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How to do perineal massage (and why)

Wondering how to fill those hours of watching, waiting, and ‘oh my gosh, was that a contraction?!’ Introducing the antenatal perineal massage…⁠

Your perineum is the area between your vagina and anus. It’s a good idea to do as much to prepare your perineum for birth as possible. Research has shown that massaging your perineum reduces the chance you’ll tear, bruise, or need an episiotomy during birth. It can also reduce ongoing perineal pain, reduce the length of the pushing stage, and reduce the risk of incontinence. Whoop whoop! 🙌

How to do a perineal massage:⁠

  1. You can start with perineal massages from approximately 34 weeks into your pregnancy. You can massage yourself, or you can get your partner to help out.⁠

  2. Use a lubricant. An unscented oil is a good option here, like olive, sunflower, or coconut. There are also lubricants that are made for precisely this purpose. Just make sure you don’t use synthetic oils such as baby oil or Vaseline. ⁠

  3. Get yourself comfortable. This step is very important. You might like to have a bath or shower beforehand or even during. You can also prop yourself up on a bed, sit on a toilet, or (if you don't have pelvic girdle pain) stand with one leg up on the loo or a chair.

  4. Place one or both thumbs just within the back wall of your vagina - about 2.5-4cm inside. Press down a little towards your rectum – you’ll feel a stretch here, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Hold this stretch for one or two minutes.⁠

  5. Start to gently massage by moving your thumb or thumbs together upwards and outwards and back again. It’s about massaging the area inside your vagina, not the skin on the outside. Your thumbs should make a U shape. Massage like this for two or three minutes.⁠