Comfort Measures in Labor: Massage
Massage therapy is a relaxing experience and effective method of soothing achey and tense muscles. It also stimulates the production of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that put you in a more positive mood and are the body’s natural pain reliever. The physical touch of massage is an excellent way of reassuring a laboring mother and helping her to emotionally relax.
Ease Tense Muscles
Labor has often been described as a marathon. It is quite possibly the most strenuous event in a woman’s life. It is taxing on mom’s body. It will leave muscles screaming in exhaustion. Massage can be used to ease the tense muscles.
Think about how you physically react when under stress. Do you clench your fists? Your toes? Do you feel like you carry stress in your shoulders like me? or maybe in your lower back? Do you scrunch your face up in grimace or pull your ears back by tightening your scalp? During contractions, it is likely you may respond in a similar way.
“Massage therapy relaxes muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions and spasms. Massage can also reduce nerve compression.” ~ Beth Burgan, MA, MFA
During labor, one of the most important thing you can do for you and your baby is to stay as relaxed as possible. Relaxation encourages the release of endorphins and oxytocin. These hormones help relieve pain and soften the tissues of the perineum and make contractions more efficient. Relaxation is the best way for you to allow your body to open as much as possible to deliver your baby.
Massage can instill a sense of emotional well-being and peace. Physical touch is one of the most effective ways of reassuring and comforting another person.
“In a massage, a caring, safe touch is an invitation to relax. This, together with pain relief, generally produces a “relaxation response.”
“The relaxation response is a state in which your heart and breathing rate slow, your blood pressure goes down, your production of stress hormones decreases, and your muscles relax. The relaxation response also seems to increase the available level of serotonin, which is a chemical in the body that positively affects emotions and thoughts.” ~ Beth Burgan, MA, MFA
Massage therapy by a certified massage therapist with special training in prenatal massage can help alleviate pain and tension from the physical changes throughout pregnancy and reduce emotional stress accompanying a growing family. By incorporating massage in labor to ease muscle aches, increase the production of endorphins and oxytocin, and improve your emotional state, you may be able to control pain and allow your body to open more effectively to birth your baby.
If you are in the Denton, TX area and are interested in hiring a doula for your birth experience, contact me today to schedule a free consultation. If you are interested in learning about more comfort measures in labor, check out my Comfort Measures page.