Peri Massage is quite literally the regular massaging of the perineum. The perineum is the area of skin between the anus and the labia. It’s the area of flesh that often gets torn (or worse, cut) during a birth. If you’re an expecting new mother and you winced at the mere thought of what I just typed, I guess the answer to the headline question for you would be, “Yes!”
Everything Birth’s midwifery supplies page has an excellent peri massage oil that is blended with the perfect oils and herbs to help ready your peri area for childbirth. Midwives have reported getting intact perineums when they did not expect them, while using this massage oil during the second stage, but it’s best to use the oil for several weeks prior to birth at least once a day. The special formula supports tissue elasticity allowing the peri area a maximum stretch during birthing process. WishGarden Herbs Peri Massage Oil contains herbs to strengthen the connective tissue and enhance elasticity in preparation for vaginal delivery.
Your midwife or birthing instructor should be able to advise you on how to perform a peri massage, but I can pass along what a midwife told me when I asked about it. Keep in mind this is not medical advice. Just a little explanation, because when I first heard about peri massage, I thought it was completely different. If you don’t mind descriptive written instruction, keep reading.
Perineum Massage Tips
(As Relayed to Me by a Local Midwife)
- Get a towel and place it on your bed.
- Take your pants off.
- Grab your bottle of Peri Massage Oil
- Wash your hands well. (Make sure your nails are clean and trimmed.)
- Sit on the towel on your bed.
- Lean back into a comfortable position.
- Apply the Peri Massage Oil around the perineum.
- Place your thumbs about 3 to 4 centimeters just inside your vagina. Make your thumbs kind of hooked inside the opening. (Keep away from the urinary opening though, which is above the vaginal opening.)
- While your thumbs are inside, press them downward and to the sides simultaneously in a stretching motion.
- Keep stretching until you feel a very slight tingling sensation, and then hold that spot firmly while you count to around 100, or until the area stops tingling as much.
- As you stretch the vaginal opening down and apart with your thumbs inside, move your thumbs around with a slight glide that is afforded you by the oil.
- Switch locations and repeat. Do this for a total of 4-5 minutes one or two times a day for several weeks before birth!
“Folklore abounds about doing perineal massage prenatally. No other species of mammal does this. Advising a woman to do perineal massage in pregnancy implies a lack of confidence that her tissues have been designed perfectly to give birth to her infant.” ~Gloria Lemay
I completely agree. The thing that makes me feel that almost all women need it though now is that, in nature, female animals haven’t had male animals come in and try to control their labors for a hundred + years creating fear and anticipation where she’d NATUARLLY be much more calm and confident. Even with a midwife, this is very helpful because just because a woman has a midwife doesn’t mean it’s going to bring out a completely animalistic calm. For some women sure, but not the majority of women who have sadly heard so many stories. It’s also possible that the massage gives women a level of comfort and control over her own body that makes the pushing less traumatic on the area. It’s something to consider. At any rate, many midwives have reported this blend to be enormously helpful. While I didn’t do it with my son, I tore very badly and with my daughter… hardly at all and I did use an herbal oil in the weeks prior.