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Perineal Massage

  1. What is perineal massage ?
  2. What is the perineum ?
  3. What are the benefits of perineal massage ?
  4. Does research support perineal massage ?
  5. Are there any cautions when performing perineal massage ?
  6. Can my partner help me perform perineal massage ?
  7. Instructions for performing perineal massage

What is perineal massage?

Perineal massage involves gently stretching the tissues that surround the opening to the vagina.

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What is the perineum ?

The perineum is the area of skin between your vagina and rectum.

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What are the benefits of perineal massage ?

Perineal massage may . . .

make you less likely to tear or get an episiotomy

cause you to experience less stinging sensation during crowning

familiarize you with the stretching sensations of birth so you can more easily relax these muscles at birth

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Does research support perineal massage ?

Labrecque and colleagues reported that 24.3% of women from the massage group delivered vaginally without tears compared to only 15.1% from the group who did not use massage.

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Are there any cautions when performing perineal massage ?

Avoid pressure on the urethra (at the top of the vaginal opening).

Massage gently!  Vigorous massage could cause bruising or swelling.

Do not massage if you have an active vaginal infection or herpes lesions.

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Can my partner help me perform perineal massage ?

Yes. Your partner may use their thumbs or index fingers (initially it may only be possible to use one finger).  e sensitive to your body and your feedback on the amount of pressure to use.

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Instructions for performing perineal massage

Sit or lean back in a comfortable position.  (A warm bath or warm compresses on the perineum for 10 minutes before massage may help you relax.)

Put a water soluble lubricant (KY Jelly, olive oil, vegetable oil, Vit. E oil) on your thumbs and perineum.

 

 (graphic used with permission from author of http://www.manbit.com website)

     Place your thumbs 1 to 1   inches inside your vagina.

Press downward towards the rectum and to the sides at the same time until a slight burning, stinging, or tingling sensation is felt

Hold the pressure for 2 minutes until the area becomes numb.

Breathe deeply and slowly and try to consciously relax the muscles.

Keep pressing down with your thumbs and slowly and gently massage back and forth over the sides of your vagina in a U movement for 3 minutes (see figure).

Relax and repeat once.

 This massage technique is performed 10 minutes daily beginning at week 34.

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University of Michigan, School of Nursing.
Copyright 2000.  Regents of the University of Michigan.  All rights reserved.
Revised: February 12, 2001 .