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Perineal massage - any point?

(24 Posts)
ShebaShimmyShake Sat 05-Dec-15 17:02:39

I've been doing it for a few weeks but honestly I can't imagine it'll do much good. A baby will stretch me far, far more than anything I can do with my oiled thumbs. Like anyone, I want to reduce the risk of tearing as much as possible, but I just can't see this making any significant difference.


LumpySpaceCow Sat 05-Dec-15 19:21:31

My physio gave me a leaflet on it and apparently there is research out there to support it! Should be performed between 34-37 weeks, 3 x a week for 5 minutes (people do it before and after this time and more frequently but no evidence to support it being any more beneficial).
My physio rated it (she specialises in women's health and continence) and I will be doing it as can't do any harm.
From my own experience, I did it in first pg. Don't know if it was beneficial as I had an episiotomy for an instrumental birth!

TheLittleLion Sat 05-Dec-15 19:22:02

I didn't do it at all and I didn't tear. I've read some things saying it helps and some that it's a waste of time. I think that if you've got the time to do it you might as well, it can't hurt can it? smile

bebo100 Sat 05-Dec-15 21:05:03

As my midwife said. Can't hurt, might help.

Runningupthathill82 Sat 05-Dec-15 21:36:24

I did it without fail in my first pregnancy - ended up with an episiotomy though.

ZenNudist Sat 05-Dec-15 21:38:55

Ugh I really didn't fancy this. I reckon it's bollocks, how can they really work out whether it works with all the physiological differences and differences in birthing 'styles'?!

Did tear with ds1 but not with ds2, go figure...

JennyC520 Sun 06-Dec-15 19:30:03

I'm also wondering this. Ive been doing it for about a week now. Not even sure I'm doing it right! I've read instructions and got my midwife to explain it but still! No clue if I'm doing it correctly! Anyway, it won't do any harm ay? If it don't work with 1st pregnancy, no need to waste my time next pregnancy!

ShebaShimmyShake Sun 06-Dec-15 21:46:19

No, I guess no harm, so I'll continue to do it...but I'm not going to get my hopes up about its efficiency!

My leaflet goes on and on about how it's not supposed to hurt, but I don't see how you can stretch your vagina without it hurting a bit. The pain isn't terrible and it does seem to be hurting less the more I do it (so maybe it is working), but I don't see how it can be completely painless if you really are stretching yourself.

ayria Sun 06-Dec-15 22:18:11

I only did this a few times with my first. It does hurt, or more stingy, if you're doing it correctly, so I don't understand what that means. I ended up with an episiotomy and tears though so... now pregnant again, think I'm going to religiously do it, oil and all, this time- the scar tissue is making me worry. I had all the room to tear the first time...

I never really understood it though, if you are stretching yourself for the sake of not tearing, wouldn't you stay like that after baby as well?

LoadsaBlusher Mon 07-Dec-15 08:07:58

I didn't do it and I didn't tear.
I think it's more to do with luck and the way the baby comes out combined with skin type / elasticity.
I thought it was just about massaging the area though , not stretching it yourself! 🙈

jamtartandcustard Mon 07-Dec-15 08:17:01

Never did it and only had a graze with ds1 and the tiniest of cuts on my uretha (wtf??) with ds2 so it wouldn't have helped there. It's one of those things that you can't prove to work but can't prove to not work because there's nothing to say in advance if you are likely to tear or not

ShebaShimmyShake Mon 07-Dec-15 08:43:53

You may well stay stretched a bit after birth (which is why labours tend to be shorter the more of them you have), but I would prefer this to tearing, though of course there's very little any of us can do about it. I'm possibly a little unusual in that I wouldn't mind being a little stretched...I had quite bad vaginismus for a number of years and although it is much, much better now, having a little more natural give in the area wouldn't be a bad thing from my perspective.

InFrance2014 Mon 07-Dec-15 12:12:52

You can't know if it will make a difference to tearing or not because you can't repeat the experiment smile
I did loads of practice with partner, and still needed episiotomy (I chose this as Dr said I was going to tear) BUT I am still glad I did it, because it meant I was familiar with the feeling during crowning.
Learning to cope with what is really pretty uncomfortable (it's not supposed to be a gentle massage), for at least a minute or so, was excellent preparation for dealing with that sensation in birth, helped me focus on changing breathing to short pants etc.

JennyC520 Mon 07-Dec-15 16:35:21

You're supposed to go about an inch in with your thumb and then push down and to the sides right? that's what my midwife and my research says anyway! It's supposed to sting a little... but I don't feel this.. I 'massage' it for about 10 mins, just feels uncomfortable. Maybe I've yet to master the technique!

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Mon 07-Dec-15 16:39:18

I did it, well my DH did, fairly regularly but not every night. I had a tiny graze after a home birth so I would do it and recommend it as a PP said, it can't hurt and might help.

ShebaShimmyShake Mon 07-Dec-15 17:50:14

Further than an inch, I think (if you can manage it), and then, according to my leaflet, a kind of U shape with your thumbs, so going out and towards your anus, and then hold it for 30 seconds to a minute. I actually find it harder on my back holding that position than anywhere else! Massage is a bit of a euphemism, I think.

I don't think it can be completely painless but I don't think it's meant to be excruciating....

LumpySpaceCow Mon 07-Dec-15 20:33:56

Podcast on it smile

ShebaShimmyShake Mon 07-Dec-15 20:40:04

Ooh, thank you smile

pinguina16 Wed 09-Dec-15 13:25:43

I listened to the podcast and because it is said that you are not at more risk of a severe tear after a first severe tear, it's made me question the reliability of everything that is said. Maybe it was recorded before new research?
Women who sustained a 3d or 4th degree tear previously have an increased risk of another severe tear.

And just for education, 3d and 4th degree tears may lead to feacal and urinary incontinence, short or long term.

Zamaz Thu 10-Dec-15 20:38:06

I did it, and although I had an episiotomy, the midwife said having done it may mean the tissue had improved blood flow which may promote healing. Day 10 and am feeling good down there, so maybe there's something in it! Can't do any harm, so if you have the time and inclination, I'd go for it. Massage is a misnomer I think - you're more aiming to stretch the area!

RubberDicky Thu 10-Dec-15 20:42:25

I just couldn't reach! Ended up with a third degree tear... I did try! For what it's worth, once I'd kind of decided that a tear was almost inevitable it seemed less frightening

ShebaShimmyShake Sat 12-Dec-15 15:25:52

I've been speaking to women who suffered minor tears, and they all said they didn't even realise it had happened. I asked if they had scarred and got a lot of strange looks and, "Honestly, Sheba, I don't look that closely!"

Just me then.... fblush

But more serious tears would be another matter, of course.

HappyIdiot Sun 13-Dec-15 07:21:20

I got my DH to do it, and he really put some welly into it! It was on the border of unpleasant becoming painful. We did it 2 or 3 times a week from about 35 weeks I think. Not very dignified but I figured he'd see worse during the actual birth!
As it turns out, I ended up with an emcs! But during the labour, I'd had a cast of thousands poking around up there, including the midwife who basically had to push DD back up a bit to get her out for the CS! I was told I "tolerated internal exams very well" which I took as polite medical code for "roomy". So maybe it helped a bit.

TisIthecat Sun 13-Dec-15 08:56:53

We tried it with the first and ended up with a 3b tear. Didn't bother with the second which resulted in a 2nd degree tear plus episiotomy.
Maybe we did it wrong. ..

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