Massage During Pregnancy Before Childbirth

While the woman's partner massages her abdomen. they both have the pleasure of feeling the baby's first kick, feeling its limbs, and observing the baby's development by touch.

when your pregnancy is confirmed, you should give thought to where the childbirth will take place and make plans for the event. Inquire about prenatal clinics and the availability of information for pregnancy.

During the first three months of pregnancy, all medication should be avoided, unless prescribed by your doctor. Significant attention should be paid to diet, exercise, and sleep. Gentle massage may help prevent stretch marks and maintain the overall optimum quality of health.

The hormone progesterone helps the body soften and accommodate the growing baby. Muscles and ligaments are stretching, while the softening blood vessels are carrying twice as much blood as normal. All these changes have an effect on the body which may cause minor ailments, such as backache, nausea, vomiting, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, or edema (swelling) of the legs and feet. Massage and the use of essential oils may help to relieve these common complaints and are also beneficial for relieving other conditions, such as headaches, heartburn, and insomnia, that can often occur during pregnancy. Aromatherapy during pregnancy is especially useful as at this time your sense of smell will be more acute. This is one of nature's ways of helping you to preserve your health and that of your fetus, as many dangerous substances will be unpleasant to your sense of smell. For more information on using massage and essential oils for these common pregnancy ailments.

Because of the hormonal changes, your moods may not be as stable as usual but may vary unexpectedly. To maintain your health and your baby's, make sure your diet includes large amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits. If possible, take eight glasses of water daily, in addition to another fluid intake. Attend to the protein content of your meals. Your baby's bones and tissues need protein for growth. Fish, poultry, grains, lentils, legumes, nuts, dairy products, and meat are sources of protein. If you are unsure of your diet seek help. Eat a wide variety of foods so that the dietary needs of both you and your baby are met.

If you use substances that could affect your developing baby (alcohol, cigarettes, medications, drugs, etc.), stop, or at least reduce their use while you are pregnant. If you are planning well in advance for a baby, stop harmful habits at least three months before conception.

Exercise should be according to your lifestyle and experience but should be carried out frequently. Walking and swimming are good prenatal exercises and there are many special exercise classes offered for pregnant women. Adequate rest and fresh air contribute to a healthy body, especially required in pregnancy. As time passes, inquire about the availability of prenatal classes, where one can receive a wealth of information about childbirth: Join a relaxation class. The skills you learn in these classes are important when you are in labor. If you have any questions or fears, jot them down in a notebook so you will not forget to ask them during your next prenatal visit.

From the second trimester, abdominal massage is an excellent way for you to get to know your baby. Not only the mother-to-be, but her partner will also benefit from practicing this massage by feeling the growing baby. Both mother and father then have the pleasure of feeling their baby kicking, feeling its limbs, and observing their baby's development by touch

The parental touch can be experienced by the baby in the womb. An overactive baby can be calmed by massage: This has been repeatedly tested. An active baby's heartbeat is monitored by a cardiotocograph machine. While on the CTG, a gentle massage calms the baby and still maintains a good "variable" heartbeat, which is medically correct at this stage of development.

If you are having your baby in a hospital, or in a birthing center, it is advisable, in advance, to go and see the place to familiarize yourself with it and to meet the midwives. Then, when the time comes, you will know exactly where to go and what to do. If you wish to use massage and essential oils during your labor, make sure you discuss it with the doctor or the midwives at the hospital. Near the time of childbirth, in the last three to four weeks, have your bag packed and ready with things you would like to take for the childbirth: toiletries, nightwear, oils, and clothes in which to bring the baby home.

Perineal massage before Childbirth

The perineum is the area between the vagina and the anus. It will thin out and stretch during the birth of the baby. In some cases, however, it may not stretch enough and tears can occur. Perineal massage can reduce the risk of this tearing. The message needs to be practiced daily for 5 to 10 minutes from 6 weeks prior to your delivery. Massaging the area can also help you to relax during vaginal examinations.

A suitable time for this massage is following a warm bath to increase circulation and soften the tissues. Do not have long fingernails, and wash your hands thoroughly. Ensure that your bladder is empty and sit in a comfortable position.

Using a mirror to make sure the oil is being applied in the right area, massage sweet almond oil (or wheatgerm or vitamin E oil if you have the previous scarring) onto the perineum. Place your thumb inside the vagina and gently press towards the anus. Maintain steady pressure and massage gently and firmly back and forth over the lower wall of the vagina in a "U" shape, working the oil well into the outside of the perineal tissues. Keep stretching until you feel a slight burning, tingling, or stinging sensation (This is what you will experience when the baby's head is emerging.) The vagina should be stretched for 30 to 60 seconds and then released.

