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perineal stretching- how many have done it?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
and what are your thoughts about it?

i am due the end of August (having a home birth with midwife and bradley coached husband) and have been told about it and until i hit 36 weeks, had planned to do it-

now, for some reason i am just not into it and am hoping that all will still be fine.

i do squats and kegels everyday as well as, pelvic rocks during the day and before bedtime.

just looking for some feedback- thanks!
post #2 of 17
I tried perineal stretching--but I too kinda waited till the end and then didn't much feel like it. I maybe only did it once every three days. I didn't know what to expect at all, as this was my first birth. You seem very ahead of the game as you are doing all the other excercises too! (I didn't do these). My midwife, however, was so wonderful...during the birth, she was stretching every so often for me, and perhaps this contributed to absolutely no tearing at all. I wish you a happy birth....enjoy every moment of it.
post #3 of 17
I did it with my first a few times, on the advice of my midwife and my friend who birthed at the birth center...so you could be prepared for what the ring of fire feels like, mostly. You won't actually be stretching your stuff out in any meaningful way by doing it regularly.

That said, my experience was that I could've never replicated what that ring of fire ended up feeling like. I didn't do with my second baby, and won't do it with this one. You grow so much extra vag tissue when you're pregnant, there is more tissue to work with and stretch when baby passes through, I'm not sure it's necessary. Unless you want to kind of prepare yourself for the pain you'll feel when baby crowns.

FWIW my first baby was almost 10lbs and I had two tiny tears that my midwife gave me the option to let heal naturally or stitch (I had her stitch them, one in each tear), my second I didn't tear at all, she was 8.5lbs.
post #4 of 17
I've done it a few times with each pg. IDK how much or little it helped with DS b/c I ended up tearing anyway. It definitely cannot hurt.
post #5 of 17
Never did it. Never tore. With my 1st and 4th they said I had either skid marks or such a tiny tear that it wasn't worth worrying about or stitching.
post #6 of 17
I am doing the daily perineal stretching. I do it about 5-10 min each day. I incorporate the squats in daily activities instead of bending at the waist.
post #7 of 17
I did it some with #1 but didn't end up getting to push with him, so I have no idea if it would've helped. We didn't really do it (or very little) with 2 and 3. With #2 I had significant tearing but that was positional - his and mine. With #3, he was born in the water and I had a small skid mark and that was it - and it was a FAST pushing stage.

I personally feel that the squats and kegels and such are a better way to prepare for labor. I did find it helpful to practice relaxing while trying the stretching/massage with the first, but there are certainly other ways to do that. I did think the ring of fire was similar to the feeling, so you can always try it if you want to, but it's certainly not essential.
post #8 of 17
I did it with my first, not everyday, but what I did make sure to do everyday in the last month was slather on some Vitamin E oil down there. I used the oil when I did the perineal stretching too. I didn't have any tearing.

I plan on doing the same this time around.
post #9 of 17
I don't think it's valuable. The body was designed to do what it should and I can't see how stretching that tissue that isn't meant to be stretched at that point would have any carry-over to help during labor.

During labor the blood flow is increased and I think it's designed to stretch at the time in the moment.
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by Redheaded_Momma View Post
It definitely cannot hurt.
Actually it can. Here's a discussion by pamamidwife
post #11 of 17
I didn't do it because my midwife told me that the studies that have been done have shown no real benefit (except for a small benefit seen if you start in the FIRST trimester!!). I tore a bit, was stitched, and healed up fine. I heard from a friend that her midwife told her if you push the baby out on your side, that you're less likely to tear. That just didn't feel comfortable to me at the time.
post #12 of 17
Can someone tell me more about squats? Are these regular squats one would do when exercising, or special ones.

I already do a couple nice sets of squats twice a week as part of my regular exercise routine, and I wonder if this is something that will be helpful later?
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great replies!

i will take all advice to heart!

Regarding the squat question- they are just normal squats. My midwife said the same - to just do them throughout the day anytime you need to get something down low. Also important is to try to relax your pelvic floor muscles when you are squating- that is not as easy but a good thing to try!
post #14 of 17
With squats, make sure your feet are flat on the floor, and definitely work on relaxing the pelvic muscles. I think that has a lot of impact on birth. I know my body pushed my baby out VERY quickly (and without tears) on the pregnancy when I had been working on squatting regularly!
post #15 of 17
It's hard to tell if that's what made a difference, but I did the massage every night for the last month (well, DH did) with oil for about 10 minutes. I didn't have a tear, but most importantly for me, I never felt that ring of fire everyone else talks about.
What I think it did for me was help me stay in control when the head was crowning. I could have pushed the head out in one shot, but I ended up pushing super slowly for about 15 minutes. It wasn't painful in anyway, I didn't feel any burning (and had no epidural or other pain meds)
I don't think i'll be doing it this time though... I know the documented benefits for a first birth are really limited, and almost non-existent for a second birth... Plus, I just don't have time for it anymore
post #16 of 17
Havent read all responses but justed wanted to give my non-scientific two cents. You do not want a Permenently stretched perenium! Which seems like this sort of massage provides. Your body will open up at birth, women have delivered 10 lb babies without tearing. There will be lots of blood flow and swelling to the area to help protect it. We are used to the idea that men's genitals can change shape drastically - so can ours! And then you will go back to normal.
post #17 of 17
I did it with my first but after 2 days of labor ended up c/s. I'm glad to hear that many ladies opt out and have good experiences as I'm undecided for #2. I'll just be glad to have a vbac!
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