A guide to pregnancy massage

This week, we're talking about rest and relaxation on TalkMum and surely there is no better way to relax than with a good massage! Complementary therapist Dawn Symons talks us through pregnancy massage and how it can help during labour.

When choosing professional treatments during pregnancy do consider how you want to feel at the end of the treatment. There are many, very different techniques. Massage is very versatile. It can be used to either achieve a therapeutic result e.g. in the case of sciatica, pelvic, or lower back pain, or to relieve your tight shoulders, or a very relaxing treatment.

During labour massage is a very powerful tool, it really helps you relax both mentally and physically.

In early labour you may like to try the following:

Ask your partner to use one of their hands to stroke down the side of your spine, from your shoulder to your bottom. The other hand strokes down the other side of your spine, maintaining a rhythmical movement, with one hand constantly in contact with you. Long, slow strokes can be very soothing.

TIP: Make sure that your partner is massaging you using the whole of his hand (and not just the heel) this way pressure will be much nicer and it’s easier on their wrists and hands!

If you’d like to try some aromatherapy oils Lavender and Clary Sage (ratio:2 drops) per 5mls of grapeseed (base) oil are great oil choices to relax you whilst during labour. Avoid getting oil to the front of the body where your will come to rest, or near your breasts. Remember, your baby will recognise you by your smell and ‘learn’ who you are.

In advanced labour, massage can feel great especially at the base of you back, but NEVER directly over the spine. A slow firm pressure is often beneficial, but guide your partner as to what feels best.

TIP: Ask your partner to use their thumbs to make slow deep ‘circles’ over the dimples either side of the base of your spine. Remember, guide your partner as to what feels best.

My personal favourite oils to use during labour are jasmine, rose, and ylang- ylang. You can also use; bergamot, chamomile, frankincense, mandarin, and neroli.

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