Women have been giving birth for millenia. While that’s a source of comfort, it doesn’t mean that the process has gotten easier. And it definitely doesn’t mean that the apprehension with which pregnant women look forward to labor has reduced.
One of the biggest fears about labor, especially for pregnant women, is the risk of vaginal tearing.
It’s always there. And the worst thing is, there’s nothing you can do to be sure that you won’t tear.
That said, there are things you can do to reduce the probability of vaginal tearing. Perineum massage is one such thing. This article will answer the question: What is perineal massage?
We’ll also briefly cover several aspects of the practice. Read on to learn about this technique and how it can help you reduce the risk and seriousness of vaginal tearing during birth.
What is Perineal Massage?
Almost every problem nowadays has a solution that can be attributed to the dazzling technological inventions of modern times. Thanks to technology, you can lose fat without working out or without surgery. You can cast a dead celebrity in a video using deepfake technology.
However, one of the most effective solutions to vaginal tearing during birth is a practice with ancient roots. It doesn’t require any modern technology.
Perineal massage is the practice of exercising the perineum to extend its stretching limit in preparation for childbirth.
The practice is named for the perineum, which is the area between the anus and the vagina. It plays an important role in childbirth by stretching to accommodate the passing of the baby’s head.
How Does Perineal Massage Work?
The vaginal opening is barely a few centimeters wide yet it’s supposed to stretch to around 10 cm during birth to allow the baby to come out. How in the world do you prepare for that?
Perineal massage works by gradually extending the elastic limit of the perineum. It involves a lot of stretching. Ideally, during every perineal massage session, the perineum is stretched to its current limit, gently. As you do more sessions, the elastic limit of the perineal muscles gradually extends. After weeks and months of the exercise, the perineum is better prepared to stretch to accommodate the baby’s passage.
It helps to note during pregnancy, the body prepares the perineum to be more elastic by releasing certain hormones.
So, all you will be doing is supplementing your body’s efforts. You need to supplement them because while they’re usually enough to help the baby through, they are not usually enough to prevent perineal tearing.
How to Do Perineal Massage
Here, technology will help you. If you want to know how to do perineal massage, you are likely to find a perineal massage video very helpful. Thankfully, there are many of those online.
While a perineal massage video will definitely help, you should know what you are doing before you go following every instruction that a stranger on YouTube gives you. You should be in a position to authoritatively determine what would work for you and what would not.
To do this, you should keep the goal in mind.
The goal is to help your perineal muscles learn to stretch better. You can do that in so many ways. It truly doesn’t matter which way you use as long as you are working effectively towards the goal.
With that in mind, everything else becomes a matter of preference. Will you use a perineal massage device or your fingers? Will you use perineum massage oil? Will your session be ten or twenty minutes long?
How to Do Perineal Massage Step by Step
That said, here’s a general step by step procedure:
- Take a warm bath or shower. This helps dilate the vessels and makes the massage more effective.
- Find a suitable place and take up a comfortable position, one that makes it easy for you to reach your vagina.
- Apply the perineum massage oil to your hands. Alternatively, you can choose to use your body’s natural lubricant. Ensure your hands are clean. You don’t want to risk an infection down there.
- Get things going with a warm up massage for about two minutes.
- Insert your fingers into your vagina and press down on your perineum in repetitive, semi-circular motions.
- Each time, stretch the muscles until you feel a tingling sensation. You should stop the second you feel pain.
- Let this last for between ten and twenty minutes. Do it every other day.