Moms need massages too!
Massage therapy for Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum
by Annie Carter, LMT
A brief history of Perinatal Massage Therapy:
Massage therapy is an ancient art, and there is evidence that pregnancy massage dates all the way back to the beginnings of massage- For example, the 3000 year old discipline of Ayurvedic Medicine has ancient texts with instructions about massaging pregnant women with certain oils during and after Pregnancy.
In recent years there has been a movement away from strictly medicalized births, and a return toa broader spectrum of birthing choices. With this has come an increase in acceptance and respect for the work of midwives, doulas, and other forms of natural support such as birthing education classes like Hypnobirthing as well as Massage Therapy for pregnant women. Massage Therapists begun collaborating with perinatal professionals and colleagues in researching and developing infant and maternity massage therapy protocols and instructional programs.
In the past 40 years, women like Carol Osborne have worked hard to make Pre and Perinatal massage a validated and important offering to women. Carol Osborne has been a key figure in the reintroduction of therapeutic massage and bodywork to healthcare for the childbearing years. Over the years she has trained parents, hospital association staffs, and over 4000 maternity massage therapists. Currently it is a widely known and research indicated fact the Prenatal Massage is a safe and effective therapy for pregnant women.
Prenatal Massage Therapy can:
- Help maintain or improve flexibility and body awareness (which can support positive labor)
- Decrease physical and emotional discomforts
- Improve immune system function
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce maternal blood pressure and allow for deeper breathe and easier labor
- May reduce pregnancy complications triggered by stress
- Increase Uterine Blood supply
- Make you feel good!!!
Click HERE to learn more about Prenatal Massage at Well Within,.
In addition to Offering Massage Prenatally, a therapist certified in Perinatal Massage may also offer Massage during labor. A Perinatal Massage session could mean a Certified Massage Therapist doing a Home Visit for an hour during the early stages of your labor, or it could mean having a massage therapist present and active all the way through your labor right up to delivery at home or in a hospital. This would be up to you and your massage therapist to arrange. In general it is best of you can plan this well ahead of time and have at least one or two prenatal sessions with a therapist before the labor massage.
Labor massage can mean stimulating specific acupressure points that help to progress the labor once it has already begun; relaxing techniques to help the laboring woman rest and stay relaxed; grounding techniques to push through the more intense stages of labor, techniques to relieve back pain in labor, or to maintain flexibility needed in birthing.
- In addition to promoting relaxation, Perinatal Massage can:
Contribute to shorter, less painful labor
- Can reduce labor complications, medications and interventions
- Can improve infant wellbeing
- Contributes to mother’s satisfaction with the birthing process
Post-partum massage can include anything between minutes or hours after birthing, to months or years after delivery. A postpartum session may be focused on relaxation for the tired mom, reducing residual pelvic and back pain, facilitating uterine involution, promoting healing from a cesarean birth, as well as many other goals. A few additional benefits of postpartum massage may be that it:
- Facilitates postpartum emotional, physiological and family adjustments
- Reduces muscle pain and soreness
- Promotes structural realignment of the spine and pelvis
- Contributes to rehabilitation of abdominal skin, muscles and organs
- Relieves muscle strain caused by childcare activities
Postpartum massage can be booked at Well Within as a therapeutic massage, and mention that you are specifically looking for postpartum support. Massage Therapy is a nurturing, healthy and supportive addition to a woman’s childbearing year.
Click HERE to schedule a prenatal or postpartum massage at Well Within. To inquire about about our labor massage offerings, give us a call at 617-209-9355.
Annie Carter is a licensed massage therapist, specializing in prenatal, labor and postnatal massage at Well Within.