You’ve heard the horror stories of episiotomies, stitches, and tearing during childbirth. But there may be a way to reduce your risk of vaginal tears during delivery: Perineal massage. Read on to learn more about this method of promoting natural birth.
What is Perineal Massage?
Perineal massage is the practice of massaging the area around the vagina (the perineum) prior to giving birth in order to prepare it for stretching. The massage can be done using oil or lubricant and is usually done with two fingers. It can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home by yourself in the weeks leading up to the expected date of delivery of your baby.
Does it Work?
Studies have shown that perineal massage can reduce the risk of tearing or needing an episiotomy during childbirth. One study found that women who received perineal massage had a 24% lower risk of severe tears than those who did not receive massage, while another found that the risk was reduced by 32%. However, it’s important to note that perineal massage won’t guarantee that you won’t tear; some women still do despite having received massage.
How do I Do Perineal Massage?
If you decide to give it a try, here are some tips for performing effective perineal massage: • Start with clean hands and use oil or lubricant on your fingers, these do not have to be expensive you could even use olive oil or almond oil• Use both hands and start massaging from side-to-side instead of up and down • Slowly increase pressure as you go • Hold each spot for 10 seconds before moving on • Breathe deeply throughout • Relax as much as possible
Conclusion: Performing perineal massage is no guarantee against tearing during childbirth, but it does seem to help reduce the risk of severe tears or needing an episiotomy. If you’re considering giving birth naturally, then adding perineal massage into your routine may be worth looking into! It’s best to speak with a midwife or healthcare provider beforehand so they can guide you through the process properly. Good luck!
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