Articles on Massage
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Several recent studies have shown that conditioning the tissues around the vaginal opening with massage prepares the birth canal to perform. And the better a woman prepares her internal tissues for the stretching of birth, the less they will tear, and the better they will heal.
The technique, which involves gentle stretching of the internal tissues using oil lubrication, can significantly decrease the rate of injury and trauma from delivery. In some cases, it may also eliminate the need for episiotomy–an incision near the vagina to allow easy delivery. Women should discuss the massage technique with their clinician, especially in first pregnancies.
Research data has also shown that restricting the use of episiotomy not only reduces the risk of excessive blood loss, but also the risk of future problems including pain, urinary incontinence, and infection and no change in damage to perineal tissues (tissues between the vagina and the comfortable recovery with rectum).
Internal trauma affects women’s physical, psychological, and social well–being in the immediate post–natal period, as well as in the longer term. “Current evidence supports the use of internal massage in women completing their first pregnancy and also limiting the use of episiotomy in both (first births as well as second and third.)”