When you think of massage what words come into your head? Calm, relaxing, soothing…labour and birth…
No?! Just me then!
If you are pregnant and currently planning your birth have you considered using massage techniques to assist you during this special time? If not let me give you 5 fabulous reasons as to why you might want to consider using massage to assist you with your labour and birth…
1. It helps you to relax
If you are anxious about giving birth massage could be a great way to help you stay calm and relaxed. We all know that massage helps your muscles and soft tissues to relax and break down areas of tension around your body but many people don’t realise that it also soothes your nervous system, helps to regulate your breathing and raise the levels of a whole range of feel good hormones that work together to allow you to feel fabulous and relaxed. Many women find that they enjoy the use of relaxing massage strokes between contractions as it helps to reduce any tension they may be holding onto, rest more effectively and build up their energy, feeling ready for each new contraction/surge.
2. It empowers your birthing partner.
Quite often birthing partners are not sure on their role or what to do during your labour. By giving them a clear role, focus and some basic massage techniques this can help to empower them as they feel useful and like they have a tool kit that they can delve into to help you relax, feel good and hopefully reduce your pain levels! It also makes them feel like they have played a part in bringing their baby into the world.
3. It’s a natural form of pain relief
When you receive a massage your endorphin levels increase. Endorphins are known as the natural pain reliving, mood lifting hormones. If you were to bang your elbow, what do you generally tend to do? Shout… and then rub the sore area. Why? Because it makes it feel better! Massage works in the same way, we stimulate the body using massage strokes, which in turn releases endorphins making your pain levels feel more manageable.
4. It can be used in any kind of birth
It doesn’t matter what type of birth you are planning- hospital, water or home. Massage strokes can be used and adapted to compliment most births.
5. It can bring you closer as a couple.
Giving and receiving massage is a wonderful bonding activity, it helps oxytocin (the hormone of love) to flow freely and it helps you to work as a team towards your end goal…birthing your baby. It makes you both feel good, feel loved and relaxed. Communication is key to the success of using massage in labour so that your partner knows they are in the right area, using the right pressure and that they are helping you.
See I told you it was fabulous! Why not put some time aside with your partner to learn how to use massage to assist you during labour and birth? Make sure the therapist you choose is a specialist in this area as there are specific points on the body that if overly stimulated may cause spontaneous labour. *Please note that massage should not replace any advice or care provided by your midwife/GP/consultant and should only be used if you are experiencing a healthy, low risk pregnancy.
Hayley is a specialist pregnancy massage therapist based in Lincolnshire and mummy to 2 boys Thomas (3 years) and Jacob (11 months). Hayley offers Relax into Birth workshops for couples both as 1:1 or group sessions. For couples interested in learning the techniques who are not able to travel Relax into Birth will be available as an online workshop this summer! For more information please contact Hayley via: