How Perineal Massage can Reduce Vaginal Tearing
There are several things that you can do both during pregnancy and labor to try to reduce your chances of having a vaginal tear during birth. In fact, I created a checklist on Vaginal Tearing Prevention …
Also, I cover each factor in great detail in the Vaginal Tearing Prevention video in my Online Birth Course.
Today I want to highlight one of those things, Perineal Massage.
The perineum is the skin connects the bottom of your vaginal opening to your anus. And if women tear during birth, that's usually where they tear.
Head up… perineal massage is not a relaxing massage (like it sounds).
It can be uncomfortable and is certainly not something that you have to do to minimize tearing. But… it’s one of those things that can help!
Perineal massage is manually stretching the skin, using your thumbs to stretch the perineum.
You can do this every day, starting around 34 to 36 weeks.
How does it relate to vaginal tearing?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that perineal massage reduces your chance of having a laceration during a vaginal birth (aka a tear).
There's also research showing that for first time moms, perineal massage can reduce your chances of episiotomy (a surgical cut of your vaginal tissue).
We also know that episiotomies increase the risk of trauma to the vaginal opening requiring stitches.
Therefore, we can draw the conclusion that perineal massage may reduce vaginal tearing.