Perineal massage in pregnancy
A perineal massage is the massage of a pregnant women’s perineal (the skin and muscle between the vaginal opening and the anus) – the act of massaging the perineal tissue also known as the birth canal using one or two fingers.
You can begin this around 6-8 week prior to birth to prepare these tissues to stretch over your baby’s head and body during birth to reduce the likelihood of tearing or an episiotomy during birth.
*Disclaimer- If you choose not to do this, it doesn’t mean you’re likely to tear.
Here’s a guide on how you can massage your perineal:
- Prepare – Make sure your hands are clean, your finger nails are short to help protect the delicate tissue, and have your favourite unscented oil ready – you can use vitamin E, coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil.
- Find a comfortable and relaxing position – You can either use pillows for support with your knees bent, recline in a warm bath with one leg elavated, stand in a warm shower, or sit on the toilet.
- Put some oil on your perineum and the lower part of your vaginal opening. This helps to make the massage more comfortable.
- Put your thumbs about 2.5cm to 4cm just inside the back wall of your vagina.. Press down towards your anus and to the sides. You should feel a bit of a stretching feeling. Hold this stretch for about one to two minutes. Then gently massage the lower bit of your vagina for around two to three minutes, focusing on relaxing your perineum. Massage using your thumbs upwards and outwards then back again in a U-shaped movement. You could practice your slow, deep breathing techniques while you do this.
Perineal massage shouldn’t hurt, You can do this alone or with your partner. In the last trimester of your pregnancy we recommend to keep repeating this massage frequently.
Learn this and more techniques to help you prepare for your upcoming birth by attending our Positive Birth Program you can click here to find a class closest to you. If you can’t attend a face-to-face class we also have online options available for you, click here to view our online course.