Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Massage During Labor

Massage, in the broadest sense, includes a variety of techniques that are used to help with relaxation, stretching, and loosening of muscles. Massage relies on pressure and movement to accomplish these goals. Massage is especially useful when it comes to something that is physically demanding on the body’s muscles, such as labor. The fact of the matter is that labor, while it is a natural part of life, is rather traumatic on the body of the woman. Massage can help you during labor by helping to balance some of the pressures on your body, stretch muscles, tendons, and ligaments that may need to be stretched, and relax muscles that are tense.

During labor, massage can help you to relieve contractions that are especially painful. Massage can not only relax your muscles, but in the process of relaxing your muscles during labor, massage can actually help to decrease the sensation that you are having in regard to pain.

There are some things to keep in mind about how massage can help you during labor. First of all, labor isn’t necessarily useful once a contraction is begun. Rather, it is better used between contractions. IN addition, massaging one body part during labor tends to be more effective than moving from one body part to another. Also, you will want to make sure that the person giving the massage knows what parts of the woman’s body it is that are tense. Communication between the woman and her spouse, Doula, midwife, or whoever is giving the massage is key here. In addition, it is important that the woman in labor be in a comfortable position, and the person doing the massage then moves accordingly, rather than asking the woman to go into a specific position. Finally, the use of herbal oils, such as those that contain calendula or chamomile, may especially help to relax a woman during labor. There are also oils that may have calming ingredients, such as essential oils of clary sage or lavender, which may be useful.

Finally, it is probably worth practicing some of the massage techniques prior to labor, as well, so that the person giving massage to the laboring woman is confident about the technique, and so that the woman knows what to ask for during labor.

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