The perineum is the part of the body between the vaginal opening and the anal opening. It has been stretched and traumatised, and sometimes torn, during the process of birth. Or it may have been cut intentionally with sterilised scissors by a skilled birth attendant to widen the opening and help the baby out. Most of the muscle tone (strength) of the perineum is regained by six weeks after the birth, with more improvement over the following few months. You can help the mother to regain the muscle tone by encouraging her to contract and relax the muscles of the perineum ten times as soon as it is comfortable to do so, and to repeat this exercise several times every day. Strengthening the perineum is important because it forms the ‘pelvic floor’ which supports her uterus, vagina and bladder.