How to Do Perineal Massage?

When preparing to welcome your little one into the world, it is common to have some worries and concerns; among them the possibility of suffering perineal tears when giving birth.

If there was a way to avoid this or at least minimize the risk of it occurring you – of course – should try it. A perineal massage is one of those ways and you can perform it yourself or with your partner to get them involved in your pregnancy.

What Is Perineal Massage?

A brief anatomy lesson would remind us that the perineum is the space between the opening of the vagina and the anus. A perineum massage focuses on stretching the muscles in the perineum.

The idea behind the stretching is basically preparing the tissues to stretch over the baby’s body and head during normal delivery. It should be performed between 4 to 6 weeks before your due date.

Benefits of Perineum Massage

Why do it?

Some of its benefits include;

Lowers the Risk of Tearing

The core benefit is that it reduces the likelihood of tears that may require stitches or an episiotomy by about 9%.

An episiotomy refers to an incision made in the perineum during childbirth to make a larger vaginal opening for childbirth. It was once a routine procedure but it no longer is.

Helps Reduce Pain

It may prove helpful for ongoing perineal pain from a previous delivery and for overactive pelvic floor muscles.

Helps With Scar Tissue

If you have a rigid perineum or have had a previous injury, this massage may help to soften the scar tissue.

Prepares the Tissue

Massaging your perineum increases blood flow, which helps the tissues as well as the skin stretch with a bit more ease.

I am fairly certain that we now at least have working knowledge on what is perineal massage. The next stop on this train is how to do it.

How to Do Perineum Massage

You can perform this massage yourself or with your partner. If you are doing it by yourself, it is advisable to use a mirror the first couple of times to see what you are doing.

On top of that, you can use your fingers or make use of a perineal massage tool. A perineal massage tool is a training device designed to prepare the perineum for normal delivery.

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of it all;

Wash Your Hands

Before every massage session, wash your hands thoroughly. Use a mild soap that will not irritate the skin around your perineum. While at it, clip your fingernails short so they don’t scratch or poke at the rather delicate skin.

Find a Comfortable Position

After making sure your hands are good to go, it’s time to set yourself up. Find a space that is comfortable and private. You may need a mirror as mentioned earlier and pillows for comfort.

There are a couple of positions you could try out. It is about finding what works for you and what makes you most comfortable.

You may lie in bed or on the sofa with your legs open and your knees bent. If you’d like to sit upright, here is where the pillows come in to support your upper body.

You could also perform it in the shower with one leg propped up on a stool, or in the bath with one leg on the side.

Whatever position you choose, ensure that the area is clean, private and you are safe from slips and falls.

Start the Massage

Onto the massage itself;

Apply the lubricant you will be using to your now clean hands. Lubricants could be unscented oils or natural oils. Begin by placing one or both of your thumbs about an inch and a half inside your vagina. On the metric scale, that’s about 2.5 to 4 cm just inside the back wall of your vagina. Press your thumbs along the back wall applying enough pressure to feel a stretching and even a slight burning sensation.

If you prefer your partner doing the massage, instruct your partner to follow the same steps but have them use index fingers rather than the thumbs. Communicate with them on whether they should apply less or more pressure depending on how you are feeling.


Keep your fingers in this stretched position for 1 to 2 minutes then move your thumbs inward and outward in a slow U-shaped motion.


Try as much as possible to relax during the massage – both mentally and physically. You may become more comfortable with the sensations over time.