The NHS offers woman in the United Kingdom information about pregnancy and labour. Some NHS Trusts have created short guides to educate woman about preparing for childbirth and perineal massage. Below is a list of such resources that were prepared by various NHS Trusts.
The guides include information about preparing for childbirth, perineal care, and a mostly positive perspective about the use of perineal massage as a tool to reduce the chances of perineal trauma.
King’s Collage Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: ‘Care for Your Perineum’
The King’s College Hospital NHS Trust has prepared a brochure, ‘Care of your Perineum’. The brochure explains how regular perineal massage from 34 weeks of pregnancy can reduce the chances of needing an episiotomy with a vaginal birth. They explain with diagrams and instructions how perineal massage can be done by women on their own.
Click here to download the information sheet.
East and North Hertfordshire Hospital NHS Trust: ‘Preparation for Labour’
On the page of their website ‘Preparation for Labour’ the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust reveals that more than 85% of women will have perineal tearing during childbirth. Perineal massage is suggested to minimise this trauma. Details are provided on when to get started with the massage and which perineal massage oils to use.
Barts Health NHS Trust: ‘Antenatal Perineal Massage’
Barts Health NHS Trust operates 5 hospitals throughout London, providing district general hospital services as well as specialist services. Their booklet ‘Antenatal Perineal Massage’ addresses the basics such as the location of the perineum, the benefits of perineal massage in pregnancy, and how to do it correctly.
Click here to download the booklet, ‘Antenatal Perineal Massage’
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals: ‘Perineal Care’
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals have launched a new project to reduce major tears that occasionally occur in childbirth. This project is known as OASI Reduction at BSUH, or commonly referred to as ‘ORB’. The idea is to provide consistency of practice among childbirth practitioners and also raise awareness of perineal care.
They incorporate 4 main principles during delivery of the baby’s head: position; guidance towards a calm, gentle birth; protection of the perineum with a warm pack; and lastly a slow delivery of the baby’s head to avoid damage.
Click here for their online information guide.
Southend University Hospital: ‘Perineal Massage’
Southend University Hospital offers a leaflet on perineal massage which they believe will answer all your questions related to perineal massage. They start by tackling the question ‘Why is perineal massage recommended?’ and then continue to answer additional questions such as ‘Are there any risks to perineal massage during pregnancy?’, and ‘How to do perineal massage and when should the massage be done?’
Click here to download the patient information guide, ‘Perineal Massage’.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals: ‘Antenatal Perineal Massage’
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has an international reputation for excellence in specialist care. They offer information to women on antenatal perineal massage. Their pamphlet on the topic explains the benefits of the massage and provides information on how and when to perform it.
Click here to download the pamphlet, ‘Antenatal Perineal Massage: Information for patients.’
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust: ‘Antenatal Perineal Massage’
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust offers useful information on what perineal massage is and its advantages. They provide details on when you should start with the massage and the techniques on how to perform the massage.
Click here to download the leaflet ‘Antenatal Perineal Massage: Information for Patients’.
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: ‘How to minimise perineal trauma at your birth and caring for your perineum after the birth of your baby’
This patient information leaflet has been put together to help women prepare the perineum as well as pelvic floor muscles for the baby’s birth. The leaflet provides information on the types of perineal trauma, the risk factors linked to perineal trauma, and how to prepare the perineum for childbirth.
Click here to download the patient information leaflet.
Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: ‘Caring for my perineum during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period’
Manchester University Hospitals offer valuable information on the value of perineal massage. Some of the topics include ‘What is my perineum?’ and ‘What can I expect after a tear?’ They also offer advice on pelvic floor exercises you can do to try to avoid perineal trauma.
To download this comprehensive booklet, click here.
Harrowgate and District NHS Foundation Trust: ‘Antenatal Perineal Massage’
Harrowgate and District NHS Foundation Trust created a leaflet which provides more information on how to perform antenatal perineal massage. You can even request the leaflet in a larger print, audiotape, or in Braille.
Click here to download the leaflet.
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: ‘Antenatal perineal massage’
Cambridge University Hospitals explain that perineal massage helps with softening and stretching the perineum in preparation for birth, especially for women having their first baby, women 30 years and older, and women who have had episiotomies before.
Click here to download the patient information leaflet.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust: ‘Physiotherapy ante-natal education class’
Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust knows how important it is for women to prevent and manage pain during pregnancy.
Their information leaflet shows you how to exercise to minimise perineal trauma. It also explains the benefits of perineal massage, which can reduce your risk of needing stitches from the delivery.
Click here to download their ‘Physiotherapy ante-natal education class’ leaflet.
The NHS Trusts Seem in Favour of Perineal Massages
From all the leaflets and booklets produced by the NHS about perineal massage, it seems that they all agree that it gives women more agency in the birth, making them feel more positive about the birthing process.