Pregnancy is a very exciting time for soon to be moms and their loved ones. However, it can also be a time which leads to stress, anxiety, and confusion on what a woman should be doing to adequately prepare for her delivery.
One aspect of delivery which strikes fear into the heart of all women, is the idea of “tearing.” While tearing can be a normal and a natural occurrence with delivery, if excessive tearing occurs, it can lead to additional complications and delay healing postpartum.
Many women are not aware that by performing perineal massages in the last month of pregnancy, they may reduce their risk for tearing and better prepare themselves for the birthing process. A study conducted in 2014 showed that by performing this massage as little as 1-2 times a week, resulted in fewer episiotomies, less perineal trauma, and less pain reported three months postpartum for first time vaginal deliveries (Seehusen & Raleigh, 2014).
This can be especially helpful for new mothers who would benefit from gentle stretches to this area, along with deep breathing techniques to help her learn how to relax her pelvic floor and better prepare for the birthing process. Perineal massages are also a nice way to get partners involved as well!
If you are pregnant, or know someone who is pregnant, it is important to first discuss perineal massaging with your physician or pelvic floor physical therapist, as this may not be appropriate for all women. For additional information on how to properly perform perineal massages, and other techniques on preparation for delivery or recovery postpartum, reach out to a pelvic floor physical therapist, or call our office for more information.
Link to referenced article: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0301/p335.html