What is perineal massage?
The perineum is the area between your vaginal opening and the rectum. It experiences maximum tear during vaginal childbirth because the baby tries to push itself out from the birth canal. This perineum tear can take months to heal, depending on how your delivery went. A perineal massage is a manual way of stretching and softening the perineum tissue to enable a smoother delivery and quick post-delivery recovery.
As your perineum supports the bowels, bladder, and entire reproductive system, it is built to naturally stretch during childbirth. But this can be harder, especially if you have a rigid pelvic floor. A perineal massage can help increase blood circulation in the area and prepare it to stretch for delivery.
More stretch means lesser tear, which may also reduce the pain and discomfort.
Why should you do perineal massage?
A perineal massage is essential to get comfortable with yourself, physically and mentally. Before opening up to a team of experts in the delivery room, it is necessary to be okay with the process of childbirth.
This massage will also equip and make you more confident of your delivery. As per gynecologists, one should begin a perineal massage between 34-36 weeks, as you near your due date.
Benefits of perineal massage
A perineum tear has too many temporary though rather uncomfortable consequences. It can lead to possible infections, stitches of episiotomy during delivery, sexual inconvenience, and limited movement. A perineal massage can save you from a lot of this trouble:
- You will be better prepared for childbirth as a perineal massage can help you understand what you might feel while delivery. Massaging the perineal area regularly will also aid in relaxing it before labor begins.
- If you have a rigid or stiff perineum, then this massage can help loosen it up a bit.
- As you will be massaging the perineal area regularly, blood circulation will increase. This means that your tissues will be strengthened to handle childbirth.
- As mentioned above, a perineal massage can mean reduced chances of a perineum tear.
A perineal massage can also reduce the chances of getting vaginal stitches by approximately 10%, while reducing the need for episiotomy by approximately 15%. Though this percentage is a bit on the lower side, anything should be better than nothing at this point.