The sensations of vaginal birth are unique and often intense, and many women who are preparing for their first vaginal birth are concerned about how to best prepare for this physical and emotional experience.
Miracle Physical Therapy's perineal wellness consultation and perineal preparation sessions address an important component of this preparation.
Miracle PT's perineal preparation is similar to perineal massage, but with a different technique and focus. While perineal massage focuses solely on stretching, perineal preparation helps you learn how to relax into the natural opening of the vagina during childbirth and how to become accustomed to these sensations.
During vaginal birth, the muscle and tissue of the perineum is required to stretch than ever before in order to allow your baby to be born. The most current evidence shows that the body's flexibility depends primarily on the brain's perception of stretch and not a muscle's physical length. We apply the same principles to the muscles of the perineum, gradually and gently increasing your comfort with a greater degree of opening at the vagina. Perineal preparation should never be painful - its goal is to increase your ability to relax into stretch with greater comfort and ease.
Perineal lacerations (tears) are a common effect of vaginal birth, and have been linked to postpartum discomfort and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction (Albers 2005, Pergialiotis 2014, Eogan 2006). Perineal massage has been shown to reduce the risk of needing sutures (stitches) after birth for first-time mothers, as well as increase postpartum comfort for women with multiple births (Beckmann 2013).
Albers L, Sedler, Bedrick E, Teaf D, Peralta P. Midwifery Care Measures in the Second Stage of Labor and Reduction of Genital Tract Trauma at Birth: A Randomized Trial. J Midwifery Womens Health 2005;50(5):365-372.
Pergialiotis V, Vlachos D, Protopapas A, Pappa K, Vlachos G. Risk factors for severe perineal lacerations during childbirth. Int J Gynecol Obstet 2014;125:6-14.
Eogan M, Daly L, O’Herlihy C. The effect of regular antenatal perineal massage on postnatal pain and anal sphincter injury: a prospective observational study. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2006;19(4):225-9.
Beckmann MM, Stock OM. Antenatal perineal massage for reducing perineal trauma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD005123. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005123.pub3.