Massage In Pregnancy
Learn techniques to use touch and massage in pregnancy and labor. Pregnancy massage is comforting and also helps women stay focused during childbirth.
Pregnancy MassageThere is nothing as comforting as human touch to another person. Skin to skin contact communicates a warm, caring presence. In addition, massage harnesses the power of human touch with soothing strokes that ease muscle tension and stimulate skin receptors.
Massage in pregnancy has a number of benefits for expectant mothers. It reduces muscular aches and pains, decreases swelling, increases relaxation, stimulates blood flow and increases endorphins.
Some women enjoy the luxury of paying a perinatal massage therapist, and some have felt it was really more of a necessity than a luxury. Others prefer the soothing touch of their own loved one massaging them. Either way, massage is an invaluable tool for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period.
Labor MassageMany mothers are surprised to learn that the massage in pregnancy is also an effective technique to use during labor. When surveyed, 75% of pregnant women indicated massage as the most effective comfort technique for them.
A 2002 study compared a group that had massage in labor with a control group that did not. Nurses rated pain levels in both groups, and gave significant lower pain ratings to the women who had massage.
Correspondingly, 87% of the mothers in that study rated the massage as helpful for pain relief. No studies were found evaluating the effect of massage on length of labor or contraction enhancement. Since touch can decrease anxiety, and anxiety can hinder the labor process, it may be possible that touch or massage may have a labor-enhancing effect if an anxious woman is experiencing labor dystocia.
Massage TechniquesWhile women like massage and it is a safe and comforting technique, one problem with it is that many partners do not feel comfortable and experienced giving massages.
However, it is relatively simple to use focused massage techniques. A focused massage is a repetitive motion on one part of the body.
Back MassageWhile any part of the body can be massaged, pregnant women often like back massages best. A simple massage anyone can learn is to use the two hands to stroke up the middle of the back, and then use the hands to draw circles down the back on either side of the spine. This repetitive motion can be done over and over.
Some women prefer one, single large circle massage in the small of their back. This can be done at the end of this sequence:
Facial MassageAn easy facial massage can be done with the massager standing behind the mother, with her sitting on a chair or birth ball.
Hand MassageHand massages are also welcome by women in pregnancy and in labor. A three step massage can easily be done.
First Step: Fingers
The second part of the massage is a circular massage on the palms.
The last part will be a massage of the back of her hands.
Foot Massage In PregnancyThe same massage done described above for the hands can also be done on the foot:
Full Body MassageA sequential massage is a full body massage, often done by a trained masseuse. It follows a specific sequence from head to toe.
Full body massage can be used for pregnancy or can be done in labor, though adaptations need to be made for the mother’s preferred position. Videos and books on full body massage in pregnancy are available.
A simple sequential massage sequence can be developed even by an untrained person using some of the focused massage techniques described above. Here is a simple sequence:
Aromatherapy Massage OilThe use of essential oils is an asset for both massage in pregnancy and during labor. Not only does the oil make the massage smoother, the mother can also benefit from the effects of Lavender, Jasmine, or Clary Sage discussed earlier. Her body would be absorbing it through the skin as well as through the nostrils, increasing its effectiveness. Information on essential oils in labor.
Using Massage in Pregnancy and Labor
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By Karen Newell Copyright 2011 - 2012 Better Childbirth Outcomes - All Rights Reserved
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA