Pregnancy and Parenting Features

How Perineal Massage Can Help Avoid Episiotomy

While a woman’s anatomy is specifically designed to be able to give birth, the fact of the matter is that childbirth can be a relatively traumatic experience for the body. The sheer logistics of fitting a baby through the birth canal means that labor is going to be downright painful. In addition, there is the risk that the perineum, which is the part of the woman’s body between her vagina and her anus, will tear under the strain of the childbirth process. For this reason, many health care providers prefer to perform an episiotomy prior to delivery. An episiotomy will heal faster and better than if the perineum tears by itself.

An episiotomy is an incision in the perineum that allows more room for the baby to pass through the birth canal. If a baby is especially large, an episiotomy may almost be unavoidable. However, some women have had success using perineal massage to avoid an episiotomy.

Perineal massage is the process of massaging the perineum. Generally, this is done using a perineal massage oil. A perineal massage can help to improve the elasticity of the perineum. This is especially useful for the labor process. By making the perineum more able to stretch, a woman can increase the chances that she will be able to avoid an episiotomy. In addition, perineal massage of this sort can help to avoid perineal tearing, in the event that an episiotomy is not used. Some of the perineal massage oils may contain herbs such as kuki nut, lavender, black cohosh, and blue cohosh, all of which are thought to help the perineum to stretch. In addition, the massage process itself helps the perineum to be able to stretch as well.

In addition to using perineal massage to avoid an episiotomy, some women have used perineal massage to try to induce labor. There are certain perineal massage oils that are not only designed to help with avoiding tearing on the perineum, but that can also help to induce labor or speed labor along. Black cohosh and blue cohosh are both, for example, thought to help labor to be stronger and to be more regular. Other herbs that may help this process can include goldenseal and squaw vine. Of course, perineal massage oils that contain these sorts of ingredients should not be used much, if at all, before a woman’s due date, or before the time that she has actually gone into labor.

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