Everyone recommends doing this to encourage the elasticity of your skin and prevent tearing at the birth,
but not many explain exactly how to go about it…….
Appropriate oils: vegetable oils, such as almond oil, grapeseed oil, wheatgerm oil, or cold press olive oil. Do not use: baby oil, mineral oil or petroleum jelly as they tend to dry the tissue. Vegetable oils are much better absorbed. Alternatively, use a water-based jelly.
Two aromatherapy blends that are good: Blend 40 ml sweet almond oil and 10 ml of jojoba oil and massage in a few drops daily. Or, 45 ml cold pressed olive oil and 5 ml wheat germ oil mixed. Store in a plastic sealable bottle.
From 34 weeks practice perineal massage for 5 minutes once a day, to care that the tissue will be soft and pliable for birth, and reduce the likelihood of tearing or the need for and episiotomy. Prenatal perineal massage lets the expectant mother experience the sensations that are similar to those she will feel as the baby emerges, and it gives you a chance to practice relaxing your perineum as you ought to during delivery.
Wash your hands and cut fingernails to prevent scratching.
Make yourself comfortable in a semi sitting position, with legs bent and relaxed.
1. Lubricate your fingers well with oil. To avoid contaminating the oil, do not dip your fingers in, instead pour oil over your fingers. Or, have a few drops already poured into a clean dish.
2. Rub enough oil into the perineum (area between the vagina and the anus) to allow your fingers to move smoothly over the tissue and lower vaginal wall.
3. Starting with one finger and progressing to two, place your fingers well inside the vagina (up to second knuckle,) rotate your fingers in both directions while pulling down and outwards gently for about 3 minutes. If your husband can do this for you, then he can use both forefingers to spread downwards in opposite directions. Slide your fingers in a U shaped down the vaginal walls, across the perineum and up the other side. Do this for about 3 minutes. The movement will stretch the muscles surrounding the vagina, and the skin of the perineum.
4. Finish the massage by rubbing the skin of the perineum between the thumb and forefinger (thumb on the outside, finger on the inside) for about one minute. In the beginning the tissue feels tight, but with time and repeated massages it relaxes and stretches.
5. Try to concentrate on relaxing your perineum as you feel the pressure. As it becomes more comfortable, increase the pressure just enough to make the perineum begin to sting from the stretching. The same stinging sensation will occur as the baby’s head is being born.