Perineal Stretching

Whitney - posted on 02/25/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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Is anyone doing perineal stretching to prevent episiotomies?

I am having my second in June and my last delivery, I had an episiotomy which I explicity requested not happen. I was beyond pissed when I found out afterward as I didn't feel it at the time he made the incision and he didn't say anything. I feel like this time (with a different doctor who is much more respectful to my wishes) I have a better chance of avoiding even a tear if I do perineal stretching which I hadn't even heard of last time.

So I'm curious, have any of you had success with this in past pregnancies? Any tips?

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Sarah - posted on 04/05/2010

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With my first I had a written birth plan that I gave to my doctor at my 38 week appointment, then copies that I gave to EVERY doctor/nurse/med student/resident/whatever came into my room at the hospital!!! It was really basic, you can find "outlines" online. Mine basically said don't offer me any drugs, if I want them I will ask, let me be, unless it is absolutely necessary for you to step in... I pushed my 7lb 14oz baby out in 3 pushes (yes I said 3) and only had 3 stitches, and I never did the perineal massage... I think it can definately help, but I also think it just depends on your body! Good luck with everything! My second baby is due June 20th!! We can't wait!

Mary Renee - posted on 04/05/2010

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I hit 36 weeks so I started to try the perineal massage. Because the only mineral oil I found was a laxative, I'm using simple baby oil which is basically mineral oil anyway.

Clip your fingernails if they're long (and if you're taking prenatal vitamins they probably are) I sit on a clean towel in the bathroom after taking a shower and put the baby oil on a cotton ball and use my finger/thumb to gently stretch until it hurts. You can kind of imagine the "burning/stinging" sensation you'll feel during childbirth but I haven't had my baby yet so I don't know how well it works!

Also, I would advocate bring several copies of your birth plan. I'm amazed that the doctor was allowed to cut you with out your consent! They're required to get your consent when administering any medication or performing any surgery. What state do you live in? That should not have happened. Give a copy of your birth plan to the doctor, the nurse, and keep a copy for yourself or someone else in case someone else comes in and is attending. Make sure your birth coach/boyfriend/husband/mom/sister, who ever is there with you, also knows your wishes and stays diligent while you're busy doing all the hard work!

Mary Renee - posted on 03/27/2010

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My doctor doesn't believe in episiotomies (THANK GOD! Me neither) and he said to use MINERAL oil, not vegetable oil. You don't want the extra ingredients getting in there - mineral oil is the most neutral. He said stretch it with your thumb until you feel it and want to stop but don't over stretch because the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself.

Kegal exercise help with recovering, and talk to the doctor that's going to deliver your baby. Mine told me that tears are easier to heal than cuts (and it makes sense... women have been having babies since the begining of time WITH OUT episiotomies) I talk to a woman who had an episiotomy because she was induced with pitocin and she said she would never go that route again (regarding both the pitocin and the episiotomy) My doctor said that he provides a lot of manual support for the perinium during delivery. I think you'll have more luck talking to your doctor and finding out if they're experienced with natural childbirth. Some doctors are even willing to do perineal massage during labor to help.

Jesse - posted on 03/24/2010

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Them cutting you is way better than tearing. I tore with my first and my 3rd. The first b/c I didn't do the stretching and he was so big and the 3rd b/c they sped my labor up so much with the pitocin. You can do the massages everyday and it helps but also don't let the hosp rush you. Let your body do things the way it needs to so it has time to stretch out on it's own.

Marie - posted on 03/18/2010

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Seemed to work for me w/ my first. I only tore 1/4 of an inch & there was no recovery time. I have not been doing it like I should w/ #2. Due in 10 days. Hope I don't regret my laziness!

Andrea - posted on 03/16/2010

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I have just started doing the stretching myself and I am hoping I do not have to have an episiotomy as well.

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i wish my doc had cut me my lil girl came flyin out so i tore upwards....still hurts sometimes 10 months later. but i heard towards the end of ur pregnancy u can massage there with some kind of oil. google it

Niki - posted on 03/11/2010

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I massaged my perineum with vegetable oil daily for the last month, and i didnt rip - although my baby did have a small head, and my mid wife was really good about only letting me push a litttle, then stop and wait which allowd time for it to stretch out. but i think its well worth doing it, it doesnt take that much time and who knows? Also FYI -tears (rather than cuts) tend to heal a lot quicker - but doctors prefer to cut because its easier to stich

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