Brought to you in part with the help of our friends at NCT and Dr. Hannah Strom of Awake Pelvic Health and Wellness.
Before you start, make sure your nails are short and hands are clean. Olive oil or vitamin E oil are great choices for lubrication. Some people also find a mirror helpful so they can see what they are doing.
- Be prepared: Before starting, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and trim your fingernails if you or your partner will be assisting. Find a comfortable and private space where you can relax with your legs open wide and knees bent. Have your chosen oil and a mirror nearby if needed.
- Find a comfortable position: Experiment with different positions that work for you, such as propping yourself up with pillows on a bed or sofa to make it easier to reach your perineum. You can also try reclining in a bath with one leg up on the side, standing in a warm shower with one leg on a stool, or sitting on the toilet.
- Apply lubrication to your perineum: Apply some oil to your perineum and the lower part of your vaginal opening. This helps make the massage more comfortable.
- Relax and begin the massage: Take deep breaths to help you relax. Place your thumbs about 2.5cm to 4cm inside the back wall of your vagina. You may find it helpful to use a mirror at first. Press down towards your anus and to the sides, feeling a stretching sensation. Hold this stretch for one to two minutes. Then gently massage the lower part of your vagina for about two to three minutes, focusing on relaxing your perineum. Use your thumbs in an upward and outward motion, then back again in a U-shaped movement. Practice slow, deep breathing while doing this. Repeat the massage two to three times. Some individuals may focus on previous scar tissue. Perineal massage should not be painful, although you may feel some pressure initially, which should ease over time.
- Involving your partner: As your pregnancy progresses, it may become challenging to massage your perineum by yourself. You can start by doing the massage on your own and, as you approach your due date, if you feel comfortable, ask your partner to assist. Follow the same method as before, but your partner will use their index fingers instead of thumbs for side-to-side and downward pressure in a U-shaped motion.
- Maintain the routine: Repeat the massage daily or as often as possible. Incorporate it into your daily or weekly routine, such as during or after a bath or shower. This timing is beneficial because the blood vessels in the area are already dilated, making the perineum softer and more receptive to massage. You will also be in a more relaxed state.