5 Steps to Massaging Your Perineum While You're Pregnant So You Don't Tear During Childbirth
Do you ever look at your gorgeous big baby belly and wonder how the hell your little miracle is going to fit out of that hole down there?
This is literally one of the biggest fears that women have about childbirth. Well, that and pooping during the pushing stage but we’ll tackle that one another day, Mama. It’s no surprise either- it’s almost impossible to imagine your lady-bits stretching big enough to fit another human being through it, amiright?
While it’s true that your body is capable of amazing things - creating a life, growing its organs, skin, muscles and bones and then bringing it earthside is no small feat - it’s also true that a lot of women end up with a tear or an episiotomy during the pushing stage of childbirth.
Your perineum is the area of muscle and tissue between your vulva and your anus- you may have heard it called your 'taint'. When you’re pushing a baby out, this area needs to stretch a lot. Like, a lot a lot.
I kinda like to compare your perineum to a brand-spanking new pair of leather shoes that haven’t been worn in yet: once you wear and stretch them, they feel much more comfortable. The same can be said for your perineum.
Why bother if the baby is going to stretch it during birth, anyhow?
You may be wondering why you should need to worry about all of this when the baby is going to come through whether you do the massage or not, and it's a legit question! The truth is that it’s a matter of science:
Evidence shows that if you start to stretch and massage this area regularly at 34 weeks of pregnancy, it can decrease your need for an episiotomy.
Girl, I’ve had an episiotomy twice and it’s not fun- can I give you some sage advice? Try everything you can to avoid being cut!
So how do you do it?
Stretching your nether-regions can be done in five super-easy steps:
Sit upright with your back supported against a wall or the headboard of your bed. The goal is to be able to see your perineum so you may find that a mirror comes in handy. You can also ask your partner to do the stretching for you!
Using massage oil, K-Y Jelly or Astroglide on your fingers.
Place a finger inside your vagina about 2 inches deep and gently stretch the wall of your vagina out to the side. Imagine it's a clock and 12 o’clock is at the top- insert your finger at 3 o’clock.
Still using gentle, outward pressure, sweep your finger down to 6 o’clock and then up to 9 o’clock.
Repeat for 5 minutes.
See? Easy peasy!
It’s important to note that his exercise may feel uncomfortable and it may even burn a little at first, but once you start stretching the tissues it should become more comfortable.
How often should you do it?
Massage your perineum every other day for best results starting at 34 weeks. Make a date with yourself (or your partner) and just get to it. Hey- it could come with a happy ending!
(Speaking of sexytimes, have you taken our free, anonymous quiz about mom-sex yet? Click to take the test and find out where you stand with regards to frequency and the kind of sex moms are having. You may be surprised at how many are getting that 'back door action'!)
Giving birth without suffering from the pain of stitches from a perineal tear or episiotomy is possible. And it’s worth the effort to try, Mama.
Wondering what else you need to know about before you give birth? Check out this post that went viral:
This is first-time mom gold so please feel free to share it with your best girls!
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!