Are you pregnant and wondering if there is anything to help you with preparing for a vaginal delivery? If so, you are in luck and the answer is Yes! Not only are there options, this is the best time to start addressing pelvic health issues, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. Starting while you are pregnant may help to reduce or minimize any postpartum issues.
The incidence of perineal trauma (tears and episiotomies) is reported to be around 85% with vaginal delivery, mostly first or second degree tears but can be more severe and lead to unwanted consequences such as pain and fecal incontinence. Good news is that there are tools you can use to help reduce your risk of tearing and severe complications. NewFlora’s vaginal dilators are one easy solution to start with.
The perineum is the area that separates the vaginal cavity from the anus and is often torn when having a vaginal delivery; in and around this area are muscles, fascia, and skin. Studies have shown that performing perineal massage helps improve pelvic floor muscle extensibility for childbirth, minimizing significant tearing. It is typically recommended that perineal massage and stretching start six weeks prior to delivery and it only takes about 15 minutes per day. If you are considering using our dilators for childbirth prep for vaginal dilators, grab your dilator and look no further! Below you will find specific instructions on how to do this easy, 15 minute per day technique to improve the outcome of your delivery.
Considerations during pregnancy:
If you have used dilators before pregnancy, you may notice things are a bit different in those last few weeks of pregnancy and your ‘go-to’ position may not be feasible any longer.
- Seated - dilating for a few minutes while seated on a ball or edge of the bed may be more ideal than laying on your back
- Standing with one leg on a stool - this may be another position that will allow you to perform dilating while pregnant, but may still pose a problem for some while trying to reach
- Use a partner - your partner may be very helpful to you at this time and can help you perform the stretching. Perform dilating or stretching the same way you would otherwise, and you may be able to find a more comfortable position if your partner is willing to help you out!
- Be sure to have good communication and let your partner know what you need, at the same time your partner may be able to give you good cues for breathing and relaxing!
Step 1: Find a comfortable place
- Find somewhere that is quiet and you can relax with your legs supported.
- Use pillows to support your knees or even in an empty bathtub.
Step 2: Dilator and lube
- Pick a medium size dilator that provides a bit of stretch upon insertion, but that is not painful.
- Use a decent amount of water based lube, we recommend slippery stuff. You will not want to use a silicone based lubricant with your dilator.
Step 3: Using your dilator
- Insert your lubricated dilator into the vaginal opening
- Start by pushing downward, towards 6 o’clock with gentle pressure so that you feel a stretch
- Begin by moving the dilator in half circles from 4-8 o’clock with that same gentle pressure
- If you notice yourself tensing, take a deep breath and soften your muscles
Step 4: Use your breath to help you
- If dilating is making you uncomfortable or nervous, taking slow deep breaths will help you from tensing as your dilate
- As you breathe in, your pelvic floor should lengthen, increase the pressure during this time
- As you breathe out, your pelvic floor should relax and return to baseline, take the pressure off at this time
- Repeat this until you feel comfortable
If you are experiencing pain with this, your pressure may be too much. Try to reduce and hold on to the tight area. Muscle pain may feel sharp, intense, dull, achey, or a combination of the above. However, with steady pressure and breathing, this will quickly change and become less intense, or go away all together. Pressure is normal and is what you should be feeling.
Sometimes the water based lube can dry up and you may need to reapply the lubricant during your 15 minute treatment. You may also consider using a vaginal moisturizer to minimize pain or discomfort. Apply these daily (1-2x/day) to help give your tissue better hydration.
Of course, if there continues to be pain, discomfort, or even just confusion, we highly recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist to help you be successful using your dilator. Find the resources below to find a specialist near you. You can also check out our blog on painful intercourse, which may give you some insight as to other causes of pain that may be involved.
If you are considering vaginal dilators for birth prep, NewFlora’s vaginal dilators are high-quality dilators designed with your comfort in mind and are easy to use. Click below to check out what makes us unique!