eating dates to soften cervix and/or perineal massage

(15 Posts)
cantbelieveImquittingcoffee Tue 05-Apr-16 12:32:22

Why ask about 1 topic when you can ask about 2?!
I am almost 36 weeks pregnant with #1. In an ideal world hoping for a natural(ish) midwife led birth (in MLU), hopefully in water if a pool is available - am pretty open-minded if the situation requires it but really I want as little intervention as possible.
With that in mind I wondered if anyone has experience of perineal massage actually working? I first read about it years ago and thought it seemed like an excellent idea, is now mainstream rather than weird (it's in my book from the hospital) but I can't seem to work myself up to starting it! The research I found about it it seems to have a v minimal impact, and given that a water birth helps avoid tearing I just don't know if I can be arsed (excuse the pun!)
Meanwhile, our NCT teacher recommended eating Dates - 6 a day from about 5 weeks before EDD - and having found the research study this is an actual proven method of softening the cervix that seems to work (unlike everything else!) but doesn't seem to get mentioned on these pages. Has anyone done it and found it helpful? Am eating 6 dates daily now anyway because it seems more fun than sticking my fingers where the sun don't shine...*
*(I do realise that the 2 things are done for different reasons!!)

cantbelieveImquittingcoffee Tue 05-Apr-16 13:25:43

And to explain the confusion about perineal massage there are articles like this :
https://www.scienceandsensibility.org/what-is-the-evidence-for-perineal-massage-during-pregnancy-to-prevent-tearing/

StormTr00per Tue 05-Apr-16 18:59:32

I agree the perineal massage doesn't seem terribly appealing.. though I am willing to try (if I can reach!!). Expecting no.2 soon and I'll do anything to try and avoid damaging my scar area.

Dates didn't work for me I'm afraid (I ate them religiously, still had to be induced at 42+1), but worth a shot too I guess.. anything to get baby out!!

StormTr00per Tue 05-Apr-16 19:03:48

Hmm.. from the looks of that article, I might as well not bother.. definitely hoping for water birth this time though! (wasn't allowed last time)

SpanglesGalloway Tue 05-Apr-16 19:08:00

Hi I eat dates from about 30w. Drank raspberry leaf tea from about 32 weeks and bounced on my excercise ball every night from 30w and went into labour naturally at 38w.
Also progressed very quickly with no pain relief but don't know if that's linked to my above or not!!

CutYourHairAndGetAJob Tue 05-Apr-16 19:12:49

I didn't do perineal massage first time and needed an episiotomy. Second time I did it and didn't tear. However I don't know if this is coincidence or not (I also had a water birth), but it has to be worth a try?

Never heard that about dates but I had both of mine before their due dates. They might help keep you regular, which is always useful in late pregnancy wink

Sausagema Tue 05-Apr-16 21:41:25

The dates thing is true (not had direct experience but worked for a friend and is backed up by real actual evidence). They have to be medjool dates however.

cantbelieveImquittingcoffee Tue 05-Apr-16 21:51:40

Thanks for confirming that sausage!! Have read the same - and is really no hardship to give it a try! I am mystified why there seems to be no mention of it on all the threads when unproven stuff gets talked about all the time?!

thundernlightning Wed 06-Apr-16 01:28:59

IIRC the study on the dates had a very small sample size, so while outcomes may look great, more research is needed. That said, I am absolutely scoffing dates like mad. (But then, I love them so it's no hardship!)

thundernlightning Wed 06-Apr-16 01:30:09

(Oh, I should add, I'm 40+2 with my first today.)

Dixiechick17 Wed 06-Apr-16 09:43:33

I didn't have dates as they made me gag, I did do the perineal massage a few times a week, only had a small tear, I started pushing in the water but got out. My midwife actually bathed the area with a warm cloth in between pushes which may or may not have helped. My labour progressed really quickly without pain relief, don't know if that's due to drinking four cups of raspberry leaf tea a day from 34 weeks, or my hypnobirthing keeping me fairly calm. I definitely can't say the massage helped me though, but as my midwife said, can't hurt to try.

BettyBi0 Wed 06-Apr-16 14:28:56

Has anyone got a link to the dates research?

thundernlightning Wed 06-Apr-16 15:42:56

The study I saw is here: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21280989/ but there might be others!

BettyBi0 Wed 06-Apr-16 16:03:10

Thanks. It c an't hurt to try I guess.

As for the perineal massage, I've had a good hunt for evidence too but not found anything convincing. Anecdotally I've heard that it's good for helping women locate and relax the relevant muscles and that it's good to have experience of feeling pressure in that area of that makes sense. Seeing as I'm practically a born again virgin lately I might give it a try haha

DropYourSword Wed 06-Apr-16 16:07:05

Can I add a third here...evening primrose oil. Taken orally and inserted into vagina from 37 weeks. Not sure if any studies but my very experienced midwife thinks it's well worth a try as she's seen great outcomes from it.

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