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A Women's Health post by Jaclyn Massi, PT, DPT

Posted in Blog.

August 26th, 2020

What is the Perineum and How Do You Perform Perineal Massage?

This post is a follow-up to our What is a Tight Pelvic Floor post that can be found HERE!


What is the Perineum? 


  • Is an area of structures and tissues that lay between your pubic bone and coccyx. It sits below the pelvic diaphragm and contains openings and sphincter functions of the urethra, vagina, and anus. 
  • Between the vaginal opening and the anus is the Perineal body, which serves as a center attachment point for superficial and deep pelvic floor layers. During delivery, these superficial and deep tissues need to have the flexibility to stretch and allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. Some women during birthing may experience trauma to this area such as tears or episiotomies. As well, may experience pain in this area for weeks postpartum. 
  • The perineum comprises many important functions and it’s important that these tissues remain healthy and strong. 


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Perineal Massage 


  • Uses gentle stretching of the perineal tissues to help prepare them for birthing.  
  • Studies have indicated evidence in reducing perineal trauma and perineal pain postpartum when perineal massage is introduced at 34-36 weeks pregnant.  Also, some studies have shown reduced perineal trauma when performing perineal massage during the second stage of labor.


  • How to perform 
    • Always make sure to clean your hands right before 
    • You can use a lubricant or perineal massage gel to make the massage more comfortable
    • Beginning in a comfortable position for you, either propped up in bed with knees bent or squatting on a stool against a wall. You can also have your partner perform this for you. 
    • Using either your thumb or index finger, insert one finger about an inch into the vagina. Gently stretch downwards, begin with 10-15 seconds and slowly build up tolerance to 1 minute
    • Next, using one or two fingers at the same time, gently stretch downwards and swoop up and out in a U shape. 
    • Perform 1-3x/ week for up to 5 minutes. Gradually increase holding each stretch starting with 10-15seconds and building up to 1 minute holds. 


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If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to blog author & DPT Jaclyn at:

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