For you and your baby
Regular massage during your pregnancy and postpartum period can relieve your physical symptoms and help you cope with stress. Massage supports your physical health and vitality and can help you more easily adjust to the many changes in your body. Just taking time out for a massage can improve your outlook on life, supporting both you and your baby during this time.
Massage during labor
Massage can help you relax between contractions, reduce pain from tight muscles and provide emotional support and encouragement. Since stress interferes with production of labor-inducing hormones, there is evidence that massage can promote a speedier birth. Since it is often not an option to have a professional massage therapist present during labor, you may want to share with your birthing partner some massage techniques you find
relaxing. Your massage therapist may be willing to meet with you and your partner for a private lesson.
In the postpartum period, it is important to care for yourself as it is during your pregnancy.
Massage can help you handle the physical demands of caring for a newborn by reducing tension and increasing energy. If you are nursing, a relaxing massage can help since tension interferes with milk letdown.
Emotionally, massage can nurture and comfort you weather or not you are experiencing postpartum "blues". When to schedule your first postpartum massage will depend on how your delivery went and what your health care
provider and massage therapist fell is best for you.
Pregnancy is a time of profound changes, when your entire body adapts to the new life growing within.
You need and deserve support, especially since two people now depend on your health and vitality.Massage is a wonderful way to relax, increase your energy and relieve discomfort during your pregnancy. The caring touch of massage can help you experience your hanging body in a positive, accepting way. Massage can also be something
special for you at a time when you face important social adjustments at home or at work, with family
Coping with stress and fatigue
Change, even welcomed change, is stressful and can drain your energy for coping day-to-day. A soothing
massage can relieve physical and emotional tension, help you sleep better and boost your energy. Massage loosens tight muscles and calms the nervous system. Circulation increases, bringing energy-producing nutrients to your cells and carrying away metabolic waste products that can make you feel exhausted. In a massage, you also
become more aware of your body, which helps you recognize tension as it builds during the day and consciously release it.
Easing aches and pains
Massage can help with many of the aches and pains you experience as your body changes. For example,
massage helps to:
- Reduce muscle cramps and painful trigger points;
- Relieve pain in the muscle and joints of your legs, low back and upper back;
- Increase flexibility, making it easier for your body to adjust to a changing shape;
- Ease constipation, gas and heartburn;
- Reduce excess fluid retention;
- Slow the progress of varicose veins;
- Relieve headaches.
For your comfort
During your massage, you will be comfortably supported with pillows or cushions. In later pregnancy you can experience a complete massage supported in a side-lying position. If lying down is simply not comfortable, you can remain seated for a relaxing partial massage. You will be covered with a sheet covering you except where you are being massaged. Ask for a lighter cover or less heat in the room if you are too hot. If your sense of smell is sensitive, ask for unscented lotion or oil. It is fine to interrupt your massage when you need to use the restroom.
Be sure to ask any questions you have about massage in general or your session. Tell your massage therapist if anything feels uncomfortable or if there are areas that you would rather not have massaged. If you are not sure about something, be conservative and see how you feel after each massage.
Learning self-care techniques
Besides the immediate relief you get from a massage, you may also learn ways to increase your comfort at home, for example how to use pillows for support when you are lying down. You massage therapist might give you feedback on posture or suggest gentle exercises and stretches to help relieve tension. You might also learn breathing techniques to help you relax.
Is massage always appropriate?
Massage is healthy and enjoyable during a normal pregnancy. It is a promising idea, however, to inform your doctor before receiving prenatal or postpartum massage. Massage may not be appropriate for some conditions, keep
your massage therapist updated about your health, including any changes, even if you are not sure they are important.
Preparing for labor
Massage can help you prepare for the birthing process by increasing you awareness of tension in your body and learning how to consciously release it. You can also practice breathing and relaxation techniques while a tender area is being massaged. The result will be increased confidence and control during labor.
Therapists that do this service are: