If you are approaching your third trimester of pregnancy, be sure to talk to you doctor or midwife about the importance of perineal massage, the ancient practice of manual massage that aims to stretch and relax the tissues of the birth canal before delivery. More than half of all women who have vaginal deliveries experience perineal tearing or require an episiotomy. Performing perineal massage during pregnancy can help prevent this trauma, and reduce the chance that you will need stitches or experience perineal pain after your baby is born.
In studies, perineal massage was usually done by a midwife in the second stage of labor, during or between and during pushing time, with the index and middle fingers, using a Perineal massage during labor is associated with significant lower risk of severe perineal trauma, such as third and fourth degree lacerations. Perineal massage was usually done by a midwife in the second stage, during or between and during pushing time, with the index and middle fingers, using a water-soluble lubricant.
Can I use an oil for perineal massage?
You may use a variety of oils for perineal massage. The main goal with using an oil is lubrication to eliminate friction. Choosing a specific type is up to your personal preference, access, and budget.
Types to try:
- natural oils, like organic sunflower, grapeseed, coconut, almond, or olive
- personal lubricants, like K-Y Jelly, are also a good choice because they’re water soluble
- your body’s own vaginal lubricant, if this makes you more comfortable
Whatever you choose, stay away from using synthetic oils or lubricants, like baby oil, mineral oil, or petroleum jelly.