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TMI massage?

927 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Carley
Yup you guessed it, I want to talk about perineal massage! I tried this two nights ago and found that I couldn't reach far enough around my belly to really do it. So last night DH tried to help me and basically it was really awkward and uncomfortable and it didn't feel like I thought it was supposed to. It didn't feel like stretching. Everything is so swollen and bulging down there from DB's weight, it just...didn't look like the diagrams on the sheet our Bradley teacher gave us.

Has anyone done this successfully? Is there a trick to it?
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I've been doing it for the last 2 1/2 weeks using EPO. I'm scared of having a bad tear along the scar from the episiotomy that I had with dd so I want to try whatever I can to prevent it. The first couple times it was mildy uncomfortable and a bit awkward. Are you using the pad of your thumb? Thats the only way I can reach myself. I'm very swollen down there too, so I do understand its a little weird
I wouldn't want Dh doing it because like I said it was uncomfortable at first and I can tell what pressure is okay for me. Now after doing it for the last 2 1/2 weeks I can tell a big difference surprisingly. I think that if you are just super gentle then you can work up to a bit more pressure during your perineal massage.
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I do it when I remember! Like Becca I can reach if I use my thumb, it was more painful the first few times and it definately helps to work up the pressure gradually.
My DH does it every few days for me when I "remember" to ask him. We put on a relaxing playlist in our bedroom, light candles, I prop myself up on pillows and cover my chest with a blanket to stay warm
He is nice & always starts by stimulating my clitoris as in foreplay. That helps me relax
He's also really good at reading my body cues & of course, I let him know when it's enough pressure or when he needs to increase it. We use grapeseed oil, just because that is what we use. I read any oil works.

I'm also swollen. Last night he couldn't "find" the opening to my vagina! As in he was actually prodding my urethra! As in I had to help him find it!
Pretty hillarious in that "OMFG not even funny!" kind of way
Nothing like pregnancy and birth to truly humble a person

To me it feels like stretching, burning & hardness on my pubic bones, IOW like something large twisting out. Though I'm reluctant to do it every day, I'm glad we're practicing so I can work on relaxing through the very uncomfortable odd sensations.
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We have only tried it a couple of times...just ends up in sex.

Which is fine too!
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Is there someplace that I could get a copy of this diagram thingy? Have been wanting to try this, but didn't know exactly how to go about it!


I googled "perineal massage" and found several useful looking links. I expect you will too...sorry but I won't post them here. Hope that helps!
Yeah sorry Kerri, I just have it on a sheet I got in childbirth class, but I think there is similar info online. There's also a little something about it in the Sears Birth Book.

Tried it again last night. I was able to reach when I sat on the floor so my butt wasn't sinking into the bed. Still not easy, but I'll trust you all that it'll get better with time.
I had my partner do the massage with #1 and #2 and it always ended up in sex, like Adina. Woohoo!
Those were both hospital births - 1 small tear with #1 and a larger one with #2 - keep in mind these were extremely fast births with really fast pushing phases (each approx. 3 pushes to baby completely born).

I asked my midwife about it this time and this is what she had to say:

"MANA (midwives alliance of NA) did a study which showed that perineal massage possibly causes more tearing. You are essentially stretching the outside area. The baby's head is doing the stretching from the other direction.

Firm and healthy perineal muscle has good integrity allowing it to stretch without tearing or too much tearing. If you loosen that it may not be beneficial.

Early in my midwifery training we used to do alot of perineal stretching pre- and during crowning, I found it rather invasive and though many of the women didn't complain about it I'm not sure that it feels that soothing. I moved away from that technique and now use warm-hot cloths on the perineum during crowning (most women say that it feels good) coupled with slow gentle pushing if possible (some babies just seem to be on a speed track though) because that allows for the muscle to be stretched incrementally as opposed to long, hard, aggressive pushing as often witnessed at hospital births."

So, based on what she had to say, I'm not doing it this time and will trust that a better birth position, more controlled/slower pushing on my part and my fabulous midwife will help.

But... the horizontal mambo 'side-effects' of the massage are always good!
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Originally Posted by pique
"MANA (midwives alliance of NA) did a study which showed that perineal massage possibly causes more tearing. You are essentially stretching the outside area. The baby's head is doing the stretching from the other direction.
I can't find that study online! Darn!

These are the studies I've found re: Perineal Massage

"Perineal massage during pregnancy neither impairs nor substantially protects perineal function at 3 months post partum."

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Jan;182(1 Pt 1):76-80. Labrecque M, Eason E, Marcoux S. Department of Family Medicine and Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

"This study supports the conclusion that teaching perineal massage to primiparous women and multiparae who had episiotomies with their previous births is a useful intervention. It suggests that further study may help clarify the optimum frequency, timing, and technique of massage."

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2000 Sep-Oct;29(5):474-9. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2000 Sep-Oct;29(5):474-9.

Massage and stretching of the perineum during the second stage of labour with a water soluble lubricant. Conclusions
The practice of perineal massage in labour does not increase the likelihood of an intact perineum or reduce the risk of pain, dyspareunia, or urinary and faecal problems."

BMJ. 2001 May 36; 322(7297): 1277-1280. Stamp G, Kruzins G, Crowther C. Centre for Research into Nursing and Health Care, University of South Australia and North Western Adelaide Health Service, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

They all seem inconclusive with no evidence whether it really helps or hurts, which is what most literature on Perineal Massage reads... "This is how to do it, but..." I'm interested in reading the MANA study when it's available to see how it's different.

We use it as a way to practice relaxing through the sensations... and of course....

But... the horizontal mambo 'side-effects' of the massage are always good!
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