I recall reading something about Olden Day (v specific, I know...) births where the midwife used hot towels and oils to prepare the woman's fanjo for the stretching of crowning. Does this still happen? If not, why not? Does it just not work? It seems logical to me that it would help, but I could be wrong... am desperate to minimise the risk of tearing/being cut. Thanks.
Ina May Gaskin says in one of her books something about midwives at her birth centre using oil (or the woman doing it herself) to help with the stretching during crowning. No idea if it would make any difference, but I remember at least one woman in the birth stories part of the book says it helped.
Zimbah, I also read that. Ina May seems to do it routinely with a lot of success. But then look how many midwives they usually have at a birth and how dedicated said MWs are. Don't think that would happen here...
There's two things here - one is perineal massage with oils during late pregnancy to improve general elasticity. The other is placing a very warm compress against the perineum at crowning. I never bothered with the massage. My MW with my second did the warm compress thing and it definitely helped. It relaxes the whole area just when you need it.