If you decide you do not want to undergo an Episiotomy a good way to help your tissues become more flexible is by utilizing Perineal Massage. The flexibility is important because it should help you stretch without tearing.
Adding this to you daily routine is realistic: it only takes about 5 minutes and you start at the end of your third trimester. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (Although I doubt he was talking about Episiotomy recovery.)
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Find a comfortable position:
- If you are doing it yourself: sitting with your knees bent, raising your leg in the shower, or whatever way feels right.
- If your partner is doing it: whatever way feels best for the two of you.
- Using about 1 teaspoon of massage gel (Yes they have specific ones for Perineal Massage).
- You can use your thumbs and if your partner is participating they might find it easier to use their fingers. Insert them to about the first knuckle.
- You can start applying light pressure. You want to try to push the back portion of your vagina towards your anus, and continue applying pressure to the sides. Think about making a letter “U”. Occasionally hold the stretch constant for a few seconds. Once you get the hang of it you can start increasing the pressure over time.
When increasing the pressure it should not be painful or sharp. If it is decrease the amount of pressure.
During the delivery you can also use warm compresses or take a warm bath to help you relax your perineum and help make the tissues more flexible.
Talk to your care provider about when you should start specifically. You can also talk with them about other care measures that may help you avoid an unwanted Episiotomy.