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Poll Results: Your opinion on perineal massage

  • 24% (14)
    I did perineal massage & I didn't tear
  • 22% (13)
    I did perineal massage & I still tore
  • 26% (15)
    I did NOT do perineal massage & I didn't tear
  • 26% (15)
    I did NOT do perineal massage & I tore
57 Total Votes  
post #21 of 25
I picked no massage and did not tear. Even though I tore slightly. Not enough to get stitches. My dh and I asked our Doc if we should do massage to help me stretch during my last trimester. She told us that it didn't make a difference. She told me this was information from a midwife study done in Europe. However during labor she did do massage when I was pushing. She said that I tore because ds's hand was on his cheek.
post #22 of 25

Perineal massage

I'm currently a midwifery student, and what I've learned so far based on my readings and teacher's opinions is that perineal massage really isn't necessary. During pregnancy, it really doesn't do all that much to "stretch" the tissue. Many midwives I've met have felt it puts a sense of "training" on the woman in a way that may just make her feel uncomfortable. During labor, there is a difference between perineal support and rubbing with olive oil, and full blown massage- where the practitioner is really working and pulling on the skin. What I've seen/heard is women who have intense perineal massage tend to tear MORE than women who don't! Generally, a woman eating a good diet, birthing an average sized baby with good support during her crowning/birthing don't tear! I have worked with a few midwives who believe in perineal massage- but I haven't really seen the benefits!
post #23 of 25
My DH and I did perineal massage faithfully before the birth of our first child. I tore horribly. I read an article that studied massage for first and subsequent births. There was a slight decrease in tearing for first time births, but there was not much difference for subsequent births. My midwives actually said that sometimes perineal massage prior to the birth (not to be confused with supporting the perineum during labor) can actually have the affect of inflaming the area, making it swollen and increasing the likelihood of tearing. I found that very interesting. At any rate, she suggested "feeding the perineum" with a vitamin E/wheat germ oil, olive oil, whatever. So, every time I get out of the shower, I put a little vitamin E oil on the perineum.
post #24 of 25
I did perineal massage faithfully during my last pregnancy.

I had had three episiotomies with my three previous deliveries and wanted to avoid one desperately, but was afraid of tearing. My OB swore that if I didn't have an episiotomy, I would tear because of the existing scar tissue.

My Doula was wonderful in encouraging me to do the massage and insist in my birthplan that I would prefer to tear.

Well, I labored the baby down on my own, with self-directed pushing, before the doctor even came into the room. By the time the doctor arrived, she was already crowning, and emerged in two pushes (one contraction).

I did tear, but only slightly -- and the only reason I tore, was because there was a compound presentation -- her hand was lying up by her cheek!! I hate to imagine what that presentation would have done, had I not done perineal massage!!! Especially with scar tissue present!!! In fact, my tear was on the inside of my vaginal wall, on the left side -- **nowhere** near the bottom of my vagina, where the episiotomies had been performed!! No tear there at all!!!

And the tear didn't hurt at all during the healing process. In fact, I was sitting up in bed within minutes after the birth -- I couldn't sit for two weeks following my episiotomies!! What a difference!!
post #25 of 25
I didn't do perineal massage during PG. My midwives did some hot compresses and oil during pushing. I had a third-degree tear, but it was almost certainly due to DD's position and the fact that I pushed her out relatively forcefully, so that my perineum didn't have enough time to stretch well.

I had an extremely strong pushing urge that I found impossible to "breathe through." As well, the midwives were unable to get her heart tones at the very end of pushing, so they were encouraging me to push. It still took a LOT of pushes between crowning and her head coming out. DD's APGARs were 6 and 8, and she cried a lot after the birth, so I think she was certainly stressed. Position-wise, her head was not fully flexed, and after her head was born her body did not turn (restitute) as it was supposed to, so I had to push both her shoulders out at once. Her cord was wrapped around her body strangely, which we think might have been the reason she didn't turn. Anyway, my perineum tore a bit when her head came out, and then when I birthed her shoulders, it tore more and I also got some side vaginal tears as well. My midwives said they had never seen a tear like mine (a very dubious distinction). We transported to the hospital for stitches as they felt it was outside their expertise. The OB who stitched me up agreed that it was probably the position and timing as much as anything, and that an episiotomy would have made for a worse tear. My only regret is that I didn't try to turn from a hands-and-knees position to a squat after her head was out -- I've often wondered if that would have helped her to turn.
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