Where Is Your Perineum? Massage & Stretching
Where Is Your Perineum?
The perineum is the muscle and tissue between the anus and the vulva in women. During childbirth, the perineum stretches and often tears. One way to help prevent tearing is to stretch and massage the perineum for a few weeks before your due date.
Why You Should Try Perineal Massage
It encourages the skin and muscles around the perineum to stretch more easily during childbirth, reducing the severity of tearing.
Learning how to stretch the perineum through perineal massage increase muscle and soft tissue flexibility for an easier birth experience and a smoother recovery.
How Do You Do Perineal Stretching & Massage?
If you have a history of active genital herpes in your pregnancy, this technique should be avoided. Please consult a physician before attempting any stretches or massages at home. Inspira Physical Therapy & Pilates in Brooklyn, NY provides Pelvic Floor & Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Private Pilates. Book a free phone consultation.
- Wash hands and apply a lubricant, such as KY Jelly to the area
- Get a mirror, lay back comfortably, and position the mirror so you can see your perineum (the skin between the bottom of your vagina and your anus)
- Place your thumbs 3-4 cm inside the vagina at the 5 and 7 o’clock positions. You will feel a band of muscle. Press into this muscle with consistent downward and outward pressure. Concentrate on relaxing and “bulging” the muscle outwards in response to the stretch. Continue to press down until you feel tingling or burning.
- Maintain the stretch and pressure for around 2 minutes, until the area becomes numb.
- Add more lubricant and maintain the same pressure and stretch while making a U-shaped, focusing on the length of the band of perineal muscle at the base of the vagina. Avoid the urethra (at the top of the vagina at the 12 o’clock position). You can attempt to pull the perineum forwards, which mimics the action of the baby’s head stretching outwards.
- Practice daily from 36 weeks onwards and after 1 week, you may notice increased flexibility.