“I gave up on perineal massage”
Most women in their late pregnancy tell me that they:
- Are keen to reduce their risk of perineal stitches
- Have been told about perineal massage in a prep for birth class
- Have Buckley’s chance of reaching around their belly sufficiently to do their own
- Partner gave it a try but no one had any idea whether they were doing it correctly
so it seemed pointless
Why would a pregnant woman or her partner have incentive to practice something without
a clue as to whether that practice is remotely helpful. For many, it can be awkward or they
worry that something will be damaged if done incorrectly. With so many barriers, no
wonder most people give up on perineal massage.
Perineal massage makes so much sense …once someone shows you what to do.
As a women’s health physiotherapist, I assess pelvic floors all day long. I regularly teach pregnant
women perineal massage and pelvic floor relaxation. After verbal instructions that make the
goals clear, we practice. I physically do the perineal massage with gloves on so that each
woman knows what it should feel like for her. She gets the chance to practice her pelvic
floor relaxation and breathing with guidance. It is fantastic practice for labour.
When partners are able to attend an appointment, they come along and practice with
guidance. It’s amazing how a few tips and a little reassurance can create so much more
confidence. It’s equally amazing how much flexibility and coordination can improve in many
Flexible pelvic floors have the best chance of bouncing back well after labour.
Blog by Ocean Kabikwa (Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health Physiotherapist)