Your perineum is probably a part of your body that you haven’t paid very much attention to. The truth is, most people don’t need to pay attention to it until they are pregnant. However, it plays a huge role in your physical recovery from childbirth!
Did you know?!?
According to a 2007 study, an estimated 85% of vaginal deliveries will result in some kind of perineal trauma, with between 60 and 70% requiring suturing.
So what can we do?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, perineal massage in the last 3-4 weeks of pregnancy can decrease your chances of tearing during labor.
While you are in the second stage of labor (pushing/baby is being born), have your partner or doula press a warm, wet cloth against your perineum. Just like when your muscles relax when you take a warm bath, the heat and moisture from the cloth will help to relax your perineal muscles. Just make sure to discuss this with them prenatally-you definitely won't remember while you're pushing!
The nurses in the hospital will tell you this, but I'm going to go ahead and warn you now-the first few times you pee postpartum, it HURTS. Even if you don't tear, this area of your body will have just gone through a major trauma! Everything is swollen and sensitive, so be gentle with yourself.