Massaging the perineal area from mid pregnancy is known to reduce the need for episiotomy and lessen the risk of tearing.
The perineum is the area of tissue between the anus and the vagina. Massaging this area regularly during the last few months is thought to minimise possible tearing and reduce the need for an episiotomy. It is possible to massage this area yourself.
- Wash your hands.
- Blend one drop of lavender essential oil with 5 mls grapeseed or sweet almond base oil.Alternatively olive oil is suitable.
- It is easier the first time to sit in front of a mirror.
- Find the midline between the anus and the vagina. Press on the area gently at first then more firmly.
- Dip your fingertips into the oil blend.
- Using both hands press with the index and middle fingers on either side of the midline, pressing gently outwards on the skin. This is a tender area and may be sensitive at first.Repeat until you can press firmly without too much discomfort.
- Place your thumbs 3-4cm inside your vagina. Press downwards and to the sides at the same time. Gently and firmly keep stretching until you feel a slight burning, tingling or stinging sensation. This is normal.
- Hold the pressure for two minutes until the area feels a little numb and tingling subsides.
- For three to four minutes, place your fingers just inside the back rim of the vagina, gently running them back and forth along the lower half of your vagina and perineum (If you should feel any irritation, you may need to wash the oil from your hands of the oil).
- Avoid the urinary opening to prevent chance of infection occurring.
- As you massage, keep pulling gently outwards with your thumb inside the lower part of the vagina, stretching the tissue.
- Repeat daily. Your partner may wish to try the technique with you though it is best to do it yourself at first to assess the amount of pressure you can tolerate.