I am 34 weeks and I have now read in two places that I should be starting perineal massage. I never heard about it when I was pregnant with DD, but I did end up with an episiotomy after 3 hours of pushing when she was born. I am wondering if any of you can share any experience in regards to perineal massage? Thoughts? Suggestions? I tried it last night and found it extremely uncomfortable... but I guess if it might make the delivery easier (and a little more comfortable), what's a little more discomfort now?
I'll be interested to hear some experienced ladies respond to this. I've read that too and haven't done anything about it yet. I guess I should whip out some olive oil or something and get DH to help me out with that. . . I don't think I can reach that area with any level of comfort at all. TMI alert: Just wiping after going potty (and I'm peeing a LOT) is becoming a challenge.
I had DH try it and I also found it very uncomfortable. After a few tries I said to hell with it. I had a first degree tear with DD but I tore up so I doubt any amount of massaging was going to help with that. If you find it uncomfortable don't feel like you *have* to do it in order to avoid a tear. IMO, a month of added daily discomfort in the weeks when you're supposed to me relaxing isn't worth the slight chance that it might make a minor aspect of your birth easier. I think what's more important than massage is proper perineal support during the birth and avoiding an episiotomy unless its absolutely necessary.
I tried having DH do it with both my 1st and 2nd pregnancies and also found it pretty uncomforable. Plus DH thought it was a great open invitation to put the moves on. Um, no! I also found it hard to do myself and only attempted about 1/2 a dozen times during my 2nd pregnancy. Ended up with and 2nd degree tear with #2 so I don't know if trying to do more would have helped. I don't see doing it this time around but (kinda TMI) I feel like everything in that area is a lot more stretched out this time around already.
~Joy~ DS1-8/5/05, DS2-10/18/10 (VBAC#1), DS3- 4/11/12 (VBAC#2!)
I had DH do it once and hated it, so I did it myself in the shower from about 34 weeks on (at the beginning of each shower, before I turned the water on) with a little bottle of oil I just kept in there. It was no big deal, but I still had a 1st degree tear, so I'm not sure it actually did anything.
My midwife said it's helpful for two kinds of women: those who are still kind of tight in that area, to get things loosened up a bit before the big game; and for those who have trouble relaxing that area during pelvic exams or sex play. In the second case, it's more about getting used to the sensations of stretching & tightening and practicing your relaxation during those sensations so that you *can* relax the area when it becomes important. If you don't fall into one of those two categories, then it's probably not worth the trouble. And I'd say if a baby's already come through, then there's not much more stretching you'll be able to do, LOL!
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I never did any while I was pregnant the first time (although I thought about it a lot)- and I didn't end up tearing at all while delivering Beni. Which to me says that there are other factors involved. My pushing stage was not super long, but, it was like the midwife/nurses kept saying, "this next push will be the one, for sure!" and it wasn't for a good 20 minutes. I know 20 mins is nothing compared to how long some women push, but, to me the fact that her head was *right* there, crowing for that whole time, but she still came so slowly helped me avoid the tearing- and even though that midwife was also sticking her hands inside me in between contractions, which I did NOT appreciate, she was also providing support when I was pushing.
Mara & Joel, 2009
Thanks for all of your input. Since no one (so far) has highly recommended it, I think I may dismiss it. I pushed just shy of 4 hours with DD and at about 3 hours 15 minutes accepted an episiotomy. The OB suggested that the small cut would be better than tearing and the baby was apparently having trouble coming through. I imagine if the baby is big enough, and I imagine he will be since DD was over 9 lbs, it will be unavoidable regardless. The added discomfort just isn't worth it to me right about now!
And I love what Joy said about asking DH to help and him thinking it was an invitation to play! I am so avoiding talking to my DH about it for that VERY reason!!!
If you think you may have tearing or need an episiotomy again, then I would suggest doing some additional research on them. My understanding is that your OB is wrong about a cut being better than a tear. A tear has jagged edges and therefore heals better than a smooth sided cut. In my experience (I tore with both my babes), I actually tore on my scar from the first birth during the second, and therefore experienced no pain or discomfort, as it was all scar tissue with no nerves. I actually felt great after the second birth and had to keep reminding myself not to overdue in that area I dont know how common this is, but for me if was better to let my body do what it needed to then to let the Dr get involved.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)