Katharine Graves talks you through this exercise:
“Everybody knows that perineal massage is a good thing because it helps prevent tearing. Nobody likes it. I don’t think there’s any woman that regards it with boundless enthusiasm. But I’m going to do a little demonstration which will show you just how good it is.
What I’d like you to do, do it with me now, is nice, relaxed hands, fingers upright and put your fingers together. So they’re something like that. If you look at where your thumb comes, it’s probably something like that.
Now, with one hand, I would now like you to massage, firmly, not just a gentle stroke but a very firm massage of the triangle of tissue between the index finger and the thumb on the other hand and keep doing it.
Now, I’m going to have to think of something to say while you do that for a few minutes because I want you to do it for a few minutes really firmly.
Perineal massage is a good thing. We use oil to soften the tissue. Olive oil that you’ve already got in the kitchen cupboard is perfectly good and you may well already use creams and oils to soften the tissue, face cream, hand cream, that sort of thing. So it’s not exactly a novel concept. Just keep rubbing, very, very firmly, please. You do perineal massage from about week 36, probably. That’s plenty soon enough.
You put the thumb into vagina, the fingers are outside and you gently stretch as you massage the tissue between the fingers and the thumbs. Often, good thing to do it after a bath or shower because the tissue’s warm and if you’re sitting on the loo, it’s quite a good position to reach the vagina and if spill a bit of oil, it really doesn’t matter because it’s on the bathroom floor where you don’t have a carpet.
Ideally, I would you like you to be massaging this bit of tissue a little bit more but you can do it again after you’ve finished looking at this. Now what I would like you to do, completely relax the hands again.
Just as you did before, put your fingers together and now look at where your thumbs come. Probably the one you’re massaging is a little bit further out. If it’s not, it may be because you’ve got a degree of tension in your thumbs.
Whatever happened, just tip your thumbs further out and I’m sure you’ll find that the one you were massaging comes a great deal further out than the one you weren’t. Now, we only rubbed that tissue for a few minutes. You have proved to yourself that it’s worth doing.
Practicing perineal massage everyday, you can see the difference it makes to the flexibility of the tissue.”