or Connect
Mothering › Groups › November 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Question about warm compresses & oil during crowning stage

Question about warm compresses & oil during crowning stage

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

In my childbirth class, our teacher suggested using a warm compress and oil on the perineum as the baby's head crowns to help the tissues stretch and avoid tearing. Tearing is one of my biggest fears, so I am trying to do everything to avoid it!

 

Have any of you used this in the past or do you plan to? What do you use for the compress? Just a washcloth with warm water or something else? Wouldn't it need to be sterile? And what kind of oil?

 

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 12

I am planning on attempting the warm compresses at least and maybe the oil.  I bought a few of the hand warmer packs that you find in the camping section.  I had read some where that they were good for that if you wrap them in something.  They are cheap too.  I paid .64.  I was looking for something that would stay warm and not lose heat quickly.  I'm not sure how well they work I suppose I should do a test run before the big day huh.  I will do that when I get home and let you know how it goes.
 

post #3 of 12
I don't think it needs to be sterile. As long as you have not torn already, it's just going on the perineum, not inside anywhere. Clean, yes. Sterile, no. The midwives at my sister's birth kept wet washcloths in a crockpot on "warm" setting for this purpose. I don't know about the oil part...
post #4 of 12

I have no idea...is there anything you can do beforehand?  Like massaging the area with oil?  I seem to remember this from when I was pregnant with my first baby but I may be totally off the wall with it.  Perineal massage ahead of time?  Anyone have any yay/nay on this one?

post #5 of 12

I have heard of oil massage during pregnancy but can't remember where.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Yes, we learned in my class (and I read it in Ina May's book) that perineal massage is recommended starting around 36 weeks, so we're planning to do that because, like I said, I'm trying to take every measure I can to help avoid tearing! You can read about how to do it if you Google it.

 

Thanks for the info about the compresses - it makes sense now that I think about it that they wouldn't need to be sterile unless there's already a tear.

post #7 of 12

You can do that massage, or ask your partner to do it.  Which I would never do. That's crosses my cringable line.    I think if you go to either the pregnancy thread or maybe birth and beyond, you might be able to search for threads on it.  I know there have been some.

 

I personally think water helps keeping things stretchy....if you can birth +/or labor in a tub, that might help.

I didn't tear at all with my water birth and had a small tear with my last (sort of expected, he was huge and I pushed him out way too fast - I wonder if I tore with his body over his head though, I wasn't really paying attention at that point I guess).

post #8 of 12
Perineal massage is usually done with oil leading up to labour. As far as I know there's no evidence that it reduces tearing but it may be helpful for getting used to the stretching sensations so you have some idea what to expect. You could do oil massage in second stage but it would be trickier when the head was actually crowning, you'd only be able to do the outside.

Warm compresses may be more useful when the head actually crowns but whether it's the warmth or the pressure is unclear. They don't have to be sterile. The vagina is not sterile.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

I know, I would ideally give birth in a tub but the hospital where I'm giving birth doesn't have them - not even bathtubs! Seriously, would it have been that much harder to build showers with tubs than walk-in showers? Oh, well. That's really the only thing I don't like about our hospital, otherwise they are great and very natural birth-friendly. Thus the compresses and then oil, I guess...

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by babychak View Post

I know, I would ideally give birth in a tub but the hospital where I'm giving birth doesn't have them - not even bathtubs! Seriously, would it have been that much harder to build showers with tubs than walk-in showers? Oh, well. That's really the only thing I don't like about our hospital, otherwise they are great and very natural birth-friendly. Thus the compresses and then oil, I guess...

 

 

You can still labor in the shower though.  I loved the feeling of water being poured on my lower back during contractions.  I think the shower would help a lot.

I gave birth to my son in a very small hospital which has labor tubs but no water births (I don't think any hospitals in Mass do water births).  The tub was a joke - SO SMALL.

Like it was actually detrimental to me and I could not wait to get out of it.  So those tiny tubs aren't all they're cracked up to me.  I think this time I'll labor at home in my larger jacuzzi and hope I have the will power to get out and make the 45 minute drive to the hospital. 

post #11 of 12

We did perineal massage with almond oil for several weeks before the birth, I still tore.  Midwives said that it's just a woman by woman thing... maybe it's helpful for some and not for others.... (genetic?).  I also labored in a large t;ub, but my hospital doesn't do water births... I spent a lot of time pushing and don't think anyone bothered to use warm compresses... that might be nice this next time:)

post #12 of 12

I just finished reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.  She has a great section in there on tearing (actually it's on NOT tearing, of course).  If there's any way you can get a copy of that and read it before your birth, I'll bet it would give you a lot more confidence.

 

With my first I was scared to death of that as well-- I remember asking the nurse right away when she said she saw a little bit of head with dark hair, "Am I going to tear?!"  Of course I had like two hours of pushing ahead of me at that point and there was no way she could have predicted!  

 

I think your birth position has a lot to do with it.  I started out leaning back, holding my knees back, and I could just tell that was horrible and made me more likely to tear.  Hands and knees is supposed to help a lot but I HATED that, so side-lying it was.  That made me a lot happier about the tearing situation-- the tissues felt like they weren't already stretched way out, so there was only the baby's head to do the stretching (she was over 9lbs and plenty big without having any additional stretching going on!).  

 

My most recent birth was at home and I felt very comfortable supporting the tissues with my hands as the baby crowned, and I feel like that really helped (that one was a nuchal arm with no tearing), but I doubt I would have been willing to do that at a hospital in front of strangers.  Hopefully you are more uninhibited than I am!  Ina May says she's never seen anyone tear who had her hands down there during a birth.  Maybe if you applied the hot washcloths yourself?  Good luck!!

  Return Home
  Back to Forum: November 2012 Due Date Club
Mothering › Groups › November 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Question about warm compresses & oil during crowning stage