In women, massage of the perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) is a procedure, which could be performed in pregnancy. Its aim is to loosen the tissues and muscles of the pelvic floor, which reduces the risk of injury during childbirth.
Why is the massage performed?
Regular massages reduce the risk of perineal injury during the passage of the fetus (especially his head) through the birth canal and they also decrease the need of preventive episiotomy. Episiotomy is a procedure performed by the obstetrician ant it includes cutting of the back wall of vagina and part of the perineum to prevent its tearing. Such injury could damage the anal sphincter and cause permanent incontinence of stool.
When should the massages start?
It is recommended to start the massage in period of 4-6 weeks before the planned delivery.
Is the massage necessary?
The implementation of the massages depends only on decision of the pregnant woman. If the woman refuses or when the massages are unpleasant for her, no one forces her to perform them.
How is the massage performed?
A woman who is interested in perineal massages should first consult her gynecologist and-or her midwife. In principle, the essence of massage should begin with cautious washing hands, usage of massage oil, and insertion of thumbs into the vagina with palms of hands on the perineum. The woman should try to move the thumbs away and so dilate the vaginal opening. The massage should last maximally about 5 minutes.
It should be noted that even properly conducted regular massage only decreases risk of obstetric complications and reduces the number of performed episiotomies and does not eliminate them completely.