by Pregnancy.org Staff
Perineal massage is the gentle stretching and massaging of the skin between the anus and vagina (perineum) during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This massage has been shown to reduce the incidence of episiotomy and perineal tears during birth.
Many women try to decide if they want their birth plan to say whether to have an episiotomy or not. This, however, is a decision that it may best to wait until the point of crowning, when the care provider can evaluate the perineum and offer the best suggestion. Slow controlled delivery is important to an intact perineum and reduced incidence of laceration. The baby must not suffer any form of fetal distress and the mother and partner must listen closely to the midwife's or doctor's instructions on when to push and when to not push. The advantage of doing perineal massage -- it may permit the mother to give birth without an episiotomy or laceration.
The mother and/or her partner can do perineal massage.
Tips for your partner
It is important to talk about any feelings that arise (if any).
Mom may be having these thoughts or feelings:
Partners may be having these thoughts or feelings:
The following directions are for the expectant mother. But partners can take their cue from this as well.