Antenatal and Postnatal Perineal Massage
"I believe that I did not end up with any perineum tearing because of the massages Tânia did and taught me to do myself in the lead up to my delivery."
Research has shown that massaging your perineum from approximately 30-34 weeks into your pregnancy reduces the chance that you might tear this area during birth. Postnatally perineal massage can be especially beneficial for women who has experienced episiotomy. The massage will help to bring blood and oxygen to the scar tissue area bringing flexibility to the tissues hence resolving any existing pain. Another important factor that often accompany pain is the psychological trauma of interventions such as episiotomy during a period extremely delicate for women.
The perineum is the area of tissue located between the entrance of the vagina and the opening of the anus. It is closely connected to the muscles of the pelvic floor which includes nerves. Much to everyone's surprise, episiotomy may actually cause, not prevent, pelvic prolapse and incontinence, exactly what it was supposed to help avoid. Cutting through the vaginal skin weakens this area and increases the likelihood that the skin will rip further down, possibly tearing into the anal muscle directly below the vagina.
If the skin stretches naturally, it is less likely to split apart, and if it does tear, the tear is likely to be shorter. Studies tell us episiotomy may actually lead to more damage of the anal muscles. If injury occurs, control of the anal muscles may be partially lost, and incontinence of gas or stool may result. For these reasons, it is probably best not to have a routine episiotomy at the time of delivery. There is also referred pain caused by episiotomy which is when you have an unexplained pain pretty much anywhere in your pelvis, internally and externally.
Another common problem for women that had episiotomy is painful sex or and a loss in libido. The scar tissue caused by an episiotomy looses its flexibility causing pain. If the pudendal nerve has been disrupted or cut a loss of sensation in the vulva and vagina may also occur. The pudendal nerve innervates in women, the vagina, urethra, rectum , labia, clitoris and many other areas in the pelvis, so perhaps it is a good idea not to mess with it.
Perineal Massage Session
Perineal massage can be done at any time during pregnancy if mother is well and is not suffering from any serious condition. Tânia's massage approach is based on a holistic and spiritual way, with the understanding that women deserve to be cared with respect and compassion especially around pregnancy and birth with can be such a magical time. She recommends perineal massage as early as 20-24- weeks as it is easier to start learning at this stage, where your belly is not yet too big and you can actually look at your vagina as part of the process. You might want to bring your partner or friend to learn to massage your perineal which can be very empowering for you two in different ways.
The perineal massage session starts with a consultation where more information about your history is taken. That is followed by a whole body massage with warm oil (Organic Sunflower or Coconut oil). This body massage is performed on a wide electric massage table which enables more flexibility for the therapist in terms of applying the right pressure or technique required to each client. This is a profound relaxing experience that involves a variety of strokes and joint manipulation tailored to your specific needs. Equally important for the relaxation of the pelvic floor is to receive an abdominal massage which is included during the body massage.
The perineal massage is performed with the practitioner wearing gloves and using appropriate oil for your case. For example if you have had an episiotomy and have been left with a scar that hurts, special oils might be used as well as a warm herbal compress on the area.
That would be followed by a mapping at the entrance of the vagina which involves the therapist inserting a gloved finger at the entrance of the vagina using appropriate oil and moving it in a clockwise motion. In this clockwise touch therapist and client verbally communicate about what is happening in the region. It is common for women to experience discomfort, pain or tension in the area for a variety of reasons. Once we establish what is going on in terms of felt sense in the area, different massage techniques are applied to it.
If appropriate at the end of the first session women will learn to start massaging their own perineum, it is a gradual process depending of how intimate you are with your vagina and how comfortable you feel with this. If you are interested in learning to massage yourself, homework exercises will be provided for you to practice between sessions at home. The follow up sessions will depend on your needs and can involve further body and abdominal massages, vaginal mappings, perineal/vaginal massage sessions and self-massage guidance. A minimum of two sessions is recommended.
The sessions are 90min long.
For more details do not hesitate to contact Tânia via email or phone.
Some of the other massages I had tried were basically just oil rubs-so I was relieved to find somebody who could help me with my back pain (and didn't seem afraid to apply pressure because she knew what she was doing) and understood the general aches of pregnancy. And about 34 weeks we started adding perineum massages to my regular pregnancy massage.
I saw Tania for a total of ten sessions, four of them post delivery with my baby son, who she gave a baby massage to and taught me and my husband how to massage him!. My son also enjoyed his massage and slept better post massage and I have continued as I think it helps him relax, sleep and ease his gas.
My post pregnancy massages were also excellent, with the tiredness, awkward position and breast-feeding- my postures were adding to my existing back pains so It was really really nice to have some relief. If I lived in the UK, I would’ve continued to see Tania and tried some of her other treatments.
I believe that I did not end up with any perineum tearing because of the massages she did and taught me to do myself in the lead up to my delivery.
Tania is wonderful person and I could not recommend her highly enough, she went well above and beyond what most therapists would normally offer and I hope to keep in contact with her and continue to see her for sessions whenever I am back in the UK.
I am forever grateful for her ability to make me calm, comfortable and less anxious at a time which was very, very stressful for me!