Here’s How To Massage Your Perineum, Mom-To-Be
The vagina is a hollow muscular area and is perfectly capable of birthing a baby! It has extensive folds which allow for expansion and stretching as Baby is born. There will be some side effects after birth such as some stretching, swelling, and pressure, but these should settle and recover completely within a few weeks – although if you have poor muscle tone and don’t do any exercise it may take longer. There ‘s a slight chance that your sexual experience and ‘leaking’ will be affected, but this is more common after an episiotomy and forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery. How much your vagina is affected is influenced by a number of factors, including:
- The type of birth you have– if you give birth while lying on your back you’re likely to have more vaginal tearing because you’re having to push out your Baby ‘uphill’.
- The amount of exercise you do– many women lose elasticity and strength in the muscle tissue of the vagina and surrounding areas over time, even after a C-section, so overall exercise is vital.
- Vaginal ‘training’– you can teach your perineal muscles to react to voluntary messages about contracting and relaxing by using ‘pinching’ exercises in midstream when you pass urine – this will also help strengthen your perineal muscles.
- Homeopathic remedies– the tissue salt remedies Calc fluor and Ferrum phos are very useful for improving the elasticity and strength of all body tissues, including your perineum.
- Perineal massage – massaging your perineum for four to six weeks before birth can help to make the area more supple and able to stretch, and using the correct oil and technique can help you to avoid tearing or needing an episiotomy.
Perineal massage techniques
Do this before you go to bed at least five nights per week:
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Pour some almond, grapeseed, or medicinal olive oil onto your fingertips
- Place your thumbs into the vaginal outlet and massage the perineum – the thick muscle wedge between your vagina and anus – between your index, middle fingers, and thumbs for a few minutes until the area feels softer
- Keep your thumbs in position and stretch the vaginal outlet sideways a few times and then down and slightly forwards
- Stand with one foot up on a chair or ask your partner for help if you can’t reach the area well near the end of pregnancy
- Take note of the stretching feeling so that you know what area to focus on during the birth process
- Wait until any infections or vaginal thrush has cleared completely before doing perineal massage
Make sure that you mention to your doctor or midwife that you’re hoping to avoid tearing or an episiotomy so that one isn’t done simply as part of the procedure. Using a more upright labouring position can help to prevent tearing too and gravity will assist with an easier birth. After birth, use appropriate arnica homeopathic remedies for the first week or so to reduce swelling, promote healing, and relieve pain.
Massage oil considerations
Grapeseed carrier oil differs from other essential oils in that it is not as concentrated so its effects are generally mild. It also doesn’t interact easily with other substances and is generally considered to be highly unlikely to have any negative effects as long as it’s:
- From a trusted source
- Used only as directed
- Applied externally and not drunk
There is a slight chance that it can cause allergies, so rather apply it on a small patch of skin first to test. If you’re on blood-thinning medication you should be cautious – especially when using it long term.