What is perineal massage and how can it help me prep my body for labor?
Your perineum is the area of skin and tissue that separates the vagina and the anus. Some women will massage this region in the weeks leading up to delivery in an effort to help reduce the need for an episiotomy (a surgical incision into this area) or tearing during delivery.
There’s not a lot of research to prove that this pre-labor self-massage is helpful, and some doctors think it can actually thicken the tissue rather than make it more supple, so it’s up to you whether or not you want to give it a go.
When it comes to delivery-day itself, your doctor or midwife may gently start to massage the perineum during labor, helping to relax the tissue around baby’s head as she’s crowning. This can make labor and delivery go more smoothly and minimize tearing -- especially for first-time moms -- which will make your recovery a lot more comfortable.
Plus, more from The Bump:
Should I wash all baby's clothes before delivery?
Do I need a birth plan?
Tips for getting it all done before baby's arrival?