Perineal massage can help to prepare your perineum for childbirth. However remember that there are numerous factors influencing whether you will have an episiotomy or tear. They include; the strength or your contractions, the stretchability of your tissues, the size of the baby and the position of its head, your position for birth, and the speed with which birth occurs, the skill of your attendant, and whether there is scarring from previous births.
This massage may be done by yourself, or by your partner. There are two steps to perineal massage – internal and external massage.
How to do Perineal Massage
1. Wash your hands well.
2. Relax in a comfortable semi-sitting position e.g. leaning back on pillows / beanbag, or sit on the toilet with a cushion at your back.
3. For external massage you may like to use a little wheatgerm oil or KY jelly. Never use any lubrication for massage inside the vagina.
4. Do each exercise twenty times, once or twice a day, starting from about the 34th week of pregnancy.
After about a week you should notice an increase in flexibility and stretchiness.
External Massage – Vertical
Place two or three fingers in a “V” formation on the perineum and pull up in the direction of the pubic bone, up to where hair starts to grow on the labia.
Repeat about 20 times.
Then place your thumbs in the centre of the perineum, halfway between the opening of the vagina and the anus, and push your thumbs apart in opposite directions.
Repeat about 20 times
External Massage – Lateral
Place two or three fingers of each hand so that they rest in the centre of the perineum (just behind the opening of the vagina and just above the anus).
Pull your fingers out towards your thighs.
Repeat 20 times.
If doing perineal massage yourself, you may find it easier to use your thumbs, or to use two fingers. Experiment and find which suits you best.
If your partner is doing the exercise he or she should use two fingers. Place thumbs or two fingers 3-4 cm inside your vagina.
Press down- wards and to the sides at the same time.
Gently and firmly stretching until you feel a slight burning, tingling or stinging sensation.
Hold the pressure steady at that point for about 2 minutes until the area becomes a little numb and you don't feel the tingling as much.
Keep pressing and slowly and gently massage back and forth over the lower half of your vagina.
Keep this up for 3-4 minutes.
If doing this exercise yourself, and are using your fingers, use your right hand to massage the right side of the perineum and the left to massage the left side.
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