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Perineal Massage: Benefits During Pregnancy
The tiny stretch of skin between vagina and anus is the perineum. Pregnant women are given perineal massages in the last days of pregnancy. Medically it has been proven that perineal massages are beneficial for women who are about to go into labor.
A massage on the perineum helps the muscles and tissues surrounding the area prepare better for the wear and tear of childbirth. Massaging the perineum increases elasticity of the tissues present in the lower part of the cervix. Since massaging also stretches the area the tight muscles relax making it easier for the mother to push during labor.
Perineal massages should be given only by experts. However, a pregnant woman can also learn to massage the perineum on her own. She can also teach the massaging technique to someone if she finds it uneasy to perform the massage herself. Stretching and relaxing of tissues and muscles of the perineum decreases the occurrence of vaginal tearing.
Hence there is no need for episiotomy. The area is well prepared for childbirth due to massaging. As a result there are fewer chances of occurrence of perineum tear when the woman pushes during labor. The massages greatly reduce the need for episiotomy which is generally performed before childbirth. A surgical cut is made from the vagina to the perineal area.
Many times episiotomy can also be performed while the woman is still in labor but is unable to progress. Perineal massages can also be given while the mother is in labor. The massage helps relax and soothe the overworking muscles and nerves making the expectant mother comfortable. This helps quicken the labor.
Perineal massage cuts down the possibility of incontinence and painful sex that are often the side effects associated with episiotomy and perineal tear. Massaging the perineum prepares the area for tough stages of labor.
Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap before you begin massaging. Otherwise you will be putting both mother and child at risk of contracting bacterial infection.
Sit straight on a bed for added comfort. Bend your knees. It is best to use KY jelly or vitamin E oil for massage. Apply oil on your thumbs and the perineum.
Gently insert an inch of both the thumbs in the vagina. Very lightly press the thumbs to the sides of the vagina. Also press your thumbs in downward direction inside the vagina.
The movements cause the tissues and muscles to stretch. The expectant mother might initially feel mild burning sensation but continue with the massage and the sensation will disappear after sometime. With the thumbs still inside the vagina gently pull and tug at the perineum. The pulling and tugging should move the perineum first forward and then outward.