A study from Australia shows that massaging a woman's pelvis prior to delivery, does not prevent complications associated with childbirth (1).

Women suffer pain, and tear their vagina or rectum during delivery and lose control of their urine or bowels afterward. Some obstetrical textbooks claim that these complications are caused by women contracting their pelvic muscles when they should be relaxing them, probably because these books are written by men. So obstetricians often recommend relaxing pelvic muscles by massaging the pelvic skin prior to delivery, but this recent study shows that massage offers no protection from pain or tearing of vaginal or rectal muscles later on. Another study from Canada shows that most women who had had their groins massaged prior to delivery feel that it helped ease their pain and made their deliveries easier. Most said that they would do it again.

1) Perineal massage in labour and prevention of perineal trauma: randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal, 2001, Vol 322, Iss 7297, pp 1277-1280. G Stamp, G Kruzins, Ccrowther. Address Stamp G, Univ S Australia, Ctr Res Nursing & Hlth Care, N Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, AUSTRALIA.

2)Women's views on the practice of prenatal perineal massage. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2001, Vol 108, Iss 5, pp 499-504. M Labrecque, E Eason, S Marcoux. Address:Labrecque M, Ctr Hosp Reg Rimouski, Unite Med Familiale, 165 Rue Gouverneurs, Rimouski, PQ, CANADA

Checked 9/3/05

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