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I may as well start with the perineum....

Why not, eh? It's nothing to be afraid of - although for lots of first time mothers what may or may not happen to their perineum as they birth causes considerable anxiety. So here are two articles that every first time mother should read.

Birth Sensations & Protecting the Perineum Through It All gives a thorough, realistic and honest appraisal of what the second stage of labour feels like for many women. Joy writes in such a relaxed and friendly way she's able to give an honest view without the horror stories that are the usual accompaniment to the word 'perineum'. I wouldn't agree with everything in this article; as a starter for 10, different women experience the sensations of labour differently, so as you read it remember that your own labour and birth will be unique to you. And I'm quietly amused by the uniquely American convention of showing a photograph of a baby emerging from a labouring woman who has had a breasts covered with a modesty panel!

And if you're still feeling a bit 'perineum-ie', you should certainly read this by the excellent Rachel Reed of The BEST news of all is that 'For first time mothers perineal stretching massage during pregnancy can reduce the chance of tearing (Albers et al. 2005; Beckmann & Garrett 2007)'


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