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"stretching" for birth!

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#1 newmummabear

Posted 25 September 2013 - 05:29 AM

Hi ladies,
I am wondering how many of you are going to actively start stretching the vagina/perineum area in prep for a natural birth?
My OB gave me a pamphlet of how to do this but as yet I haven't started. I am 30.4 weeks today. When did you guys start?

Also, I have mentioned this to 2 girlfriends who are also pregnant and due around the same time as me, and neither knew what I was talking about!!!  I thought it strange that their OB's hadn't mentioned anything..... maybe its just mine who is being over-precautious....

I've heard of the Epi-No, has anybody used this before, and did you find it useful?

Thanks girlies!!  :smile: :smile:

#2 intrigued

Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:45 AM

I'm 33 weeks and haven't started yet as I might be having a c section (will find out in the next cpl of weeks).

But where I'm from originally (Europe) this is common literally everyone I know does it, they sell special oils for it. Weleda has one, but I'm not sure if it is available here? I think you can just use coconut or olive oil.  

I've heard of the Epi-No, it sounds like a good product?

Both won't do any harm so I think if there is even a small chance to avoid tears or have minor tearing only then it's well worth doing it! Even if it's a bit of a strange concept and not a part of our body that you usually pay a lot of attention to!

I've started reading up on other things that help reduce tears during labour as well (eg midwife applying pressure during birth etc), but then I guess you never know what kind of birth you'll get..

#3 Mille-Mille

Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:55 AM

I used the Epi-No when I was pregnant with my first, I went on to have an episiotomy and 2nd degree tear.  I didn't bother doing any stretching with number 2 and had no tearing (although you could say I was already 'stretched' from birthing before).

The Epi-No was a lot of hassle and a complete waste of my time.

(I don't belong here, but thought i'd give my 2 cents worth)

I'll also add that I think whether you tear or not has a lot to do with the skill of the midwife/OB during you labour, something to look in to.

Edited by Mille-Mille, 25 September 2013 - 08:57 AM.

#4 Soontobegran

Posted 25 September 2013 - 09:05 AM

I did all that, not the Epi-No as they weren't around but I did the massage and the stretching and I had episiotomies and tears with all 5.

I am not sure that I have seen too much evidence that it makes a lot of difference but rather it depends on the type of the skin you have and the control of the baby's head but I can't say for certain that it won't help some people.
There is certainly no harm in doing it though.

#5 Contrebasse

Posted 25 September 2013 - 10:35 AM

I used epi-no, after I saw a study showing it did reduce the risk of tearing and episiotomy. In my case it didn't work though, still had a third degree tear!

My physio is also a bit sceptical as to whether it can over stretch the pelvic floor - don't think there are any studies on longer term impact.

#6 dimensionk

Posted 25 September 2013 - 10:49 AM

Apparently it only makes a minimal difference, and only if it's your first bubs. A lot of this may just be knowing what the feeling it like so that you can relax through it. I'm 38 weeks but am yet to give it a go.

#7 bree18

Posted 25 September 2013 - 10:57 AM

I've had tears with both of my births and honestly I don't think anything other then possibly me not pushing when the OB told me to stop pushing would have helped.
My OB is not a believer in the Epi- no or perineal stretching as she doesn't think she has seen anything which would lead her to think they reduce tears.
Like a PP my pelvic floor physio thinks the Epi- no stretches the pelvic floor when it doesn't need to be stretched until birth and recommends doing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor up until birth rather then stretch it.

#8 *~Luvmy3~*

Posted 25 September 2013 - 11:48 AM

I get my DP to do perinial massage for me and we will be starting it in the next few days, I have got him to do it with my 1st 2 and I had no tearing and didn't need an episiotomy.

#9 maryanneK

Posted 25 September 2013 - 11:56 AM

I've also heard mixed reviews about whether it works. Have belatedly started doing the massage on myself. The most logical thing I read was not so much that you physically stretch it, but that it has benefits in that its helps desensitise the area and get you used to the stretching/stinging/burning feeling which helps you cope better during crowning.
figure it cant hurt....I dont enjoy it though so have been pretty slack with doing it regularly. will find out soon enough if its helped!

#10 glowlight

Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:09 PM

I used the epi-no upon my obs recommendation and still had an episioromy. It was a waste of time and $ imo

#11 Luci

Posted 25 September 2013 - 01:11 PM

My Ob didn't ever raise the subject with me (I didn't mention it either).

Probably just as well as knowing me I would have spent heaps of $ on all sorts of gadgets which would have been a huge waste as I have had 3 x c-sections.

