A great comfort measure for labor, massage can be very relaxing to ease pain, as well as to help encourage distraction during and between contractions.
How does this work?
The hormone oxytocin is released when the body feels relaxed and safe, and responds to the type of touch released during massage, especially coming from an intimate partner.
So how can you make sure you’re ‘doing massage right?’ We’ll give you the tools!
5 Tips for Massage During Labor
1. Get Comfy
Make sure as you labor you’re draped over a ball, seated comfortably on a ball, or resting on a couch/ birth bed with your back or arms accessible.
2. Add Body Weight
As you massage, use your weight.
Don’t rely on your arms and shoulders; too much pressure from here will tire you out over time! Anytime Mom wants more pressure, simply lean. A great touch is just placing hands along the waist on either side, palms facing down, and pressing with firm pressure.
3. Use Consistent Contact
Many are! To combat this, use a constant contact motion with palms touching the back. Start at the bottom and use the spine as a mirror image on either side. You can move your palms up to the shoulders, down to the arms and back to the lower back again, all without moving from the body.
4. Make Your Presence Known
Many times when focusing on contractions, Mom will close her eyes. With a breath or by encouraging up near her shoulders, let her know you’re there before beginning to massage to allow her to release tension, instead of jumping from the sudden contact.
5. Warm Hands
The hospital can be cold!
Make sure your hands are warm, and possibly softened with an unscented massage oil or lotion to start. This will help you glide over the back and be pleasing to the touch! You can also get a magic massager, a piece of cloth that allows the hands to glide over the top of it as they press on the cloth. It’s great for over or under clothing!
Want to Learn More?
Ask your labor doula for some tricks and tips, or watch in a prenatal to learn some great mini massages that can help provide comfort!