Labour Pregnancy

Perineal Massage

Your go to guide on how to perform Perineal Massage for an easier birth

Perineal massage might sound like some foreign sexual massage technique but it’s really just as simple as its name. Massaging your perineum – the section around the base of your vagina.
Now why would one do this you ask? Well there are several benefits, but the most popular one for mum’s to be is it has been shown to reduce the risk of tearing during labour. Yes, finally there is something you can do yourself to reduce the complications of birth. Anything to reduce the risk of pain and the risk of 3rd and 4th degree tears (essentially tearing from your vagina to your anus). Which is extremely unpleasant and has long term effects that can be horrendous. So anything to prevent that is a go to in my book. Now being pregnant, it’s sometimes a bit hard physically to do it to yourself so you can have your partner do it for you so your bump doesn’t get in the way.


  • Massage increases your blood flow which can help with your tissues stretching. As you know this is very much needed during the labour & delivery process. Sometimes it’s unclear as to how much your tissue will stretch during that process so this is a great way to enhance your tissues ability to stretch. Which may reduce your risk of needing stitches during labour.

  • Can help with anyone who has had a previous injury or scar in that area.

  • It can also help you become more aware and familiar with some of the sensations you might experience during labour. Which can help you be more relaxed and mentally prepared for labour.

  • Lowers your risk of tearing especially 3rd and 4th degree tears.

  • Significantly reduced your risk of need an episiotomy.

  • Decreases your risk of perineal pain after delivering your baby.

  • My favourite – it can reduce your 2nd stage of labour duration which is a big one for reducing your pelvic floor dysfunction risk. Huge! Get massaging. 

From 34 weeks pregnant  1-2 times/week for a maximum of 5 minutes. Now you might need to build up to the 5 minutes so take it easy. Breathe and relax your pelvic floor and allow your body to reap the benefits.

How to

  • Empty your bladder first. Wash your hands well, trim your nails or have your partner trim theirs. Either lie down on your back or on your side – if you’re doing it yourself a mirror can be handy and please don’t use your phone camera just in case you accidentally press record and send it to insta.

  • Using your index and 3rd fingers  or using your thumb and 2nd finger whatever you find more comfortable.

  • Use a water soluble natural lubricant (we like Olive & Bee intimate cream) gently place your fingers inside your vagina around 3-5cm deep.

  • Gently put pressure on the wall of your vagina in a downwards position towards your anus and out to the sides of your vagina and hold for 60 seconds. You will feel a sight burning, stinging or tingling sensation.

  • Then gently work the lubricant around slowly like you’re sweeping the lower half of your vagina. Gently maintaining pressure and pulling your perineum (section between your vagina and anus) forward and outward a little as you go. (Away from yourself)

NOTE: A warm compress can help before and after if you are feeling strong sensations.

perineal massage









Perineal massage should not be performed:

  • Prior to 34 weeks pregnant

  • If you have been told you have cervical shortening or placenta prevue.

  • If you have severe blood pressure problems during your pregnancy.

  • If you have any yeast infections

*Doing it more than 1-2 times/week doesn’t increase the benefit.

Exercise Labour Pregnancy

Pelvic Floor Exercises During Pregnancy Images

Use these images below to get started on your pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy. If you know how to activate them during pregnancy it can help prepare you for labour and make it easier to strengthen them after birth. 

Pelvic Floor Anatomy: as you can see the pelvic floor muscles are shaped like a sling running from your pubic bone to your tail bone. They enclose your vagina, urethra and your anus. Their job is to help close off these openings and to keep your internal organs lifted. 

Pelvic Floor Pulses. This is one of the best exercises to start with, quick contractions of just your pelvic floor muscles squeezing closed and lifting. For full video instructions click here

The Knack Exercise: Great for helping your body learn to activate your pelvic floor muscles before downward pressure inside. Eg cough, sneeze laugh etc. For full video instructions click here

Hip Opening Exercise: this is where your muscles are working while you’re doing something else. Moving into the phase 2 of your exercises. For full video instructions click here 

Sitting Leg Lifts: This is slightly harder again where you are working your pelvic floor and deeper core muscles on an unstable base. For full video instructions click here

Education Labour Pregnancy

Expert Midwife Tips to Prepare for Labour

Have you ever wondered how a midwife prepares herself for labour? Read on as I chat to Jedda Maggs who has been a midwife for 12 years and is a mum of 3 boys. You need to  hear her answer to help you have a smooth and calm labour experience.Mel: What do you think is the hardest thing for mum’s when having a baby?

