The perineal is the area between your vagina and anus. This is the part that is most commonly cut (episiotomy), torn or grazed during birth. By making sure this area is as soft and supple as possible it will stretch more. Most people moisturise their face because they want it to be soft and hydrated. If you forget to moisturise your face, it will feel tight, as if it could crack. The skin on your perineal is no different.
How to do it: Sit in a warm place, where you feel comfortable (either in private or with your birth partner). Massage after a bath or shower when the tissue is warm. Apply a lubricant such as an unscented oil (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil), to your hands and the perineal area.
Place your thumb around 3cm/1½ inches (around half the length of your thumb) into the vagina. Massage the area by gently rubbing the perineal tissues between your thumb (inside) and fingers (outside). Press downwards and to the sides, gently stretching until you feel a tingling sensation. Hold the stretch for around a minute until the feeling subsides and begin gently massaging the lower part of the vagina by moving your thumb back and forth. While massaging, also hook your thumb onto the sides of the vagina and gently pull these tissues forward, as your baby’s head will when she/he is being born. Once you have mastered the technique, you can let your birth partner try it. This will support intimacy and it could come in handy towards the end of your pregnancy if you’re not able to reach!
Note: these massages should be started around 32 weeks and you should massage it a few times per week.
This is just one of the many things you will learn about when it comes to preparing for your positive birth with The Positive Birth Group.