Massage During Childbirth

A partner's involvement in massaging can provide valuable support and reassurance for a woman in labor. Relaxation increases natural pain relief by releasing endorphins.

This in turn increases energy and reduces stress.

Massage during childbirth can be of immeasurable value;

Massage Benefits :

Massage for childbirth can relax you, relieve backache, and help you feel more comfortable, calm, and reassuring. Once labor is established, and contractions are regular, showers or baths are also useful in alleviating stress and pain.

Before you go into labor, you may have had a few false starts. When the real thing happens you will have regular contractions. Your abdomen will go hard for forty to sixty seconds, then it will return to its original soft state. These contractions will resemble menstrual twinges, to begin with. Usually, they will come every thirty minutes, gradually increasing to every five to ten minutes. When they are regular at this interval phone your midwife or hospital to let them know you are on your way. They will advise you what to do. If your waters have broken or if you have any bleeding let your midwife know immediately

Preparation for the childbirth massage using essential oils

Prepare the birthing room by burning lavender and tangerine oils. As labor progresses, this may be changed to the oil of your choice. It is wonderful to welcome a baby to a scented atmosphere. If you do not have an oil burner or vaporizer, use a bowl of hot water with a few drops of essential oils to achieve similar results. See the chapter on aromatherapy for more information. 

While you are in labor, a partner's involvement in massaging can provide valuable support and reassurance for you. Relaxation increases natural pain relief by releasing endorphins. This in turn increases energy and reduces stress. When massaging, it is important for you both to be in a comfortable position.

The instructions for the following massage sequence are addressed to the pregnant woman's partner.

Face massage before childbirth

Most women do not like their face being massaged during labor, but your partner may tolerate gentle stroking over her forehead between contractions.

1. Apply a little oil on your hands, warm them by rubbing them together, and, using the palms, stroke her forehead smoothly and gently, one hand after the other, to ease anxiety.

2. During the summer months, a facecloth soaked in lavender water and laid lightly across the forehead is cooling. Rosewater sprayed on the face between contractions has a soothing, calming effect on women in labor.

Back massage before childbirth

1. As labor progresses, massage the shoulders.

2. At times when the baby is lying back to back (posterior position) it will help the mother to get on her hands and knees and rock her hips. This will help the baby move from that position and relieve your partner's backache.

3. Before massaging your partner's back, she should be positioned on a bean bag or on the side of the bed with her legs supported on a chair. Begin at the coccyx (tail bone).

4. With your thumbs on either side of your partner's spine, make deep circles from the coccyx to the center of her back.

5. Move your hands in the opposite direction by cupping around her hips and moving down to the gluteals. With both hands knead and squeeze the gluteals, like kneading dough. This will help relieve your partner's backache and relax the muscles around the area, which in turn helps the dilation of the cervix (neck of the womb).

6. Now move up the left side of the body rolling the flesh with your fingertips towards your thumbs. Continue to the shoulder. Repeat this movement on the right side of the body.

7. With steady, firm pressure slide up and down the back from the sacrum to the shoulder.

8. Effleurage around the shoulders to release the tension. Complete this by stroking lightly with the fingertips right down to the gluteals.

Foot massage before childbirth

Your partner should sit on a comfortable chair or lie on the floor with her back fully supported. You will be facing her and should sit on a stool or kneel at the side. During labor, it is best to massage both legs at once. Enlist a support person to massage the other leg.

1. Apply the oil of your choice to the feet and legs. While supporting the foot, massage the sole of the foot with your thumbs.

2. With your thumb, make tiny deep circles along the sole of the foot to the big toe. Hold the big toe and lean back to give it a stretch. Repeat these movements along the sole of the foot, moving to each toe in turn. Remember to traction each toe just by holding it and leaning back.

3. Massage the heel in circles, gradually working along the foot in circles to the ankles. Clasp your hands on either side of the leg and with firm upward pressure, glide up to the knee. Trace the knee with your fingers.

4. Gently bend the knee and glide your hands around the thigh using effleurage. Cupping the thigh between your hands pump firmly upwards.

5. Complete the massage by lightly stroking from the thigh to the toes and back again. Repeat, stopping at the toes.

6. Place the palms of your hands across the arch of your partner's feet to rebalance the energy field; this will work on the aura and the meridians. If your partner is mobile, remove any excess oil from the soles of her feet -- this will help avoid the risk of a fall.

While these are the suggested movements, the baby's processes may alter the whole procedure. The sequence is not important, Successful childbirth with a minimum of stress is the aim of massage at this time.


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