Can Perineal Massage Really Help with Birth?

Preparing to give birth is a big thing whether it is your first or any other number.  Your body will automatically make several changes to get ready for the birth but there are also things you can do to help the process.  One of these is called perineal massage – but what is it and what are the benefits?

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Explaining perineal massage

Perineal massage is the process of massaging the perineum, the area between the vagina and the anus.  The aim of the massage is to loosen the muscles in this area to allow the vagina to stretch and for the baby to pass through without causing tearing.

The process has been shown to help reduce the risk of requiring an episiotomy, especially in first time mums.  An episiotomy is a process where the perineum is cut to help the baby to be born due to the vagina not stretching sufficiently.  The process is only used if the midwife or obstetrician thinks it is necessary and is not a routine part of labour.  It is typically used if the baby is distressed and needs to be born quickly or if you have been pushing for a long time with no success.  It may also be used if the baby is breech or you are at risk of a serious tear without the procedure.

Preparing for massage

Perineal massage can be something done yourself with the help of a mirror or with someone else if you are comfortable with them touching you in that area.  A large mirror will help you ensure you are massaging the right area though after a few times, you will probably know by the feel of it if you are succeeding in your aim.

Some women find it is a benefit to have a bath before the massage.  This softens the skin and makes it more elastic as well as relaxing the body.  Those in the late stage of pregnancy often find the massage itself is relaxing!

One key ingredient to the massage is the use of a natural oil.  This makes the process easier and also there are benefits from the oils themselves as well as smelling pleasant.  You can use oils such as sweet almond or jojoba as well as olive or wheatgerm oil as well as natural products such as coconut butter.  Avoid anything petroleum based as they may cause irritation.

Benefits of perineal massage

In all honesty, perineal massage may not be for everyone but there are benefits to it if you can manage or can manage your partner performing it on you.  By relaxing the muscles and making the passage for your baby a little easier, you reduce the risk of having to have a painful episiotomy or that your perineum area may tear during delivery.

Experts recommend performing perineal massage until you are around 34 weeks pregnant and try to do it once or twice a week.  Don’t do it any more than this as you may lose the potential benefits.  The process shouldn’t hurt but may feel a bit uncomfortable – this is worth enduring if it can make your baby’s entrance into the world a little easier on you both!

Should Parents Take a Babymoon Before the Birth of Their Baby?

Becoming a parent is an exciting time, whether it is your first, second or fifth.  It is also a lot of work and can come to dominate your life with great rewards.  The idea of the babymoon is to have a break together, before the two years of baby-dominated chaos sets in.  At first glance, it may seem like a gimmick from travel agents to get pending parents to grab one last holiday – but are there good reasons to take a babymoon?

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Reasons to consider a babymoon

Family vacations are something that most parents look forward to, going somewhere with your kids and experiencing something different.  But there’s something unique about a child-free break that parents come to appreciate after the opportunity has passed.  That is why many couples are having a babymoon, a holiday taken before the baby comes along that allows you both a break before the busy times begin.

Having a baby also puts a lot of strain on a relationship, with the demands of the baby, of work and all those other factors leaving little time for each other.  By spending some quality time together, without kids, before the baby arrives, you enter this busy time with a strong bond and good memories to work with.

Of course, the relaxation factor is another huge reason to take a babymoon.  With all the preparations and the physical stress of carrying a baby, both of you are likely tired.  If you have other kids, this is even more the case.  So, a dedicated holiday where you relax and release all that stress acts as a kind of refresher for the good chaos to come.

Where to go?

For a lot of people, a beach holiday is the perfect babymoon.  Relaxing on the sands, swimming in the pool or the sea, enjoying good food without needing to travel far, all of these factors point towards this kind of holiday.  The buoyancy of the sea is a very therapeutic thing for pregnant ladies so this is another reason to vote for the beach.

However, where you go doesn’t matter too much.  What you should do is check out the availability of medical care in your desired location.  While you wouldn’t travel if you thought there was a problem, it never hurts to make sure help is on hand if you did need it.

Comfort is another factor in your choice.  For example, some pregnant ladies find high temperatures don’t agree with them so consider the temperature of the location when you make your choice.  Or you may be finding that eating is tricky so what kind of food is going to be on offer?  With all the medical advice, this can be a minefield to start with and if your body is making things more complicated then choosing somewhere that has a good range of simple, well-made meals is crucial.

Conclusion

Getting away from it all before the big baby day is an idea many parents are adopting.  It creates a break between the time before and the time of the new baby and allows the two of you to spend some time together, as well as away from all the well-meaning advice of others.