Perineal massage is the process of digital manipulation (using the hands and fingers) of the perineum for the purposes of warming, stretching, and strengthening the crucial muscles of the area. This area of body is located between the opening of the vagina and the anus. The main reason why pregnant women are encouraged to receive this type of massage is that it really prepares these tissues to stretch properly for when the baby is passing through during labour. You can have this massage done at home; however, we recommend receiving this massage from a physiotherapist due to its importance in regard to your delivery. Our physiotherapists are trained thoroughly to deliver the best perineal massages and often their doings lead to much better delivery experiences by our patients.
It is crucial to note that about half of women who go through delivery end up with tears around their vaginal openings. Damage to such an area after delivery could lead to issues such as urinary or fecal incontinence which can be very distressing and a chonic issue. This treatment would make the vaginal area more flexible making it less likely for it to tear during delivery.
You may ask how exactly these massages help ease the delivery process. Massage can increase blood flow, provide heat, and of course the mechanical stretching of the area – both strengthening and giving increased elasticity.
This massage needs to take place once or twice a week sometime between weeks 34 and 36 in a pregnancy period.
Each session lasts about 30 minutes.
Women who have had previous injuries around their perineum section will benefit tremendously from this massage. Horse riders, dancers, gymnasts, volleyball players tend to receive such injuries on regular basis and upon getting pregnant, receiving perineal massages are immensely encouraged.
This massage in many cases prevents scarring. Vaginal openings tend to tear for many of pregnant women during delivery and those tears in most cases leave a scar. The consequences of perineal massage often bring reduced scarring on the perineum section.
Undergoing these massages reduce the need for you to get episiotomy which is incredibly advantageous.
These massages also have mental benefits. Knowing that you are undergoing these stretches to minimize delivery pain, will ease your mind throughout your delivery process which is always a bonus.
Perineal massage reduces the risk of postpartum urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence.
Receiving these massages would ensure a much smoother postpartum period for you. Pains associated with this period always hunt women for months to come. Reports have proven that women go through way less perineum discomfort when they receive perineal massages prior to their delivery date.
In the year 2006 the results from four randomized controlled trials which had 2,497 pregnant women involved, indicated that women who were randomly assigned to do perineal massage had 10% decrease in the risk of tears that required stitches and 16% decrease in the risk of episiotomy.
It would be alright to feel some discomfort following the massage; however, that should not worry you as some swelling is always normal following a massage during pregnancy.
Your physiotherapists would give you detailed instructions on some of the exercises that you can do at home to further ensure the well-being of your perineal areas.
It is very crucial for you to share all your concerns with the physiotherapist. Create a list of your questions prior to the appointment and make sure to bring the list with you.
Please empty your bladder before the massage session takes place.
1. How often should perineal massage get done?
Once or twice a week.
2. Does perineal massaging induce labor?
No, Perineal massages do not induce labor.
3. Are perineal massages covered by OHIP?
No, these massages are not covered by OHIP; however, you should check with your work placement insurance as some employment insurances offer funds for such services.
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