Guest article by Sam Crosby, Ayana Organics
Most of us don’t really give much thought to our perineum until we are faced with the prospect of tearing during childbirth, but it quickly becomes one of the primary concerns of many pregnant women.
Vaginal tears can occur during childbirth when the baby’s head is being pushed through the vaginal opening. I speak with many women, wanting a natural birth who are fearful at the thought of having an episiotomy, which is a surgical incision made on the perineum with scissors or scalpel. An episiotomy is performed for a variety of reasons, including in cases where perineal muscles are extremely rigid. Episiotomies can lead to longer recovery time post-natally.
This is where daily perineal massage can prove beneficial for some women. When done correctly, massaging the perineum has the benefit of making the skin more supple and it the added benefit of simultaneously helping you to familiarize yourself with your perineum and what it feels like to have pressure in that area.
Simply put, perineal massage involves gradually stretching the perineal tissue over a period of a few weeks. Some women prefer to involve partners in this aspect of preparing the body for childbirth and for other women, it’s a private preparation.
If you are concerned about tearing an old perineal scar, you should look for products containing either organic rosehip oil or evening primrose oil, as this will also assist in breaking down previous scar tissue.
The best oils for perineal massage are natural oils, that do not contain any added fragrance or essential oils. Mineral oils are to be avoided as they have a drying effect on skin. Perineal massage in combination with warm compresses can also help during labour itself.
- Start peri massage in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy
- Massage daily
- Use a natural oil, with no added fragrance or essential oils
We recommend using an unscented natural (preferably organic) oil especially designed to use for perineal massage during pregnancy.
Perineal massage in the last trimester of pregnancy enables the perineum to become more supple, reducing the chance of tearing or an episiotomy.