This article is from the General Pregnancy FAQ, by swnymph@FensEnde.com (Sabrina Cuddy) with numerous contributions by others.
To start you will need vegetable oil, or water-soluble jelly. Baby oil
or mineral oil is very drying to the tissue. We poured the veggie oil
in a bowl and slightly warmed it.
Either partner can do the massage. Be sure to start with short
fingernails, and clean hands. Get in a semi-sitting position, with legs
bent and relaxed.
Rub the enough oil into the perineum (area between vagina and anus) to
allow your fingers to move easily over the tissue and lower vaginal
Use your index fingers. Start with one and progress to two. Place your
fingers well inside the expectant mother's vagina (up to the second
knuckle);Rotate them in opposite directions upward along the sides and
lower boarder while pulling outward gently. Do this for three minutes.
This movement will stretch the vaginal tissue,the muscles surrounding
the vagina, and the skin of the perineum.
Finish the massage by rubbing the skin of the perineum between the
thumb and forefinger (thumb on outside,finger on inside) for about 1
minute. In the beginning, the tissue feels tight, but with time an
repeated massages it relaxes and stretches. The massage takes four to
Tell the expectant mother to concentrate on relaxing the perineum as
she feels the pressure. As she becomes more comfortable with the
massage, increase the pressure just enough to make the perineum begin
to sting from the stretching. This same stinging sensation will occur
as the baby's head is being born.
Ask your midwife or OB if they have instructions. They may have tips or
suggestions. If this is you second <or more> baby, you need to give
extra attention to any scars from episotomies or tears.
This isn't something that you must do in order to avoid an episotomy but it
helps. Some people find that this massage isn't something they want to do.
My sister tried it but hated it, hopefully YMMV.