If you are a boy and get uncomfortable around vagina talk, better avert your eyes now.
Somebody asked me recently how to do a perineal massage (because she wants to avoid an episiotomy, which is literally cutting the vagina with scissors during labor….) I explained what I remembered the midwife doing, but this paragraph from the September 2006 issue of Health (page 82) explains it better.
The blurb is titled, “The DIY trick that makes giving birth easier.”
“…A new research review says [perineal] massage can reduce the need for [an episiotomy] by 15 percent. The technique also reduces tearing during birth and pelvic pain for 3 months afterward. Here’s how to do it: Put a water-based lubricant on your thumbs and insert them into your vagina. Press downward, toward your butt, and then stretch the sides, moving in a U shape. It may hurt a little at first, but it gets easier as the tissues expand. Do it for 10 minutes a day, at bedtime or in the tub, for the last 4 weeks of pregnancy.”
For the record, I did not have an episiotomy and I did not tear – or only very tiny lateral tears that did not need stitches. And this is after a doctor told me point blank, “All Asian women have to have an episiotomy.” As if.
(and an interesting factoid from the same magazine: ” 71 percent of people in a British study were willing to trade their office-computer password for a candy bar.”)