Perineal massage can be used to help prepare the area surrounding the vagina – to stretch. If this is your first baby, the area between your vagina and your anus (the perineum) – has not been stretched before. If this area is very tight – it can take longer to stretch and thin out – which is what needs to happen before the baby is born vaginally. Perineal massage is thought to help reduce the risk of tears when your baby is being born, or at least to reduce the chances of you needing stitches.
Perineal massage can be done from about 34 weeks of pregnancy. Some expecting mothers do the perineal massage themselves though some prefer their partner to help.
- The perineum is the area between your vagina and anus.
- If you are going to do the perineal massage yourself – use a mirror so you can see what you are doing.
- Preferably have a bath first to relax you.
- Make sure you are comfortable leaning back with some support.
- Use a natural cold pressed oil such as almond oil.
- Using your thumbs – place them at the entrance to your vagina – about 1” or 2.5 cm inside your vagina. Give a gentle stretch downwards towards your anus, and hold the stretch of the perineum for a couple of minutes. Continue massaging the area between the vagina and anus – while stretching the area gently.
Do this for approximately 5 minutes once or twice a day.
Do not massage the perineum if you have any vaginal infections such as herpes or candida, as the perineal massage may aggravate the infection.