If you are pregnant, you are probably advised to have a perineal massage. This is done to warm up the perineal area, which covers the vagina, the rectum, and the space between them, in preparation for the stretching that will happen during childbirth. When regularly massaged, the perineal area can easily give way to the baby and therefore prevents any tear in the perineum tissue and the possibility of episiotomy (cutting of the perineum tissue to give the baby more room to get through). Perineal massage can be done by your spouse or partner, but if you wish to do it yourself, here’s a guideline.
- Settle in a private, comfortable area. Perineal massage should be done in an area with a great atmosphere of privacy and comfort. Most women do it in the bathroom, especially if they perform the massage after shower. But whatever place you choose, make sure it has a big mirror so you can easily locate the perineal area.
- Sit with legs apart. Sit in front of the mirror, with your knees up and legs far apart. It is actually more like sitting in a birthing position. Now remember to make yourself comfortable when already seated.
- Apply oil. The next thing you need to do is to lubricate your thumbs with jojoba oil, coconut butter, olive oil, or almond oil. You can also use KY Jelly. Two important reminders: Make sure to thoroughly clean your hands before applying oil to prevent infection to the perineal area. And please trim your nails.
- Insert your thumbs into the vagina. When you have already lubricated the thumbs, begin to stick them into your vagina. The safest is to insert only one to 1 ½ inches of the length of the thumbs. Then, gently apply oil to the perineum tissue.
- Work on the perineum tissue. As you massage oil onto the perineum, gently press and stretch it. A tingling sensation will result, but continue the massage for a minute.
- Press the vagina. Applying some force, start to press the vagina in a circular motion. Then, press the sides of it and down through the rectum. Again, you will feel a tingling sensation when you do this. Just continue pressing for about two minutes until the sensation wanes.
- Stretch the sides of the vagina. Now, begin to slightly and gently stretch and pull the sides of the vagina, moving your thumbs preferably in U-shape so that you can reach farther down. Do this continuously for around three to four minutes.
Do the massage, at the most, twice daily up to the day of delivery. It can run for up to 10 minutes. The first few attempts might feel awkward, but as you become used to it, you will feel more relaxed and comfortable. In fact, you can even increase the level of pressure you apply. After around a week, you will begin to notice flexibility in the perineum. Whenever you do the perineal massage, keep in mind to always leave the urethra, which sits at the top portion, untouched. Touching this part may result in infection.