If you are already in your third trimester for sure you have heard about perineal massage until now. This refers to the gentle stretching of the skin between the vagina and the anus for the tissues to be ‘conditioned’. It is believed that if you have a flexible perineum, there will be less tearing.
Does the massage of the perineum really work?
While a lot of people say that the massage really helps, until now there was very little clinical evidence. However a recent randomized study showed that the massage is really helpful. Although there is need for more research, the current results show that the massage increases the chances of having the perineum intact after delivery.
According to the studies regarding the perineum massage it is most effective during the first pregnancy of women. If you have tearing caused by a previous pregnancy, the massage might not offer you the results that you expect. This is because there might be some scar tissue that is weaker than the normal tissue.
As a result the perineum might not respond to the perineal massage and there could be some tearing. It looks like the massage is even more helpful in case of the mothers over the age of 30. This is because the older tissues are stiffer than the young tissues.
Should you give it a shot?
Those who are in favor of the perineal rubbing say, that it might have more than one benefit besides stretching the perineum. It is believed that the massage can make the tingling sensation better as the head of the baby crowns.
The midwives say about perineal massage that it might focus the determination of the mother. They believe that the mothers who are willing to have perineal massage are the same ones that want to find a caregiver who has the same philosophy as they do and who is willing to work overtime to deliver the baby slowly and gently.
If you are a responsible mother you might be wondering whether the perineum rubbing is safe. Just like any other kind of alternative treatment, you should talk to your health care provider before you start practicing it. If the massage isn’t done properly, it may turn out to be harmful.
It is important not to use excessive force and to have enough lubrication during perineal massage. The specialists say that it is best not to use massage if you have some history of preterm labor, vaginal infection, or premature rupture of the membranes. This is important because it might induce contractions.
It is possible that the rubbing of the perineum will turn out to be uncomfortable. Even if you try the massage, you have to keep in mind that childbirth is quite unpredictable. Keep in mind that tearing happens even if you are prepared for birth.
Although it is important to keep in mind some guidelines regarding perineal massage, remember that it could turn out to be beneficial and even if it doesn’t do any good, it doesn’t do any harm either.