How Vaginal Massage Before Birth Helps Reduce Tearing During Labor

Vaginal massage for birth has been popular with midwives because it helps reduce the risk of perineal tearing. The perineum is the area between your vagina and anus. It is small and performs a great feat of stretching so that your baby can come out. 

Why Vaginal Tearing Occurs

If your perineum is too stiff, or if your baby’s head is too big, the perineal area may tear. You might also be forced to undergo an episiotomy, which is when the doctor makes an incision in your perineal area to provide more space for your baby to come out. 

Depending on a number of factors, the tearing may be severe. Such factors include whether it’s your first time giving birth, the size of your baby’s head, and the stiffness of your perineum. 

The most severe tears usually require surgery to heal. These are rare. The more common type of vaginal tears requires only a few stitches. In some cases, the tear may even heal on its own. 

It’s a good idea to try and increase the elasticity of your perineum and vaginal massage for birth is by far the most effective way. 

How Vaginal Massage Works 

Vaginal tearing occurs when the perineum can’t stretch enough to accommodate the baby’s head. As such, for any preparation to be effective, it has to enhance the perineum’s ability to stretch. 

Vaginal massage increases the perineal area’s elasticity first by increasing blood flow to the area, which makes it supple. It then gradually encourages the perineum to extend its stretching limit. This is done physically, either with your fingers or a perineal massage device.. 

As you continue with vaginal massage, the birth canal slowly widens from the normal 2cm to about 10 cm. This way, when the baby’s time comes, he or she will have an easy time passing through. As a mum, you’ll also have an easier time. You won’t need to go through an episiotomy and the probability of a vaginal tear considerably reduces. 

How to Do Vaginal Massage for Birth

Ideally, vaginal massage should be done in the late stage of pregnancy, towards the end of your third trimester. It can be done from around 34 weeks. 

You can do perineal massage yourself or enlist the help of your partner. If your stomach has grown too big, you’ll probably have no choice but to ask for your partner’s help. 

Preparing for the Massage

Before the massage, you are advised to take a warm bath or shower. The warm water dilates your blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow to your perineum during the massage. In addition, taking a bath makes it easier for perineal massage oil to penetrate into your skin and muscles. 

Before you start the massage, ensure that your hands are clean. 

You should have perineal massage oil at hand. The oil softens your skin and muscles, making the massage more effective. It also makes it easier for your fingers to move around. 

Doing the Massage 

Pour the oil onto your hands and rub it gently onto the perineal area. In the warm-up phase of the massage, just spread the oil around and focus on exploring the perineum. Doing this will let the oil seep in, as well as stimulate blood flow, which makes the muscles more malleable. 

Once you’ve done the warm-up for about two minutes, start applying pressure as your fingers move around. Feel out the perineum and identify the tougher muscles. These will require more attention and firmer pressure. 

You can now insert your fingers or a perineal massage device into your vagina. From the inside of your vagina, apply downward pressure on the perineum. The aim is to get the perineal muscles to stretch. Apply pressure until you feel pain or until you feel that the perineum has reached its stretching limit. Do this multiple times, stopping every time you get to the stretching limit. 

Ideally, the massage should take about ten minutes and should be done about three to four times a week. 


Vaginal massage is the most effective way to prepare your perineum for childbirth and reduce the probability of a vaginal tear. While there may be multiple different techniques of vaginal massage, the aim is to improve the elasticity of your perineal area. This is done by stimulating blood flow to the area and physically stretching it. The result is that gradually, the birth canal widens, which makes the child-bearing experience much safer.