Jedda: One thing mum’s really struggle with, probably the most is even in hospital is they get 3 different pieces of advice from 3 different midwives. It can be really frustrating for mum’s to know what to do. In general I say take everyone’s piece of advice and put it in your kitty bag, don’t throw any of them out but if you find one that works for your baby great. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean it’s not right, its just not right for your baby.
M: What are your thoughts on birth plans?

J: It’s a great idea to know what you would like to happen – but really importantly it needs to be flexible. You shouldn’t wrap up your success in your ability to meet your birth plan. Things can still happen that are outside of your control. Nothing works out perfectly.

M: Did you have a birth plan?
J: Nothing written down as such, I had in the back of my head that I was married to a giant who was a 9 pound baby. I thought I would end up with a caesarean but that didn’t happen and I was really proud of how things went. 
M: What are your 3 biggest tips to get through labour?

  1. Best tip is something I learnt from doing calm birth. There is a definite link with a firm tight jaw  and a firm tight cervix that doesn’t want to open. If you keep your jaw really open and relaxed despite the pain you are more likely to allow your cervix to open during labour. In essence don’t tense up your face muscles to deal with the pain. The best thing to do is relax the face muscles as much as you can. You can even try a guttural type sound on your exhale to keep your jaw relaxed. 
  2. Secondly Smile. Yes when you smile you release positive endorphins. It helps us think we can deal with the pain rather than the pain managing us. Which means you’re more likely to have a better experience with pain and therefore better able to approach labour with a move philosophy. The more active during labour you are the more likely you are to avoid the cascade of intervention. Still, at times an epidural or other interventions etc are necessary. Your body may be working against you in that time which is out of your control. Again this is where your birth plan needs to be flexible. 
  3. One breath at a time. A lot of women are just focussing on or thinking about the end or the next contraction, instead just be in the moment and breathe. One breath/contraction is what calm birth aims for, slowing your breath down during your inhale and your exhale. You don’t need to worry about the next contraction until it comes, staying in the moment rather than losing the control. Stay in the here and now and everything else takes care of itself. 

M: Any last words of advice?
J: Do what your body is designed to do, get up off the bed and  move around. Just because there is a bed in the room doesn’t mean you have to lie on it.
Things don’t always go to plan during labour, just being ok with whatever happens and trust that this is what needed to happed for the safety of me and my baby. Doesn’t mean failure of any sort if you have intervention. Trusting medical opinion whether that be midwives, doctors etc.

Education Labour Pregnancy

How to Prepare for Labour

Let’s face it you are about to go through the marathon of your life! It’s no easy task but there are a few things you can do to help yourself get prepared and ease your stress. 

There are many things you can do to prepare your mind, body and home for pregnancy, labour and a new born. Here are just a few practical tips.

1. Pelvic Floor muscle strength and endurance prior to delivery. You may only think you need to do this after birth when you have symptoms eg urinary leakage or to get your body back after birth. However the pelvic floor muscles also have this amazing ability to help guide your baby down into your birth canal Win Win! anything to help that process go more smoothly is a key!
You can also learn how to activate, strengthen, switch off and control these muscles to prevent said leakage from occurring. Your muscles have a memory pattern, so starting earlier makes it easier for the muscles to remember how to work after giving birth and can help improve your recovery. Helping you get back to your strength and coping with life as a new mum quicker and easier. Again winning! ​Get your FREE Pelvic Floor Guide Here.

2. Muscle Strength – Maintaining your body’s strength during pregnancy is vital to help with your labour and your recovery. Most important for labour will be your leg strength. Being able to move into different positions during labour and be able to sustain those positions will be very helpful for you. So having muscle endurance is the key. Another exercise I love for women who are pregnant without any pelvic pain is the wide leg squat – you can do it against the wall with a swiss ball for greater stability but it helps to open your hips and prepare for labour. You can also sit on the swiss ball and gently stretch your hips and inner thigh too. Upper body strength will serve you well when you are feeding and carrying around your little one and everything that goes with them. Our pregnancy pelvic floor exercise program incorporates both lower body and upper strength with a pelvic floor focus, along with stretching too. 

