Monday, December 21, 2009

Vaginal massage during pregnancy may avoid episiotomy

A previous post on this blog discussed performing Kegel muscle exercises late in pregnancy and into the first 12 post-partum months to help reduce the development of urinary incontinence. This in encouraging especially for first time mothers wishing to decrease the “side effects” to the pelvic floor as a result of their first vaginal birth. In addition, a recent review of the literature, researchers found that massage of the perineum and lower vagina can reduce the chance of needing an episiotomy at the time of birth.

An episiotomy is a surgical incision either usually ay the 6 o’clock or 5/7 o’clock position during the birth process in order to facilitate delivery of the baby’s head in order to preempt/prevent an uncontrolled tear of the same place during the birth, if it appears that the head may too big. It is not always needed and is controversial whether an “intentional tear” preempts a tear that may or may not have occurred. Both are repaired regardless, after the birth.

Massage of the perineum and lower vagina during the last four to five weeks for four minutes appears to help the vaginal area expand and help avoid an episiotomy.