Does perineal massage help prevent tears?

Perineal massage a few weeks leading up to delivery may decrease the chance that you tear, but it does so by causing unwanted (and permanent) relaxation of the vaginal tissues. It isn’t worth it. During labor, your doctor or midwife may provide some slight pressure on the perineum while you are complete and pushing. This can be seen as a massage, but in reality we are just helping to slowly stretch some of those muscles in the pelvic floor as the head begins to descend. This encourages the tissues to relax rather than contract right back after a contraction and push the baby back after the progress you just made with your pushing. At the actual moment of crowning of the baby’s head, studies have shown that a grip of the perineal tissues (applying counterpressure to the stretch of those tissues) can help prevent significant tears at the time the head delivers out of the vagina, the moment when most tears occur.

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