Massage in labour can be one of the most soothing and emotionally supporting things your birth partner can do for you during the birthing process. Anyone can do it, you don’t need to be a massage therapist! In this blog post, our birthing expert and Hypnobirthing Practitioner Jackie Heffer-Cooke has some top tips and tells you why massage in labour is so gooood! Jackie is one of the region’s leading birthing experts, through her work as a Hypnobirthing Practitioner, Pregnancy Yoga Instructor and Baby Yoga Instructor. She is also an expert in pregnancy massage and holistic massage, as well as being Co-Director of The Orange Grove Clinic. So she really knows what she’s talking about! (plus she’s a Mum of two who had a wonderful birth partner to massage her in labour!)
Why use Massage in Labour?
Oxytocin is the birth hormone, endorphins are the body’s own pain killers. So it goes without saying these are hormones you want rocking around your body during labour. Guess what? Massage promotes Oxytocin and Endorphins, also known to help the body feel calm and feel good. So you can see how massage in labour usually helps!
Giving massage is physical and emotional support, making pregnancy and the birthing experience more comfortable for birthing mum, plus it gives the birth partner a way to feel actively involved and able to help! Take your pick from the following ideas for Massage in Labour or Book a lesson to learn the best techniques for Massage in Labour here…
How to do Massage in Labour: Light Touch Massage
It is what is says 🙂 Use a very light touch and sweep across large areas of the body, either on top of clothes, or direct to skin. No oils needed. This massage stimulates those lovely Endorphins and produces natural Oxytocin – relaxing and opening the Uterus and Vagina.
How does Light Touch Massage in Labour Stimulate Endorphins and Oxytocin
By applying a very light touch administered over the skin to the neck, spine and upper arms, it produces a massive sensation, stimulating the nerves in that area. As you are kinaesthetically covering an area, this overwhelms the nerves, the sensory system, stimulating the brain stem and cortex in a disproportionate measure – sending electrical activities via brain stem and cerebral hemispheres to say – I FEEL GOOD. This is a holistic, drug free natural method of releasing lovely ‘pain-killing’ Endorphins. (A bit like a natural tens machine)
Technique: Use a repetitive light stroke, applied simultaneously on both sides of the entire spine. Use light touch with your finger tips, with vertical V and 8 strokes to the upper part of the body (neck, back, arms, breasts if you fancy it).
When to use Light Touch Massage In Labour? Whenever, but particularly early stages or to move your labour along if it slows sown.
Meaty Massage Matters….
Some labouring mums will prefer “meatier massage” with more pressure in labour. This can be done with clothes and without oil, or with oil and onto the skin.
Techniques: Work into Sacrum area with the flats of your fists and/ or with flat hands apply pressure to either side of the pelvis. Then, work from the top of the pelvic area down towards ‘tail bone’. Work from either side of spine out towards ‘hip bone’.
Remember… Never put pressure directly onto spine – always at either side – but feel free to work deep if requested! Try it out at home before the big day first 🙂
When to use more firm pressure in labour?
This feels great in late pregnancy! In labour, this massage is usually asked for towards the middle or end of labour when there is some back discomfort.
Head, Hand, Face and Foot Massage
This can be done with or without oils.
Technique: Head – massage and pressure on, and around, the head is lovely! Also give a hand or face massage, using your finger tips. There’s loads of nerve endings in the face and hands so you are flooding the body with good sensations and feel good hormones.
When? This is a very loving and nurturing way to massage, so it’s particularly good in the early stages of labour as an encouragement to move things along. It will make you feel safe, loved, and ready to birth. It may even to encourage the body to start labouring if you are overdue.
What about the Oils?
We recommend Motherlylove’s Pregnancy and Labour oil. A luxurious blend of omega rich oils with a warm citrusy scent. Citrus to revitalise and refresh and camomile to soothe overworked muscles. Go to our online shop to buy at the Orange Grove Price.
Book some labour massage training for the big day!
You and your birth partner could book an hour of practical ‘hands-on’ tutoring, with Jackie Heffer-Cooke at our Norwich clinic. What a great way to spend an afternoon!