. Making sure your thumbs/fingers are well-lubricated, place your thumb or finger up to your first finger/thumb knuckle into your vagina and use it to gently stretch the perineum wall out to each side. Think of this as 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock for positioning. Remember to start slowly!
Holding this position/action start stretching outward (towards your hips), slowly sweep down to 6 o’clock (towards the anus) with each hand on each side and then back to 3 o’clock. Continue to sweep in this motion, for about 3-4 minutes. You can use your breath to guide you. As you breathe out apply pressure. On the in-breath sweep your fingers along and remember to relax your jaw as this relaxes your perineum.
4. LISTEN TO YOUR VULVA
As you feel more comfortable you can try increasing the pressure and push back towards the anus. You will feel a stretch in the muscles around the vagina, which may tingle and burn a little when you start but this sensation should ease and it should not be painful. If you feel pain during the massage, stop and try again another time or seek further advice from your LMC. As with every pregnancy, mama and vagina are different. Make sure you listen to your body to decide what feels right for you. Try to fit this massage into your weekly routine and aim to do it twice a week.
5. A HELPING HAND
As you near the end of your pregnancy your beautiful belly can make it harder to move around or get into some of these positions comfortably. This might mean you get help from your partner to do the perineal massage. Make sure to communicate during the massage and follow the instructions above, but instead of using their thumb use their index finger.
When NOT to do a perineal massage:
Do not try a perineal massage if you think you may have a vaginal infection and avoid it if your waters have broken. It’s always best to consult with you LMC before trying if you have any concerns.
Our Perineal Massage Oil ingredients have been carefully hand-selected to make the massage easier without messing with your vaginas natural flora. There is only natural goodness
Apricot kernel oil
CREDIT: VIVA LA VULVA - we love your products!