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The Empowering Practice of Perineal Massage



Preparing for birth is a beautiful and transformative experience, and Mums to be often look for ways to promote a smooth and comfortable birth experience. Among the various methods available, perineal massage is a valuable tool in preparing the body for birth. Let's explore the benefits and evidence surrounding perineal massage, highlighting its role in empowering mothers on their birthing journey.



Understanding Perineal Massage

The perineum, the area of tissue located between the vagina and the anus, plays a crucial role in childbirth. Perineal massage involves gentle manipulation of this region to increase its flexibility and elasticity and aims to reduce the risk of tears and episiotomies. Performed regularly in the weeks leading up to birth, perineal massage offers expectant mothers an opportunity to connect with their bodies and actively participate in the birthing process.


Benefits of Perineal Massage

  1. Reduced Risk of Trauma: One of the primary benefits of perineal massage is its ability to minimize the risk of perineal trauma by gently softening and relaxing the tissues of the perineum.

  2. Increased Comfort: Massaging the perineum gently while relaxing can help your perineal tissues become accustomed to reacting with relaxation when pressure is felt. This can help a birthing women remain relaxed when feeling the pressure of their baby being born.

  3. Enhanced Empowerment: Engaging in perineal massage empowers expectant mothers to take an active role in their birthing journey. By participating in a practice that directly impacts the outcome of birth, women gain a sense of ownership and confidence in their bodies' ability to give birth.

  4. Improved Birth Outcomes: Research has shown that perineal massage can lead to better birth outcomes for both mother and baby. Studies have found lower rates of perineal trauma and episiotomies among women who practice perineal massage, as well as shorter pushing phases during labor.

Evidence Supporting Perineal Massage:

  1. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health found that perineal massage was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of perineal trauma requiring stitches or episiotomies.

  2. A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, reported that women who practiced perineal massage during pregnancy experienced less perineal pain and discomfort during labor compared to those who did not.

  3. A randomised controlled trial published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada found that perineal massage led to a lower incidence of severe perineal trauma and episiotomies among first-time mothers.

Technique

Make yourself a comfortable relaxed space, with pillows and relaxing music. You may wish to have a mirror in front of you so that you can become familiar with your perineum. Using lubricant or coconut oil dip your thumb to thoroughly moisten it, to the second knuckle, and inserted into the vagina approximately 2 or 3 inches gently pressing downwards on the area between the vagina and the rectum. Move your thumb in small circular motions while maintaining gentle pressure. Move your thumb upwards while continuing this motion about 2 inches either side. Continue for 5 minutes.

This gentle stretching should not be painful. Perineal Massage can be done from about 34 weeks, 3 times a week for 5 minutes.


Conclusion

Perineal massage offers expectant mothers a natural and empowering way to prepare for childbirth. By promoting flexibility, comfort, and confidence, this gentle practice supports women on their journey to motherhood. Backed by evidence from clinical studies, perineal massage stands as a valuable tool for enhancing birth outcomes and promoting maternal well-being. As part of comprehensive prenatal care, perineal massage deserves recognition for its role in empowering women and fostering positive birthing experiences.


To find out more ways you can empower yourself for your birth experience consider joining me for a HypnoBirthing Course. Click here for the info on a Group or Private Course.

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