The reason is that massaging the perineum helps in easier vaginal delivery. In fact, many hospitals practice massaging the area during labor as it makes child birth easier and smoother.
Benefits Of Perineal Massage
The massage has many benefits mainly because it prepares the muscles and the tissues present in the perineal area for the damage that is a common occurrence during vaginal birth. Massaging the perineum is known to increase the suppleness of the tissues that are present in the lower region of the cervix. Massaging stretches the taut muscles making them soft and flexible. Increasing the flexibility of the cervix makes it possible for the laboring mother to push her baby out without feeling much pain.
Regular massaging of the perineal area stretches and relaxes the tissues and muscles of the perineum. The massage helps the muscles get rid of the rigidity and makes them more flexible and fluid in their movements. Flexed muscles make it easier for the women to push their babies out smoothly. Smooth delivery reduces the chances of wear and tear of the perineum and the vagina. In some cases use of episiotomy has been successfully avoided due to the positive results of perineal massage.
A surgical cut made in the perineum to allow smoother delivery of the child is referred to as episiotomy. Episiotomy is done only in cases where women are unable to make much progress with the delivery despite long hours of labor. When the perineum is massaged, the tissues and muscles are better prepared for the difficulties of labor.
When done during labor, perineal massages give great comfort to the mother. The massages help relax and soothe the tired and over-worked muscles. Relaxing the muscles will mentally and emotionally relax the mother preparing her for the next stage of labor. A woman who is calm and relaxed during labor is less likely to take medications to ease her pain.
How Is Perineal Massage Done?
If you are a pregnant woman or someone close to you is pregnant then you must fully arm yourself with the knowledge of perineal massage. It is important to know the correct procedure for doing the massage. You must ask your doctor or mid-wife to demonstrate to you the proper way of massaging the perineum for maximum benefits doing labor. It is possible for pregnant women to give perineal massages to themselves. Your birthing partner must also learn to give perineal massage in order to help you achieve smoother delivery.
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It is important to perform perineal massage with clean hands. Wash your hands with an anti-bacterial soap and clean water to avoid transferring infection causing bacteria to the mother and her baby. Not washing your hands prior to performing the massage can be extremely dangerous for the mother-to-be. She can end up with bacterial infection in the vagina or the cervix. This infection will be transferred to the baby during the process of child birth.
To receive perineal massage lie down in a comfortable position and bend your knees. Try to open your legs as wide as your pregnant body allows you to. If you are giving the massage to yourself then sit down in a comfortable position instead of lying down. Bend your knees to reach the perineum comfortably. Take vitamin E oil or olive oil and begin massaging the oil in the perineum using thumbs of both hands. Apply a few drops of oil directly to the perineum as well.
Now very gently insert your thumbs into your vagina. Both sides of your vaginal wall should feel the pressure of the thumbs. The pressure should be applied on the direction of the floor of the vagina as well. This will help massage the tissues and muscles of the perineum as well. The massaging will help the tissues and muscles to relax and stretch.
A mild burning sensation in the vagina may be felt at this time. This should not stop you from massaging. The burning sensation will subside in time with subsequent massages. With your thumbs still inside the vagina, pull and tug at the perineum. The push and pull movements of the massage will make the perineum move outward and forward.
Begin massaging the perineum at least a couple of months before the due date given to you. Massaging will make the muscles and tissues of the perineum supple and elastic. The massage will also help the mother know better the muscles involved during labor. This will make it easier for her to apply pressure on the correct muscles to push the baby out without having to wait for the crowning to occur.
Knowing what to do during labor helps the mother relax and lessens her anxiety. A relaxed woman is more likely to have smoother and easier delivery than a woman who is highly strung during her labor. Baby’s birth is also delayed if the mother focuses more on the pain than on the procedure of pushing.
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Perineal massages have great benefits once the labor is over. Massaging the perineum helps avoid urinary incontinence and painful sex after child birth. The two side effects of vaginal birth are normally seen in cases where episiotomy is performed on the laboring mothers or in woman who suffer from perineal tears as a result of pushing.
Regular perineal massages before and during labor helps the women be more in control of the muscles in the urethra while passing urine. Perineal massages help the women regain their vaginal tightness post partum.
If you experienced cuts, tears and stitches in your first delivery, you can easily avoid them by opting for perineal massages in your second and subsequent deliveries. It is not mandatory to go for episiotomy during your second delivery just because you had it done for your first delivery. Episiotomies can be avoided altogether if you prepare yourself better for the labor.
Apart from relaxing and stretching, massaging also improves the flow of blood to the perineum which helps increase its elasticity and flexibility. Despite its numerous benefits, perineal massage should be avoided in pregnant women who have bacterial infection or are suffering from UTI and thrush.