Stretch marks

A gentle daily massage on the stomach, breasts, and hips will help keep the skin supple. Try a blend of 5 drops of lavender and 2 drops of neroli in 1 oz (30 ml) of base carrier oil such as sweet almond oil and use about a teaspoonful for each massage. Add wheat germ oil, evening primrose oil, or vitamin E oil (to make up 10% of the total blend) for added skin nourishment. Other recommended essential oils for preventing stretchmarks are frankincense and rose, and hypericum and calendula. Remember to use a clockwise movement when applying the oil to the abdomen.

Here are some effective massage strokes your partner mat perform on you to ease your discomfort or tension or merely for your relaxation and enjoyment. The instructions are addressed to your partner.

Head and neck massage

This may be done while the pregnant woman is sitting upright in a chair, or in any other comfortable position. Stand behind her and gently stroke her head, then massage by holding your fingers still, while moving the scalp smoothly and evenly over the skull. Move your fingers a slight distance and keep working in tiny circles with your fingers until you've covered the head. Remember to concentrate on moving the scalp, not just your fingers. These movements release tension and increase circulation

2. Slide one hand down the neck while supporting the forehead with the other hand. Massage the neck muscles with your fingers and thumb.

Step 3

3. Effleurage (stroke) around the shoulder area. Using both hands, one on either side of the neck, knead along with the shoulder muscles by rolling your fingers towards your thumbs, as you slide sideways. Sustain an even pressure as you work sideways. As well as rolling the muscles towards you, slightly stretch the muscles towards the shoulders. Squeezing, rolling, lifting, and stretching will remove toxins and improve nutrition in the tissues. This movement is a combination of kneading and draining.

Back massage

During pregnancy woman's back takes a lot of strain due to the change in the center of gravity. Back massage will help relieve the discomfort. A warm shower or bath, prior to the massage, will be an added bonus,

1. Position your partner on a bean bag or on the side of the bed with a chair supporting her legs. Using a blend containing lavender oil, move-in sweeping effleurage (stroking movements) over her back, starting at the gluteal (buttocks) and fanning upwards.

Z Slide your hands gently hack to the gluteal allowing your hands to follow the body's contours.

3. As shown, use your fingers to move the flesh over the thumbs in a roll Keep the pressure on the upwards. The work must be gentle but even. This sliding and kneading (often called crab walk) from the cutes to the shoulders helps to drain waste products, relieving congestion

and helping to cleanse the body

1. Place both hands at the base of the spine and; using your body weight to keep even control of your pressure, use fanning out moment from the box to the top of the hips. After each upward move, let your hands slide around the gluteal back to the Coccyx. Repeat these movements to help strengthen the back muscles

Abdominal massage

This massage may be performed while the pregnant woman lies on her back, but slightly tilt her to the left side by placing a wedge or a cushion under her back. In the later stages of pregnancy, it is unwise for her to lie on her back for too long, as this position causes greater pressure on the major blood vessels. If preferred, the massage can be done sitting up with the back well supported. The movements can be done by the mother-to-be herself or her partner.

Apply sweet almond oil to the abdomen. Using light pressure, massage in clockwise circles, using the palms and fingers. This stroking is to acquire an awareness of the developing baby. At the same time, it will calm the baby, relax the mother and nourish the skin. Do not use pressure points or deep strokes.

Leg massage

Not only for pregnant women but for anyone with tired feet, this massage is relaxing and soothing. It may be done while sitting up or lying on a table or massage bench or on a bed.

1. Stand at the foot of the bed and apply the oil upwards to your partner's thighs with an effleurage movement.

2. Slide your hands over the ankle, then hold the foot firmly with one hand. With the other hand massage, the ankle with circular strokes, applying the pads of the fingers and of the thumb. Gently rotate the ankle to help relieve any fluid retention. Avoid massaging legs with varicose veins as this may aggravate the condition. Do not apply pressure to the back of the knees, to avoid damage to blood vessels and nerves.

3. Using both hands and keeping the movements continuous, circle the knee with your fingertips.

4. Work up to the thighs and knead them, to drain wastes from the muscles and to ease painful spasms.

Foot massage

It is important when attending to the feet that the touch is firm. If it is too light, it may cause distress to your partner, especially if she is ticklish.

Blend 2 drops of lavender with 2 drops of sandalwood in 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of carrier oil to use on the feet.

1. Cup your fingers around the sole of the left foot, and massage all of it. Move the bones (metatarsals) by holding the sole with your fingers and placing your thumbs parallel on top of the foot. Start on the little toe side and gently move each metatarsal up and down as you work across the foot. The suppleness of the feet assists in a feeling of well-being.

2. Gently rotate the ankle.

3. Massage the toes by gripping them one at a time, then squeezing and giving a moderate stretch. Repeat several times.

4. Repeat on the right foot.

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