Your perineum is the area between your vaginal opening and your rectum. This area stretches during birth and it is possible to have a tear. If you have an episiotomy, this is the area that is cut during the birth of your baby. Perineal massage is an exercise done by you in the weeks leading up to birth to prevent tearing. The theory behind perineal massage is that by stretching this area leading up to your birth will allow it to stretch more easily, and without tearing when your baby is crowning. There have been studies on perineal massage both during pregnancy and during the second stage of labor. This episode examines these studies to determine whether there is evidence to support this practice.

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