Everything you need to know about Perineal massage
What is the Perineum and Pelvic Floor?
The perineum is the area of tissue between your vagina and anus. It connects with the muscles of the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles which supports your pelvic organs, such as your bladder and bowels.
The perineum is especially important in women. Stretching or tearing of the perineum during childbirth can affect the support that your pelvic floor gives you at the back wall of your vagina.
A weak pelvic floor can also affect the control you have over your bladder and bowels.
What is Perineal Massage?
Perineal massage is a way of preparing your perineum to stretch more easily during childbirth.
During birth, the perineal tissue needs to relax and open to allow your baby to pass through your vagina.
When to start?
Research has shown that massaging your perineum from approximately 34 weeks into your pregnancy reduces the chance that you might damage this area during birth (with a tear or bruising). This is particularly beneficial if you are having your first baby. Antenatal perineal massage can also help with your recovery after the birth, particularly if you are having your second or further babies.
Do not do perineal massage if you have:
thrush or any other vaginal infection
If you feel pain at any point, STOP and try again another time. If you continue to find this painful speak with your Women’s Health Physiotherapist and they will help you to check your technique.
Get comfortable and relaxed in a place where you will not be interrupted.
You might find it easier to use a mirror for the first few tries, to help you see what you are doing.
Place one or both thumbs on and just within the back wall of your vagina, resting one or both forefingers on your buttocks. You may prefer to use only one hand.
Pressing down a little towards your rectum (back passage), gently massage by moving your thumb(s) and forefinger(s) together upwards and outwards then back again, in a rhythmic ‘U’ shaped movement. You are aiming to massage the area inside your vagina, rather than the skin on the outside. However, you may still feel the stretching sensation on the skin on the outside.
Perineal massage should be comfortable but you will also feel a stretching feeling. This is similar to how your perineum will open up as you give birth to your baby. With time and practice, as your perineum becomes more elastic, you will increase your ability to relax and can increase the pressure towards your rectum.
Best positions to Massage in:
Propped up in bed or on sofa with knees out to side and supported by pillows.
Resting back in the bath with one leg up on the side (change legs)
Standing in warm shower with one leg up on stool (change legs)
Sitting on the toilet Standing forward leaning with elbows on counter top. Reach with one hand between legs.
Sitting on a bidet
Call us today to have a quick call with one of our women's health physiotherapist. They would be happy to answer any of your questions about women's health physiotherapy treatment in Abu Dhabi.