Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:35 pm
Perineal massage is most effective if you've been doing it during your pregnancy, but warm compresses and a mineral oil perineal massage during the pushing phase of labor when your body is already preoccupied is quite effective and a lot easier if you're embarrassed by the idea of doing perineal massage prior to delivery. I never did perineal massage during pregnancy because being all up in my junk like that was just too akward. I was able to deliver a 10lb1oz boy in three pushes with no tears just using warm compress and mineral oil massage provided by the delivering midwife. I was too focused on the contractions and such to feel any akwardness and I am SO grateful she thought to do that for me. I also think pushing at my body's own pace helped me get through two of my other deliveries also without tears. The only time I did have some tearing it was a small labial tear caused by the vacuum extractor used when I was delivering my first and smallest baby (6lb13oz). As a seasoned mother and novice women's health student, other advice I can give is to avoid pushing during crowning, let baby make his way out in his own time. Don't get hurried when you do push, straining the pelvic floor can cause perineal swelling and decrease flexibility. Do your kegels. They are more discreet and require a lot less akward effort for you than prenatal perineal massage, but can contribute just as much to vaginal flexibility during delivery. Most importantly, don't panic. Fear and tension is the biggest obstacle in childbirth. A relaxed trusting mom will have an easier delivery because her body is more pliable.