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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering if anyone here has tried the perenium massage? And how did it feel?

I have been really anxious to try it, but the only version I have read out there is so rough, no warm up or arousal really, just lube up the fingers and go fo it. And I hear other women complain that it just doesn't feel good.

I know that it's still a little early for us, but last night I attempted a full body massage with perineal massage. By the time we got to the perineal part my partner was pretty tired, so I think we rushed through it. It totally freaked him out because the baby started kicking like crazy and he was convinced he could feel it's head through my canal (TMI)! I felt more tense after the massage than before (although it was sorta a working massage- I'm filming a perineal massage video next week)

Have you found anything that really works for you?
 

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I haven't tried it yet. But, like you, the only things I've read about it are to just oil up the fingers and do it. I may try it as I get closer to due date, but DH isn't that into it.....I might be on my own!

Good luck with your video. It sounds interesting!
 

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I did it with my first bu haven't since. It definitely isn't the best feeling massage. I'd rather concentrate on using warm compresses during delivery instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much for your replies.

I have been doing a bit more research and have found varying opinions on the pelvic floor massage. They definitly didn't teach us this in massage school so it is difficult to find quality massage for this area! Some say that it helps prevent tearing and episiotomies and others say the benefit is really in the oil and hot compresses, not so much about stretching the tissue. I guess everyone is different. I am going to try all three.

I read in Ina May's book that it is mostly about blood engorgement of the tissue helping it not to tear. This could happen through massage if there is arousal, heat, or certain oils. So I guess it is about finding what works for you in the moment. I also checked in with Elena Tonetti (Birth as We Know It) and she said that if you enjoy the massage then it will most likely benefit you, if you don't enjoy then don't do it.

I am going to attempt another try with some of my own techniques on Sunday. I'll let you all know how it goes. Oh, and this time I am adding warm compresses and lots more oils.

Are there any herbs that might be good to mix in with the oils, or any aromatherapy oils that might help?
 

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I'm not a fan of perineal massage. From what I've read it doesn't sound like it does any good, and really when I just think about it it doesn't seem to make sense to me. Seems like it would just make things looser rather than stretchier. I never tried it with my first pregnancy, just did a lot of kegels, and I ended up with a first degree tear, and I was happy with that.
 

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When you read the description of how to do it, it seems that "massage" is the wrong word. I started to try it once with my first and then stopped. With this one, I have been thinking about it, but it just seems so unappealing. If you come up with some good techniques, let us know!
 

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I've actually read that messing with your perineum isn't really all that beneficial (unless, of course, you enjoy it
)

Basically, in all the other ways that your body prepares itself for birth, it prepares the perineum as well and the best thing that can be done to prevent tearing is to not rush.
 

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All the doulas I've had tell me NOT to do it, because it leads to more stretching and tearing than you'd get normally. No other mammals do perineal massage, and they birth just fine! We did it with our first (no doula to tell us not to bother) and it was useless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So, doing lots of research for the video this Wednesday...

My midwife really recommends this massage as do a number of other people, but when I talk to women I am finding either that they hate the massage because it doesn't feel good or it wasn't effective for them. I think the problem is the way that the massage is taught (lube up your fingers and go...wait for burning or numbness- that sounds awful!) As a bodyworker (with a special license to work on people's pelvic floors) it seems that there has to be a better way. I agree that it is a natural process to give birth and that animals don't do perineal massage, but who has documented if/how much they tear etc. And I keep thinking about sphincter law (Ina May Gaskin). I have concluded that the biggest benefit of massage is its ability to relax our bodies. When our bodies and minds are relaxed then we are able to release and surrender and let go. When we are stressed or afraid we tense up and the birth process can halt. So if we or our partners can learn massage techniques to help RELAX the pelvic floor and use during pregnancy and birth that is a whole other topic. Animals do not have the developed Neo Cortexes that we do, therefore they have a much greater ability to return to a relaxed state, we on the other hand may stay in a stress state for weeks/years because of one event.

I agree that it isn't about stretching the tissue. I think that another benefit of perineal massage is bringing awareness to the that area of the body, in other words helping a woman to be more in her body and aware of what is happening there. Especially when it comes to doing Kegels.

In practicing a whole lot this week we found that if we spent time doing massage other places on the body and then time with "feel good" external massage of the pelvic floor, when it came time to do the "recommended" perineal massage for pregnancy that it actually felt really good and helped me to relax and open up even more as we worked with the tissues and only went as far as what felt good. "No Pain, No Pain"

Thanks for all your feedback. I now have included hot compresses and kegel work into the script for the video and discovered a lot about what works for me and what doesn't. I think the focus has to be more on total body relaxation and sensuality during pregnancy.
 

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GoddessJ, I completely agree with your summary of perineal massage.
I didn't tear with my first birth, although I don't know if that was related to what I did or not prior to labor. I didn't do any perineal massage or stretching, just some external pelvic floor techniques: gentle counterstrain-type pressure, relaxation, Kegel's. I had (and have again with this pregnancy) some pubic symphysis pain that radiates down just anterior to the ischial tub's, and direct pressure on the muscles of this area really seemed to help me relax, and to even out asymmetries in tissue tension around there.

It is great to hear about someone addressing these issues, esp what techniques work best!
~Jennifer
 

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We did perineal massage in preparing for the birth of my son...and honestly I do not think it did any good. I still tore. The massage itself was very uncomfortable and awkward. This time around I will NOT being attempting it...instead we are hoping for a water birth....ahhhhhh.
 
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