I have read a few discussions on EB over the years re the epi-no, and the replies tend to be mixed. Some people who have used it thought it was great, others ended up with tearing etc anyway .


Edited by Luci, 25 September 2013 - 01:13 PM.

#12 PurpleNess

Posted 25 September 2013 - 01:17 PM

Yep DH started massaging my Perineum every night for a few minutes from about 36 weeks for memory. I had a natural birth & no tears just a couple of minor grazes that didn't require any treatment.

I say do it, anything to help, wouldn't bother with a epi no, fingers are fine. It's a bit uncomfortable to start but is bearable, just a minute or two to start & use olive oil.

#13 Justaduck

Posted 25 September 2013 - 01:30 PM

I don't belong in here (came in from We are discussing) and my Ob never mentioned it to me, however there was talk of it at the antenatal classes. This is the info we got:

I was also told by a midwife that honey is meant to be great to use to do it with, apparently the warmth of the massage stops it from being sticky???

I never did it as I was having a c-sec

#14 bubmakes3

Posted 25 September 2013 - 01:38 PM

We did with my first (well I made Dh do it as I couldn't reach down there - much to his horror). The midwife at our antenatal classes talked about it and recommended a special blend of oils from a store near us (Pure Botanicals on King St, Newtown Sydney - if you are interested). Not sure if it helped or not as DS got stauck and I ended up with a c-section.

#15 namegoeshere

Posted 25 September 2013 - 01:45 PM

I never bothered as everything i read pointed to it being a minimal benefit at absolute best.

In the end my labour was so quick i didn't have time to stretch and had a second degree tear. I don't think perennial massage would have helped in those circumstances anyway.

#16 *Charlie*

Posted 25 September 2013 - 01:46 PM

I used an Epi-No every night from 36 weeks for both my DD and DS.  I figured it was the closest way to preparing for the stretching / stinging feeling.  I didn't have tears for either birth (and my first was almost 4.5kg).    Might just be good luck, but based on my experience, I'd recommend it, especially if you don't feel comfortable with your DH massaging your perineum.

Edited by *Charlie*, 25 September 2013 - 01:46 PM.

#17 newmummabear

Posted 25 September 2013 - 05:54 PM

Thanks everyone for sharing!

Its much appreciated, I'll double check with my OB about the Epi-No and take it from there...

I think anything that could possibly help is worth it!! :smile: :smile:

#18 CallMeFeral

Posted 25 September 2013 - 06:23 PM

Don't belong in this forum, but I used the epi no before the two previous births, don't know whether it did any good but it made me feel much more prepared and like I could cope - I was one of those terrified by the thought of something that large coming out of there! Whereas once I'd pushed out the balloon at about 7.5cm, 10cm seemed much more doable. I think it eased my fear a lot. The obs I discussed it with also thought it was really good.

ETA. I did still end up tearing both times though. First time apparently I was fine till after the head was out, then I thought "all done" and gave a massive push even though they were telling me to go slow - I had no idea that shoulders could actually do the tearing! It was a forceps delivery but the wonderful ob did not do a cut, and I think I'd have been fine if not for my shoulder naivety.
Second time I was giving birth in the bath at home in a bit of a panic, and once again just gave one big push when I felt the urge, and he was out - 4.3kg bub and nobody to coach me through to slow down, so again I think it was a speed factor! I planned to do all that J breathing them out type stuff but at the time I just wanted him out and the pain to be over!

Edited by CallMeProtart, 25 September 2013 - 06:27 PM.

#19 Juju38

Posted 25 September 2013 - 06:35 PM

Don't belong here either but just wanted to add I pushed out a 4.75kg baby and a 4.94kg baby without any tears. My OB said its all about the skin and I firmly believe, the skill of the OB or midwife.
I did no perineal preparation at all.  
Good luck!

#20 axiomae

Posted 25 September 2013 - 07:01 PM

DD came out with my first push so I doubt anything would have stopped me tearing with that amount of force.

#21 dirtgirl

Posted 25 September 2013 - 07:07 PM

I don't belong here, but thought I'd share my experience. I had tearing with my first, despite doing some stretching. The second time around I explicitly told my midwife that I wanted to avoid tearing as much as possible, and that I would like her to instruct me during the labour on what to do to avoid tearing. It was the best thing I ever did. Gave birth to number 2 with not even a graze. Speak to your midwife, and they should be able to guide you during labour.

Good luck OP.

#22 clrw

Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:27 PM

34 weeks and will be starting tonight. Both with the epi no and with almond oil.

Good luck!!

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