How to Do A Perineal Massage: 5 Easy Steps
Updated: Mar 2
Perineal massage can be super helpful to help soften your tissues and prepare your body and vagina for delivery. You can check out our other pregnancy blog posts for tips and stretches to help prepare for childbirth.
Let’s First Talk About What Exactly Is the Perineum
If you are looking at your vulva, there is an area between your vagina and your anus called your perineum or perineal body. This area can be thought of as your grand central station as a lot of important pelvic floor muscles attach here. Just like any other muscles in the body, these muscles of the pelvic floor can become tight or tender which may lead to pain with sex, difficulty with vaginal delivery or pain wearing a tampon. Perineal massage can be helpful to improve the mobility of the pelvic floor muscles to reduce the chance of tearing during delivery (1), improve scar tissue mobility for postpartum women that may have had tearing and decrease tension in the pelvic floor muscles for those who experience pain with sex (2).
Here’s Our 5 Step Guide:
Prop yourself up in a comfortable positioning, maybe leaning against your headboard with pillows underneath your knees for support. This can also be performed in the shower with one leg propped up on a ledge as if you are in a Captain Morgan position. The warmth from the shower may also help relax the tissues of the pelvic floor even more.
Imagine your vagina as a clock, 12 o’clock is the urethra and 6 o’clock is your tailbone. Use a water based lubricant or a vaginal moisturizer (we love Slippery Stuff, Good Clean Love, or Desert Harvest). Insert your thumb into the opening of your vagina and apply some gentle pressure lightly down towards 6 o’clock. Hold for a few breaths and then move around the opening of your vagina. Focus most of your stretches between 3 and 9 o’clock.
You should feel a gentle stretch or even a tingly sensation like when you put your fingers in your mouth and pull in either direction (not great to think about but accurate description!)
If it is challenging to reach, you can also have your partner do this for you.
Begin this for 3-5 minutes and repeat 2-3 times each week.
This should feel like a gentle stretch but should not be painful. If you experience any pain, I highly suggest reaching out to a pelvic floor physical therapist so that you can have a full assessment of your pelvic floor muscles.
When Should You Start Perineal Massage?
We usually recommend beginning perineal massage around 34-35 weeks of pregnancy. You can spend 5-10 minutes doing this each day. While the research is mixed, doing this massage will help bring more awareness to the pelvic floor and help prepare your tissues for vaginal delivery.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or if you want to see if pelvic floor physical therapy would be a good fit for you. We would love to be a part of your team to help support you during your pregnancy or postpartum journey and beyond!