1. Perineal massage from 35 weeks
Practicing perineal massage can also alleviate pain at crowing AND improve healing post-partum.
As always, let's turn to journals and research. There are a HUGE amount of studies done with REALLY positive outcomes with some studies showing a 40% reduction in episomtomies in those that practiced the massage technique. In another that looked at 4 trials of 2500 women, a reduction in lacerations, sutures and episiotomy were all noted.
It takes 10 minutes and starting with every second day from 35 weeks, increasing to every day as due date gets closer is recommended.
Research has shown that the more often it is practiced the greater the reduction in perineal trauma at delivery.
HOW DO I DO IT?
✔️Start off with clean hands and shortly trimmed nails.
✔️Using a natural lubricant of some kind. Coconut oil or sweet almond oil work fine.
✔️Get yourself comfortable. Many women find a leg up on the bed/on a chair helps with ease of access.or just enlisting the help of your partner.
✔️Insert your one or two thumbs about an inch into your vagina (about to your thumb’s knuckle), and put firm but gentle pressure straight down on the perineum.
✔️Allow the perineum to stretch for at least 10 seconds before moving slightly
✔️Slight burning or stretching is perfect but if you experience pain, use more gentle pressure.
✔️You should notice an increase in flexibility and tone after a week or so of practice.
This is a great opportunity to practice you deep meditative breathing also.
2. Stay fit during your pregnancy and do lots of forward leaning to encourage a better position for baby.
3. Warm compress at crowning. Not only feels blissful but can help the tissues to stretch gently around your baby's head.
4. Labour/birth in a bath or pool. Research shows that the positive impact on your perineum can last up to 6 hours after being in the water.
5.deliver in an upright position, this can increase your pelvic diameter by up to 30%. The more space the easier the birth.
6. Avoid coached pushing. With an epidural this may not be possible.