Your baby's birth will be a small miracle involving emotions of expectation, excitement, joy and fascination. It is also hard work! By being pro-active prior to the birth you can ease your baby's start to life with the pelvic floor muscle exerciser EPI-NO Delphine and EPI-NO Delphine Plus
Pre-birth perineal massaging alone certainly helps but is often not enough to prevent a high percentage of women from experiencing perineal injury during birth. Perineal injury can cause infection and tissue scars (sometimes related to pain during sexual intercourse).
At a later stage, as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, a weak pelvic floor can occur. (See "Regeneration with EPI-NO Delphine Plus" - exercising the pelvic floor muscles with EPI-NO and the use of biofeedback). Learning how to do your pelvic floor exercises correctly is something that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
It is very important that you do not overdo the training. During the stretching exercises you should always train staying below your personal pain threshold - so you cannot hurt yourself either. In the end, it doesn't matter how much cm (diameter) you will reach. Sometimes progress can be faster, sometimes slower - but what is important is that you can increase the flexibility by continuous training and develop a physical sense of what happens at birth. Many women only make 8 or 9 cm after 3 weeks - but even this is, according to our experiences, a very good result. So be patient.
The idea, which led to the development of the EPI-NO, originates from Africa where they gently insert a calabash/gourd into the vagina to stretch the pelvic floor muscles to facilitate a natural birth and reduce the risk of perineal injury. From this age old African custom - still in use today - the soft inflatable EPI-NO balloon and birth-exercise programme was conceived and developed into a modern-day medical device. Read more (PDF-Download).
EPI-NO is not a "panacea" but a medical training device that is suited to better prepare your body for childbirth. It strengthens and stretches the muscles (important: You should not have pain, just a feeling of maximum stretching - inflate until you reach a low level of discomfort). By training with EPI-NO, the tissue is stretched not permanently (or even 'worn out'), but for a planned date (the birth) simply more flexible, more elastic.
A simple example: If you have 2-3 weeks training - slowly increasing - for a balancing act, then you do it through constant practice easier without injury or strain than suddenly and unprepared. Uninjured tissue however recovers and regenerates much easier. If you stop then to train the splits, you will find that after a while it will not work any longer.
EPI-NO does not replace the work of midwives, many midwives use and recommend this training meanwhile as an useful endorsement and support for birth preparation. In our last survey in Germany (Q1 2010) already more than the half of sold units (53%) had been recommended by a midwife before.
The German EPI-NO Trial (Schuchardt et al. 2000) measured Anxiety, Analgesic Use, Length of Second Stage Labour, Perineal Outcomes and Apgar Scores after 1 and 5 minutes. The Trial found that..." with daily EPI-NO training it is possible to reduce the anxiety of birth significantly. By reducing anxiety of birth it is also possible to shorten the second stage of labour as well as the analgesics requirements. By a slower, more gentle pre-expansion of vulva and vagina regulated by the woman herself, it has been possible to reduce injuries to the vulva as well as the vagina significantly."