How To Do Perineal Massage and What Is It?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Learn about what perineal massage is now and benefit from it later, when the big day comes.

What is Perineum?

The perineum is a piece of skin between thighs, inferior to the pelvic diaphragm. The perineum muscles connect with the muscles of the pelvic floor. Perineal tearing is a common occurrence among women who have a vaginal birth. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, up to 90% of women experience tearing during labour.

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What is Perineal Massage?

Perineal massage helps to increase the elasticity of your perineum by massaging it, which should result in a lower risk of tissue tearing during your childbirth, or episiotomy - that surgical cut feared by many.

Start with a perineal massage from around 34 weeks onwards. It is just a 10-minute daily ritual, and it can make all the difference.

Moreover, antenatal perineal massage is no new "boom". It is an old technique. However, scientific results may vary. Studies from 1994 to 2001 proved that it even reduced the incidence of perineal trauma requiring sutures and women were less likely to feel perineal pain three months after giving birth.

And what do the newer studies say about perineal massage? Oxford University hospitals say that massaging your perineum from approximately 34 weeks into your pregnancy somehow reduces the chance that you might experience injury in this area.

Another independent study conducted by Cesky Krumlov Hospital suggests that the best practice would be to combine perineal massage with a special set of pelvic floor exercises. 315 primiparous women were questioned after their delivery on the use of various methods of birth injury prevention, including Aniball and perineal massage.

Study confirms there was a significantly higher number of women with intact perineum after the use of Aniball as well as a significant reduction of episiotomies. Data also showed that other methods such as perineal massage, raspberry-leaf tea or linseed had no significant effect on injury prevention.

The score of intact perineum? Aniball 43.1%, control 14.1%. And the occurrence of episiotomies? 29.3% vs. 57.7%! Other statistics from hospitals and midwives say that 68% - 81% of women experience injury free childbirth after exercising with Aniball.

We recommend exercising with Aniball in conjunction with perineal massage to achieve the best possible results.

Many women recommend perineal massage as well. Apart from applying direct pressure on the perineal floor, they use sunflower, olive oil, vitamin E oil or coconut oil and massage it into the perineum skin in the prenatal period. Some of them use raspberry tea too since the compound found in leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area.

How To Do Perineal Massage?

You can perform perineal massage alone or with your partner. Just keep hygiene in mind (hands washed, fingernails trimmed) and pick a comfortable setting and a position.

You can do it sitting with knees bent and back supported or with one leg higher (for example on a chair), in lunge position or on a bed.

We recommend doing it after a shower or a warm bath to relax your muscles further.

The quiet and relaxed place is the first step. Empty your bladder and wash your hands before you start massaging. Buy essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, sage, or rose and mix it with oil (for example almond but again, think about allergies). However, always go for 100% pure essential oils extracted through either cold-pressing or steam-distillation and tested to ensure 100% safety and 100% purity.

IMPORTANT: In case you are combining perineal massage with Aniball, be sure to use exclusively water-based lubricants.

Rub this mixture on your perineum daily. For massage, you can use a mirror so you have a better view, get a helping hand from your partner or just listen to your body.

At first, it might feel weird, uncomfortable or even a bit burning but as many women before you would tell you, it pays up. Prepare previously mentioned oils or water-based lubricant and imagine a clock:

  • 3 o ́clock movement – place a finger about 2 inches into your vagina and gently stretch the walls out to the side,
  • 6 o ́clock - stretch outward and down,
  • move over to 9 o ́clock.

How long should it take? Go around the clock (repeat the movements) a few times. As said before, in total it should be a 10-minute ritual. Daily would be ideal but even 4 times a week makes a difference.

If you have leftover oil, you can use it even during birth (rub on ankles or spanky) or buy a diffuser and create a pleasant aroma and ambience at home. If you have a friend that was not among the lucky ones, give her lavender oil as a gift. If added to a bath it helps the healing of tears and stitches.

Royal Surrey County Hospital states in their official brochure published online in 2019 that women can do perineal massage using Vitamin E oil to make the perineal skin softer. We recommend starting with a warm bath to dilate the blood vessels in the area and make your skin even softer to your touch.

If using oil, do your research and pick your favourite. As said before, avoid nut-based oils if you are allergic and do not use baby oil or petroleum jelly as these may cause skin irritation.

Perineal tearing during birth is common; 8-9 out of 10 women will experience some sort of trauma. Up to 65% of women will need stitches. And first-time mums or mums expecting a bigger baby are at highest risk of having a tear.

Tears vary from first degree (they heal naturally), second degree (already needing stitches), third (may involve muscles) and a fourth degree (deep, sometimes reaching rectum). Read more about tears in a more detailed article here.

Even perineal massage performed during actual vaginal delivery can decrease the risk of perineal trauma, according to Midwifery journal and researchers from Italy and the USA. Nine trials including 3374 women were analyzed. The perineal massage was usually done by a midwife in the second stage, during or between and during pushing time, with the index and middle fingers, using a water-soluble lubricant.

Women randomized to receive perineal massage during labour had a significantly lower incidence of severe perineal trauma, compared to those who did not.

Again, same result. Better to try it than not and regret it. Even better to combine it with Aniball.

European Journal of Midwifery also states that there can be long-term physical, emotional and psychosexual outcome related to the perineal trauma at childbirth.

Consult your doctor or midwife and ideally combine perineal massage with pelvic floor trainer Aniball. As mentioned above, a study has shown Aniball significantly decreases the risk of tearing or episiotomy.

Plus, Aniball has other benefits. You practice conscious control of your muscles, breathing, and pushing. You learn correct birthing positions and prepare your muscles for the safe and sound passage of the baby. And exercising after the labour allows your body to recover more quickly and avoid incontinence after pregnancy.

Read real Aniball customum... we mean customer reviews here and feel free to contact us with any questions.