3. Mental Health – music, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation are all great to practice prior to giving birth for your well being while pregnant and so you can feel calmer when things that you can’t control pop up. You can also use these techniques if you want to during labour to feel as calm as you can and stay focused on something positive.

4. Food and Hydration – Depending on what restrictions are in place by your hospital or doctor this is something to consider. I don’t know about you but i’m hungry all the time so don’t think you won’t be during labour, because it could go for awhile. If you’re hungry and your hospital allows it you should eat, especially in early labour as you need to keep your energy levels up. Choose small snack portions of foods that are easily digested e.g. plain crackers, yoghurt, easy to eat fruits like sultanas, a wrap, a protein bar or veggies sticks. Recent data has suggested inadequate hydration can lead to a longer labour with your contractions slowing down, taking small sips of water during labour can help maintain your hydration and energy levels. Also keep in mind that your hydration stores need to be kept up, so maintaining hydration in the days leading up to labour is a must! Note: If you have a high risk pregnancy and may need a caesarian ask your OBGYN first. 

5. Be mentally and emotionally prepared – This is probably the most important part of labour. Being prepared for what might happen, will happen and what choices you can make can help you feel slightly in control of a situation that is hard to comprehend. Talk to your friends, talk to your health professionals and talk to your partner. And at the end of all that research, take the time to think and feel for yourself and make decisions based on what you need and what’s best for you and your family. Then visualise that happening and work with positive thoughts. 

Education Exercise Labour Pregnancy

Do Births Always Go to Plan?

Rebecca Barr has recently joined our team at Perfect Pelvic Floor as our guest blogger. She has been a Physiotherapist for over 10 years with years of experience in pelvic floor retraining and incontinence. Here is her beautiful birth story and I just love her beautiful baby girls name Emmison.

After seeing those two lines appear, I knew I had to do another test just to make sure. This time the digital pregnancy stick which told me I was 1 – 2 weeks pregnant!

I had feelings of excitement and elation, which quickly turned to slightly frightened and nervous about the long nine months ahead. I was healthy and fit, what could possibly go wrong?! After the initial nerves, I did sail through most of my pregnancy without a worry. Even my obstetrician made a comment asking if I had done this before!! He had never seen a first time mum so relaxed. Each appointment he would ultrasound scan me and say yes baby is perfect, and measuring well.

At 37 weeks when I went in for another routine check, the obstetrician wasn’t so quick to say what I had been hearing from him at every other appointment. Instead he said he would like me to have a different scan to measure size and weight more accurately. Off I went to have this scan and returned to him telling me I had low amniotic fluid levels. Not too low to have anything done right away, but low enough to be closely monitored to ensure my baby was still growing.

Over the next two weeks I was a lot more aware of my precious little bubs movements. There used to be a lot of kicks when I would drink a cold glass of water, and as soon as I would get into bed to relax after a long day on my feet, I would usually feel the summersaults inside me. This had certainly started to reduce and I was quite anxious about what bub was doing in there!! The hospital were fantastic when I rang to say I felt there was reduced movement. I was told I could go in as much as I want and have a CTG whenever I felt I needed reassurance. A CTG is a Cardiotocography which monitors both the foetal heart rate and the contractions of the uterus.

My obstetrician decided at 39 weeks that I would be induced, which was a relief to be honest, as everyday I felt like I was overanalysing my baby’s movements or lack there of!

So the induction day came around quickly and it was lucky I was super organised and had my bags packed ready to go! My husband and I went in to hospital and I was first given the gel which helps to bring on contractions and soften the cervix. My waters would then be broken the next morning if nothing happened spontaneously. Overnight I felt mild contractions at no regular intervals, surprisingly I did get a good nights sleep! The midwives were in getting me up early and took me around to the birthing suite where I was to have my waters broken and then get comfortable for a long day ahead of me. 

Once my waters were broken the contractions started almost immediately. What I thought were contractions overnight were measly little cramps, this was the real deal! I was able to walk around and there was a fitball in the room which I could use to hug and lean forwards onto during the strong contractions. My husband was very supportive and was following me around the room helping to massage my back but it got to the point where nothing I or he could do would help the intense pain! I then opted for an epidural and alas, I was able to function again!!

