Massage for self love in pregnancy and preparing for birth – with perineal massage
In Ayurveda, we highly recommend oil massage during pregnancy. Massage calms down the mind and the nervous system. This is highly important during pregnancy. A time of change and uncertainty.
In the later stages of pregnancy, around week 34, it is highly recommended to practice perineal or vaginal massage too. Using oil at the vaginal canal is excellent preparation for birth. (In Ayurveda this is also the perfect place to apply oil to ground you and reduce excess Vata Dosha – we’ll get to Vata in another postnatal blog).
Several studies show perineal massage reduces the likelihood of perineal trauma (such as episiotomies) and the reporting of ongoing perineal pain.
How to massage your perineum
Think of the opening of the vagina as a clock. The area around the clitoris is 12 o’clock. Near the anus is at 6 o’clock. Your left side at 3 o’clock and the right side at 9 o’clock.
Using whichever fingers reach comfortably start to apply the oil to the vulva. (Feel free to massage this area too). Find the space between the vagina and the anus – your perineal body. Start to apply a little oil here.
Now start to massage the perineal body internally via the vagina. Insert your finger/s into the vagina and gently start to press down towards the perineal body. You can explore your vagina and where you find tension or where you want more pressure.
Massage from just the entrance to the vaginal canal and 3-5 cm inside. Applying a gentle pressure down towards the anus, and stretching it towards the inner thighs.
Only massage between 3 to 9 o’clock. Like a U shape. Do not put pressure anywhere near the upper part in the urinary tract direction (e.g. 12 o’clock).
You are trying to prepare this area for the birth of your baby/babies. So you can apply some pressure and stretching.
This is also the perfect moment to check in with your pelvic floor muscles. Notice how you can feel different parts of the pelvic floor and vagina that engages easily or might carry tension. Which parts are easier to relax than others. See these blogs for more pelvic floor exercises and get these FREE videos to learn more.
Enjoy every or every other day increasing the frequency closer to your due date.
You can practise with yourself or have your partner massage you.
When you shouldn’t practise perineal massage during pregnancy
If you have any infection such as thrush or have an outbreak of herpes please do not massage the vagina.
Finally, massaging the whole body has numerous benefits for body and mind. Abhyanga, self massage with oil in Ayurveda, is part of a healthy daily routine. You can have a friend or loved one massage you or if you are in Worthing where I have my clinic send me a message and we can arrange your prenatal or postnatal massage.
Studies on perineal massage: