Even medically it has been proven that women benefit greatly from receiving perineal massages right before they go into labor. The massage is beneficial because it prepares the muscles and tissues of the perineum for the tearing of the tissue that usually follows a vaginal birth.
A massage to the perineum also enhances the elasticity of the tissues that are normally found in the lower cervical area. Massaging of the perineum also massages this lower cervical area, relaxing the taut muscles. The relaxation of the muscles helps in smoother delivery as the mother finds it easier to push the baby out.
During the massage the tissues and muscle of the perineum are stretched and relaxed. The massage is given to remove the rigidity from the muscles and make them more flexible. As the flexibility of the muscles increases women find it easier to push during labor. Massaging the perineum greatly reduces the chances of vaginal tearing.
Many-a-times performing perineal massage during labor decreases the need for doing an episiotomy. Episiotomy is when there is a surgical cut made in the perineum to facilitate smooth labor and childbirth. Sometimes the episiotomy is done when the woman is in labor but hasn’t made much progress with pushing out the baby. Massaging prepares the tissues of the perineum for the rigors of childbirth and there are few, if any, tears as the woman pushes the baby out.
Before giving or receiving a perineal massage it is important that one knows the intricacies involved in giving such massage. Ask a doctor or a qualified mid-wife about how to give a proper perineal massage. Pregnant women can also learn to give perineal massages to themselves. Once you know how to give the massage you can teach your partner or a family member or a friend to give you a perineal massage.
Perineal massages should be started a couple of months’ before the due date. By massaging the perineum you will help the muscles of the area become elastic and supple. The massage will also make the mother more responsive to the sensations of stretching and heavy pressure in the vagina when head of the baby begins to move into place or when the crowning happens.
The physical feeling that the birth is about to take place relaxes the mother and reduces her anxiety levels to a considerable extent. Relaxed mind helps the muscles relax as well which makes the delivery of the child easier and smoother. Remember, tension in the mother’s body will delay the birth as the mother will be too stressed out to push.
Perineal massages are a great comfort to a woman in labor. During labor the perineal massage will help the tired and exhausted muscles relax. This will greatly calm the agitated mother and make her comfortable. A relaxed woman is better prepared to give birth than a woman whose nerves are on the edge. Relaxing the muscles also makes delivery less painful without resorting to use of painkillers.
Perineal massage is also a great way of avoiding incontinence and painful sex post partum. The two are some of the side effects associated with vaginal tear and episiotomy. Women who get regular perineal massages are in better control of their uterine muscles during sex and while passing urine. Women who avoid perineal massages are clearly not doing the right thing.
Regardless of whether your first delivery had cuts, tears and stitches, for your second delivery you can choose not to go for episiotomy and instead opt for perineal massage during labor. The trauma of perineal tears during your previous deliveries can be easily avoided in your future deliveries.
Before you give a perineal massage it is important to wash your hands with an anti-bacterial soap. This way you will reduce the chances of the mother or the child acquiring bacterial infection. Unclean or unwashed hands carry germs and they can be very harmful for the mother-to-be. You might end up giving the woman infection of the vagina or worse of the cervix.
If you are taking a perineal massage then lie down comfortably on a bed and bend your knees. You could also open your legs wide though this might be a little painful to do in your given pregnant state. If you are giving the massage to yourself then simply sit in a comfortable position and bend your knees. Take a few drops of Vitamin E oil and apply them on both your thumbs.
Also apply the oil to the perineum. Now slowly and gently put both your thumbs inside the vagina. Apply gentle pressure on both sides of the vagina with your thumbs. Apply pressure in the downward direction of the vagina as well. The gentle massage of the perineum with the thumbs will cause the tissues and muscles to stretch and relax.
Some women might also experience a mild burnings sensation at this time. But this is mainly due to presence of your thumbs inside the vagina. Don’t panic and stop massaging. Continue massaging and after some time the burning will cease. Keeping your thumbs inside the vagina start pulling and stretching the perineum as well. The movements of pull and push will move the perineum in forward and outward directions.
The massage increases the blood flow to the area which boosts the elasticity of the perineum and prepares it for dealing with childbirth. With regular perineal massages the tissues torn during the birthing heal faster and better.
Perineal massages can also help your prepare better for the vaginal and cervical examinations that follow right before your due date. Many women, who have not had perineal massages, often complain of backaches and slight bleeding after a pelvic examination. Perineal massage can help you avoid the pain and bleeding. However, perineal massages are not recommended if the mother suffers from bacterial infections like UTI or thrush as touching the area can aggravate the infection.