Having an epidural was great, I could lie down and relax after all those exhausting contractions. It did however prolong the active labour, although the obstetrician was in regularly checking my progress. I got to 8cm dilation when the obstetrician said my baby had turned posterior. Bummer! I was so close. He organised a theatre room and said we could try turning baby with forceps or vacuum. I was not keen on either of these methods as I had done my research and knew particularly forceps was quite damaging to my baby and my pelvic floor muscles. I had discussed this with the obstetrician during a previous appointment and he knew I did not want this method in my birthing plan. So I then consented to an emergency caesarean.

Within 10 minutes I was down being prepped in the theatre room. I could see on the monitor that baby’s heart rate was dropping, however all the staff seemed so relaxed and positive for me. The caesarean section was the quickest part of the whole experience, I just remember seeing my beautiful baby girl passed over the drape so that I could cuddle her straight away. My husband then cut her umbilical cord and seeing her being held in his arms I knew we had unconditional love for her. 

Rebecca Bar has been a Physiotherapist for over 10 years and has post graduate qualifications in Women’s & Men’s Health and lives in Victoria Australia.
​She has a keen interest in helping people improve their quality of life and loves spending her time playing tennis, hanging out by the beach and spending time with her beautiful daughter. 

Education Exercise Labour Post Natal

5 Essentials for New Mums

As a new mum, you generally forget about yourself and look after everyone else. Hands down it’s about survival. However, I’m here to remind you the 1st 8 weeks are by far the best time for your body to recover!
Research has shown the best recovery gains in your stomach muscle separation and function are within the 1st 8 weeks. Don’t freak out, there are very easy and gentle exercises that you can do at home within this time frame, none of which put your body at risk.
Read on for 5 easy things to do:

1. Work on your pelvic floor from day one! This is so vital and important. Make sure your pelvic floor muscles are working, strong and able to hold everything in. You can start activating your pelvic floor muscles 24 hours after giving birth, regardless of the way you gave birth. Remember you may not be able to feel much happening down there and it may hurt. Keep going slowly and start to connect the pathway from your brain to your muscles by trying daily.

2. Have your abdominal separation checked and go slow. Don’t even think about an abdominal crunch until your separation has been checked multiple times by health professionals and you feel strong within your pelvic floor. You have a window of 8 weeks post baby to really work on getting your separation as close together as it will go. See someone early and start gentle exercises early.

3. Start gentle lower tummy exercises. Transversus abdominis especially, this is a great muscle providing lower back, pelvis and stomach support. Start gently by lying on your back and trying to slowing draw your belly button to your spine without tilting/moving your bottom/pelvis or spine. This is a great one to help activate those deeper muscles to help with your abdominal separation. If you have a separation add gentle compressions with your hands to close the muscles together. 

4. If you are keen to get back into running, surfing or more high impact exercise build up to it once your pelvic floor and deep stomach muscles are strong. You need to start by by building a base and this can be done with general walking. Move onto pilates, yoga and more dynamic exercises as you feel stronger, again ensuring your pelvic floor is working during your other exercises. Your hormones are still changing which means your muscles can’t possible be at their maximum strength until 3 months post baby so don’t even think about running or any high impact exercise before this time. 

5. I’m all for women getting back into exercise and sport and reaching some kick arse goals but that takes time. This is the time to focus on strength, not weight loss or pre baby body etc. There is no such thing! Your body has gone through something amazing and is like nothing else you will ever go through. You can’t possible expect your body to be like it was. That’s way too much pressure on yourself. Relax, be kind to yourself and take away the pressure. Aim for strength and posture. The weight loss will come later. 

I have seen some clients feel good and think their pelvic floor is strong and go back to the gym at 6 weeks post partum and end up with a prolapse. The inside takes time to recover and heal. Focus on healthy choices and gentle movement. My general rule is no running until you can hold your pelvic floor on for 10 full breaths while walking and even then  not before 3 months post partum.

Hot tip: TAKE YOUR TIME! Your body needs nutrients to support you and your baby. Be healthy, eat good nutritious food and go slow getting back into exercise. Remember it can take a year to recover from pregnancy and labour. Be patient and kind to yourself, you’re a mum now.

​There is help! Join our new mum recovery program and get all the exercises you need for your 1st 12  weeks.

10 exercises/week that are super gentle and don’t take up much of your precious time.

New Mum Recovery Program


Be the first to know about our App launch and exclusive offers

Click Here