pregnant women sat over bath
Louise Broadbridge
Louise Broadbridge
Perineal Massage

The Benefits of Perineal Massage and The Honest Midwife’s Tips on how to do it!

Pregnancy and childbirth are transformative experiences in a woman's life, but they also come with their unique set of challenges and discomforts. Among these concerns is the risk of perineal tearing during childbirth, which can lead to discomfort and in some instances complications postpartum. However, there's a gentle and proactive practice that can help reduce this risk: perineal massage. In this blog, we'll explore the benefits of perineal massage in detail and provide easy-to-follow tips on how to incorporate it into your prenatal routine effectively.

Understanding Perineal Massage

Before delving into the practical aspects, it's crucial to understand what perineal massage entails. The perineum is the area of skin and muscle between the vagina and anus. Perineal massage involves gently massaging and stretching this area to increase its flexibility and elasticity, which can help reduce the likelihood of severe tearing during childbirth as well as help with healing post delivery.

Benefits of Perineal Massage

Research has shown that regular perineal massage in the weeks leading up to childbirth can significantly decrease the risk of severe perineal tearing during delivery. I recommend you start perineal massage around 34 weeks and try to go this daily. Using a pure, natural oil, like my own 'Perineal Massage Oil', you can nourish the skin in the perineal area whilst massaging. It is important to use the right oils for this as many oils are not suitable for this delicate area. For more information on which oils to use (or not to use) take a look at my earlier blog here.

By gently stretching and softening the tissues of the perineum, massage helps prepare the area for the stretching it will undergo during childbirth, making tears less likely to occur. This can lead to a smoother and more comfortable birthing experience.


My Tips for Performing Perineal Massage

Now that we've explored the benefits, let's dive into some practical tips for performing perineal massage effectively:

1. Choose the Right Time

I  recommend you start perineal massage around the 34th week of pregnancy. Find a time when you're relaxed and can focus on the massage without distractions. Many women find it helpful to incorporate perineal massage into their bedtime routine or another quiet moment in their day. It is not a bad idea to take a nice bath before performing your perineal massage as it will help to relax you and soften the muscles and skin around the perineum ahead of massaging. Make sure you have enough time as this is something that ideally should not be rushed to get the full benefit of the massage.

2. Gather Supplies

Before you begin, gather the necessary supplies, including a comfortable place to sit or lie down, a mirror for better visibility if desired, and a high-quality perineal massage oil or lubricant. I recommend The Honest Mdiwife Perineal Massage Oil as it is 100% pure and developed specifically for gentle use around this area. It has been created by a midwife to ensure it is the best possible oil for use in pregnancy.  Choosing the right oil is essential for a safe and comfortable massage experience. It is really important that the oil is easily absorbed by the skin to nourish the area during this ‘stretching’ exercise.


3. Get Comfortable

Find a comfortable position that allows easy access to your perineal area. This could be sitting with your back supported or lying on your side with your knees bent. It's essential to be in a relaxed and comfortable position to fully engage in the massage. If you are finding it difficult to reach around your expanding tummy, you can ask your partner to help you, which may be a little more comfortable for you.

4. Begin Gently

Apply a small amount of perineal massage oil to your fingers. Start by inserting your index fingers gently into the vagina - they need to be about 5cm inside. If your partner is helping you, they can use their index fingers. Press down towards the anus and gentle sweep from side to side feeling the stretch. Use light pressure initially and gradually increase as tolerated.

5. Focus on Relaxation

As you massage, focus on relaxing your muscles and breathing deeply. It's normal to experience some discomfort initially, especially if you're new to perineal massage. Try to breathe through any discomfort and continue with gentle, rhythmic motions.

6. Be Consistent

You should aim to perform perineal massage for about 5-10 minutes each day. Consistency is key to reaping the benefits, so make it a regular part of your prenatal routine. You can incorporate perineal massage into your daily self-care ritual, such as after a warm bath or shower.

I have a full FREE downloadable guide on perineal massage for you here which I hope you will find useful.

Perineal massage is a simple yet powerful practice that offers numerous benefits for expectant mothers. By incorporating this gentle massage into your prenatal care routine and following the tips provided, you can promote a smoother childbirth experience. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new prenatal practices, and enjoy the journey of nurturing yourself and your growing baby.

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