Perineal massage involves gently massaging the perineum, which is the skin between the vagina and the anus. Perineal massage is done during pregnancy’s last few weeks. Perineal massage has been shown to reduce the occurrence of episiotomy. Perineal tears too during childbirth too reduce.
Most women individually decide whether an episiotomy is required or not. However, this decision must be postponed until crowning. The doctor can assess the perineum and offer a reasonable solution. A slow delivery that is controlled is crucial for the perineum to remain intact. This reduces the chances of laceration. It is important to minimize fetal distress. The woman and her partner must closely follow the doctor’s recommendations on when to push and when not to. Perineal massage reduces the risk of laceration. The need for episiotomy is also reduced.
Perineal massage causes the perineum to become elastic and supple. This reduces the risk of perineal tearing. An episiotomy, too, would not be required. Perineal massage prepares the mother for sensations of pressure and stretching, when the head of the baby begins to crown. Becoming aware of these feelings is crucial to the mother’s relaxation. This can also lead to a quicker birth. Tension in the body will delay the birth process.
Following a perineal massage, the mother may experience new emotions. You can always discuss these feelings with your partner. This can lead to mutual appreciation. Some of the most common emotions include fear, love, excitement and uncertainty.
Perineal massage prior to labor eases the muscles around the head of the baby when it begins to crown. It benefits the mother as well as the child. The perineum is highly sensitive during childbirth. Hence, perineal massage is always advisable.
Perineal massage can be performed by the mother or her partner. There are several tips that partners should keep in mind:
Good listening skills
Enjoy the time of being together.
Take responsibility for household chores.
Communication is vital. Discuss your feelings, and clarify all doubts.
Pamper your partner.
There are several things that you should keep in mind before a perineal massage:
Wash your hands and choose a comfortable place, such as bedroom or bathroom.
Be seated in a comfortable position. A bath with lukewarm water will do wonders for relaxation of the perineum.
Use a lubricant that is water soluble such as KY Jelly. Alternatively, you can use vegetable oil, olive oil, or Vitamin E oil on the hands and perineum.
The thumb needs to enter the vagina slightly.
Apply little pressure toward the rectum till a sensation of tingling and burning is felt.
Take a deep breath
Massage the sides of the vagina, and follow a U-shaped movement
Repeat for one more time.