Perineum Massage the low down

Perineum Massage Pregnancy

What is perineal massage and should I be doing it?

Maybe your midwife or a friend has mentioned massaging your lady garden in preparation for natural childbirth. There are numerous benefits the main one being that you are more likely to stretch, rather than tear, while your baby is crowning and who wouldn’t want to do everything possible to make that a reality?

What and where is the perineum?

The perineum is the small area of firm skin and muscular tissue between the vagina and the anus. The perineum plays a significant role in women’s health. This muscular tissue connects with pelvic floor muscles, offering support to the pelvic organs. It works extra hard in pregnancy due to the extra weight it bears. Tearing of the perineum during childbirth can weaken this support, making later pelvic floor problems or prolapse of the uterus more likely.

Massaging the perineum helps keep the connective tissues supple and elastic – our best defence against tearing. Massage helps increase the perineum’s capacity to stretch more easily and less painfully during birth.*

When can I start?

Recommended from the 34th week of pregnancy, using a perineum massage oil is a great way to nurture your body and prepare for birth. Massage 3-4 times a week for 5-10 minutes. A good time is after a relaxing bath or warm shower because blood vessels in the area are dilated and this makes the perineum softer and more comfortable to touch. Do not massage if you have any infection. Empty your bowel and bladder before starting. Perineal massage can also help tone the muscles after birth. Start gentle massage as soon as you feel comfortable, once any stitches or tears have healed.*

How do I do it?

Begin by placing both hands on your perineum and just relax about touching this part of your body. We can hold a lot of tension around the perineum, and releasing any tension here is good preparation for birth. Pour a little oil into your hands and rub them together to warm them. Then gently smooth oil over the whole of your perineum. Stroke in whatever way feels comfortable for you. Get to know the different areas of skin – some soft and delicate, and some firm and more muscular which will stretch out in labour. Massage this a little more firmly. You could apply a little pressure here as you breathe out.

Try doing your pelvic floor exercises. As you breathe out draw up your pelvic floor and as you breathe in, relax. Make sure that your buttocks are not tightening. Make the exercises harder by tightening the muscles gradually on your out-breath, imagining that you are going up floors in a lift. Go down the floors with the in-breath. Don’t clench your jaw: relaxing your jaw in labour can help relax your perineum.

You can also do some gentle pulsing, tightening and releasing, as you breathe out. If you feel comfortable, you can try doing these exercises with a finger or thumb inside your vagina. In the last few weeks of pregnancy you can try stretching out the perineum to prepare for birth. To do this, place your finger or thumb inside your vagina up to the second knuckle, and gently massage in a rhythmic U shaped movement the lower part of the vaginal opening nearest to the anus (if you imagine a clock face, it’s the section from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock). This will gently stretch the vaginal tissues and muscles. As you feel comfortable you can try increasing the pressure and adding in a stretch back towards the anus. This may sting slightly; this stinging sensation occurs when the baby’s head is born.*

View Weleda massage for pregnancy brochure here for diagrams on the above.

What oil should I use?

weleda-mum-to-be-relax-and-prepare-collectionDeveloped by experienced midwives and pharmacists, Weleda’s perineum massage oil is free from synthetic fragrances, colours and preservatives. They never use raw materials derived from mineral oils, such as petroleum or paraffin, which form a film over the skin rather than caring for it. Instead their products are made from plant based oils, which are easily absorbed by the skin. To complement the nourishing oils Weleda use natural, soothing plant extracts including organic calendula and chamomile, and gentle essential oils of lavender, ylang-ylang and orange – warming, nourishing and nurturing.*

You can purchase the perineum oil directly from my Weleda online store – just hit the image above or the folllowing link: Visit my online store to buy massage oils.

How can I reduce the likelihood of pregnancy stretch marks?

bump

Weleda also make a gorgeous stretch mark oil which smells divine and is lovely to use. Alongside reducing your likelihood of developing stretchmarks it soothes your skin as your bump grows and is a lovely way to connect with your baby while you are pregnant. Visit my online store to buy massage oils.

What else is available?

Check out the Pregnancy Brochure for information on massaging your belly and the benefits of massaging your breasts to support breastfeeding. I also highly recommend the new nursing tea which tastes lovely and is very refreshing compared to other nursing teas. Weleda supply a whole range of homeopathic remedies, Arnica is fantastic to help your body heal following childbirth.

They also has the most gorgeous range of natural skincare products both for you and for baby that have won numerous awards over the past year. 100% natural, sustainable and gentle on your and your baby’s skin. I choose to only use natural products on my skin while I am pregnant and breastfeeding. Read more here.gp-awards (1)

*Text from the Weleda massage for pregnancy, birth and beyond brochure.

First time visiting Embrace Bump to Baby?

I created the affirmations and hypnosis for pregnancy pack to support you right from the very start of your pregnancy and now my Embrace Bump to Baby confident pregnancy and birth course is alive and kicking.

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A blend of hypnobirthing, mindfulness, practical preparation and having a chuckle during pregnancy. This 4 week course teaches you a range of techniques allowing you to work with your body, baby and birthing team to experience an empowered and calm birth no matter what happens on the day – induction, c-section whatever.

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