Preparing the Perineum for Childbirth
Whether you’re giving birth for the first time or the third time, it is important to know that you’re doing the best for yourself and your unborn baby. The question of pain and tearing always arises. What can you do to prevent tearing during childbirth with a vaginal delivery?
One such way is perineal massage, used to widen the birth canal.
Massaging the perineum is an old practice which softens the skin and improves the elasticity of the tissue between the anus and the vagina. Seeing that your perineum will play a significant role during childbirth, it pays to prepare it so as to reduce the chances of a perineal tear and subsequent episiotomy.
Making use of a variety of commercially available essential oils or plant oils during the last weeks of pregnancy, you can work on stretching the perineum at home and making it more flexible. This flexibility allows for more stretch of the perineum during childbirth.
What’s required to get started with the massage oils?
A warm bath or shower softens the perineum, helping the oil to penetrate the skin and lock both water and oil into the skin. It is just that much easier to apply oil to damp skin. After your bath, find a comfortable, quiet place to sit. Before you or your partner starts the massage, wash hands thoroughly with hot water and soap.
Choose a perineal massage oil that is right for you. You can do the massage 3 to 4 times a week and for between 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
Perineal Massage Oils for Massaging the Perineum
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet Almond Oil is an essential oil that is superb for improving skin elasticity in preparation for the delivery of your baby. As a mild natural oil, it also boosts collagen production. What’s more, it is hypoallergenic, which means that even the most sensitive skin can tolerate it.
Sweet almond oil is great for promoting muscle relaxation and it also has some pain-relieving properties. Used in a massage, this essential oil can relieve muscular aches and pains and relax muscle tension.
Perineal Massage Oil by Mommy Care
This Perineal Massage Almond Oil is slow absorbing without being greasy and has natural ingredients. It is paraben- and mineral oil-free, and after the birth, you can even use it on your baby. Mommy Care claims that this oil can reduce the risk of tearing or an episiotomy. The oil has a very light fragrance. It is 100% pure and comes with ingredients such as vitamin E, vitamin D and calcium.
Planning a Smoother Birthing Process.
Read more about Mommy Care’s Perineal Massage Oil
Coconut oil is a fat soluble nutrient that makes skin more elastic and less susceptible to tears. It has great anti-microbial properties, helping to get rid of harmful bacteria.
Coconut oil is often used in heavy massages, such as deep tissue and prenatal massages. Choose the unscented, organic coconut oil. Easily absorbed coconut oil also has vitamin E in it which makes skin softer.
Grape Seed Oil
Coming from the pressed seeds of grapes, grape seed oil is actually the by-product of the wine-making process. There is so much goodness in the oil. It is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Add to that the vitamin E and omega chain fatty acids it contains and it makes an excellent massage oil for the perineum.
It is also an excellent carrier oil for essential oils and is suitable for all skin types, being easily absorbed. Massaging the perineum grape seed oil can improve the pliability of the skin and tissue.
The fat that comes from crushing olives is what is termed as olive oil. Applying extra virgin olive oil to the perineum will help protect the fragile skin of pregnant women from tearing. It can be applied directly to the skin for massage, but it is also used as a common base, being combined with various essential oils.
Olive oil massage provides relief from swelling, aches and muscle spasms. Most importantly perineal massage with olive oil decreases the incidence of vaginal tearing during delivery.
Weleda Perineum Massage Oil
Weleda recommends using its massage oil, starting the 34th week of pregnancy in preparation for vaginal delivery. This massage product for pregnancy is 100% certified natural, containing almond oil, vitamin E and wheat germ oil. These ingredients work to increase the elasticity and stretchability of the perineum.
Easy to apply, the Weleda pregnancy range of products has been designed to help future moms prepare for birthing trauma. Massaging the perineum with a quality oil like this keeps the connective tissue elastic to guard against tearing.
Read more about Weleda’s massage oil
Down Below by the Natural Birthing Company is made from the purest plant oils. You won’t find any added-in essential oils or fragrances that could irritate your skin.
Down Below massage oil is allergy free and has been made purposefully for perineum massage. Important ingredients include rosehip oil, calendula oil, apricot kernel oil, evening primrose oil and sunflower seed oil, all bringing elasticity to the skin and promoting healing and repair.
Read more about Down Below
Peri Prep Your Bits
Daily massage with Peri Prep your Bits oil from the company My Expert Midwife. This is the ideal way to encourage the perineal area to be more flexible and to stretch more easily.
Made up of sweet almond oil, grapeseed and avocado, the oil is superb for a perineum massage but also for massaging the skin after the birth. The oil comes in a controlled-flow bottle so that the amount you use is exactly right – nothing more, nothing less.
Read more about Peri Prep Your Bits
Rose hip oil
BabyIt Perineal Massage and Postpartum Recovery Gel
BabyIt isn’t an oil but a soothing gel made without parabens or other preservatives. The gel is also isotonic which means it has a salt concentration the same as the cells in the perineum. BabyIt simply provides balanced hydration of your cells during perineal massage. Each woman is different but the amount of BabyIt required is usually a full teaspoon.
This product is designed specifically for use during perineal massage. It is pH balanced for pregnancy. This hydrating formula is also soothing for postpartum recovery. It becomes a soothing balm on painful tissue.
Read more about BabyIt’s Perineal Massage Gel
A Good Oil is Your Companion for a Successful Perineal Massage
Natural childbirth has huge benefits for both mother and baby. You want to reduce the chance of perineal trauma and aid your baby’s smooth passage down the birth canal and out into the world.
If you plan on starting a perineal massage session in the last 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy, the correct selection of a perineal massage oil that is right for you is crucial.
All the perineal massage oils listed above have multifaceted benefits. You don’t have to settle on just one type. Experiment with them to see what works best for you in your attempts to improve your chances of having a birth with minimal perineal tears.