Postnatal Massage, also called Postpartum Massage, helps the body recover faster as it tries to return to its normal state. Some women prefer a light pampering massage while others enjoy deeper techniques to work out the knots. Deep tissue massage can be performed on postnatal women with exceptions to certain areas of the legs, for 6-8 weeks after delivery, due to the continued increase in clotting agents. Benefits of postnatal massage include:
- Pain relief
- Reduces stress, anxiety and postpartum depression
- Speeds healing
- Improves concentration
- Reduces fatigue by enhancing sleep quality
- Increases circulation
- Improves hormone regulation and elimination
- Increases breast milk production
- Assists in c-section recovery
- Promotes tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks
- Reduces post delivery and surgical swelling
- Helps with Mommy Neck
- Can eliminate trigger points that create mystery pains
- Release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers
- Reduce headaches
- Pain Relief
A new mom must remember that her body has been flooded with oxytocin and endorphins. Because of these hormones her threshold for pain is high. It always amazes me to hear new moms say, “I didn’t realize my ____ hurt.” It could be her arms, legs, neck, face or belly. Throughout the body we will find areas of soreness and tension and will release these areas. This will help your body recover faster.
As mothering continues the mother’s body holds a variety of positions for feeding and diaper changing, not to mention the car seat, the diaper bag and the purse. New mothers spend about 40 hours feeding their newborns. Childcare can cause arm, shoulder, neck and back pain. Commonly called Mothers Neck, massage can help a new mother regain her posture and reduce muscle strain.
Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression
Postpartum massage helps with the “Baby Blues.” About two-thirds of new moms experience temporary postpartum blues. Postnatal massage provides emotional support and releases endorphins (a natural painkiller), which trigger a positive feeling in the body. Postpartum depression affects 10-15% of all mothers. Studies have shown that massage is beneficial in treating postpartum depression, but don’t hesitate to consult with your other healthcare providers for additional help with postpartum depression.
With all the new responsibilities of motherhood, new moms can feel scattered, frustrated and exhausted. An hour of self-care can recharge a mom, making her new life more manageable and increasing her sleep quality.
Massage greatly improves postpartum hormone balance. Estrogen and progesterone are very high during pregnancy and decrease after delivery. Oxytocin and endorphins rise during labor. Prolactin and oxytocin hormone levels rise to facilitate breastfeeding. Cortisol rises during stress. Studies indicate that massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Essential oils and aromatherapy can also aid in hormone and mood balance. Mothers can choose from therapeutic grade dōTERRA oils during their massages to enhance hormone and mood balance, or they may bring in their favorite oil.
During pregnancy there was a 40% increase in interstitial fluids and a 50% increase in blood volume. Massage increases circulation and lymphatic drainage to facilitate elimination of excess fluids and waste products. Excess hormones can also cause swelling. Massage helps hormone regulation, which will also decrease swelling. During this time you want to continue your high fluid intake, for healing and lactation. You can judge your fluid intake by the color of your urine. Dark yellow urine is a sure sign that you need more fluids.
Better Quality Sleep
Most new moms feel exhausted after labor, delivery, and visitors in the hospital. When they get home their lives are filled with around-the-clock baby care. Massage will ease fatigue, promote relaxation and assist in a better quality of sleep. Studies have shown an increase in delta brain waves both during massage therapy and in deep sleep. This is why it is very common to fall asleep during a massage. Getting enough sleep is important to postpartum recovery. Your concentration and outlook will improve when you are well-rested. Arrange some help and get regular massages for better rest and sleep.
Breastfeeding can be challenging for some moms. Massage therapy relaxes the body, increases circulation and increases milk production. Studies show that massage increases prolactin levels, a lactation hormone. Massage for “Mommy’s Neck” includes the neck, back, shoulders and pectoral muscles. By relaxing the chest muscles the shoulders can be held back, which opens the shoulders and improves lactation.
Postnatal Massage at Mother Earth Massage
Postnatal aka postpartum massage allows the new mom to concentrate less on her pain and discomfort and more on her precious baby. It helps to relax the muscles and de-stress the body and mind after everything it has just endured.
I remember being a new mom. There was so much to do after the baby is born that I had a hard time trying to squeeze in time to take a shower. After baby number two, there seemed to be even less time. Leaving the house and making the time to go in for a postnatal massage can be quite challenging.
I suggest either leaving your baby with your partner, grandparent or competent caregiver or bringing the baby and any helper with you. If you are feeling all alone in your new adventure as a parent, perhaps your family doesn’t live nearby or you don’t know of any other new moms, I suggest that you attend a few of the Infant Massage Classes, make some new friends and trade babysitting, so that you can both get in for your well-deserved postnatal massages. To find out more follow this link: Infant Massage Classes
Babies who are fed before their mom’s massage usually sleep during their mom’s massage. If you bring the baby with you, I will set up the table in the side-lying position. This way we can make the transition of moving the baby to the table to rest near you on the table. Most mothers and their babies fit comfortably on the table until the baby is about six months old. During your massage you can choose to put your baby in my bassinette, take the baby onto the table with you, or leave the baby to rest in the car seat. If you come in without the baby, you can lay on your belly, on top of a special bolster that takes the pressure off tender breasts. I use disposable covers so that you have nothing to worry about. Please let me know whether you are planning on bringing the baby with you.
Most new moms wear their highest-cut underwear during their first few postnatal massages. This allows for easy access to the hip area and sanitary comfort. Additionally, I have disposable covers strategically placed on the table, so there is nothing to worry about.
I do everything that I can think of to make your postpartum massages worry-free.
C-section and Postnatal Massage
Mothers who deliver cesarean can enjoy a postnatal massage. The abdomen is not touched until the wound is healed. However, the rest of your body is able to benefit from a postnatal massage. Massage reduces swelling and helps remove chemicals that were used in the surgery and regulate the hormones in your body. Massage to the abdomen can begin after it is okayed by your physician or midwife.
When should I start coming in for my postnatal massages?
The best-case scenario would be within 12-48 hours of delivery, then come in as often as you can financially manage. Those who have purchased a six-pack can continue to come at the discounted price. However, it is never too late for a postnatal massage. I have witnessed amazing results of pain relief after suffering for years with pains that have “been there since the birth of my baby.”
Aromatherapy can be effective therapy for postpartum moms. dōTERRA essential oils are pure, therapeutic grade extractions from plants, and can assist with relaxation, hormone balance, cleansing, anxiety or depression. Most high-quality oils are safe and non-allergenic after pregnancy, but let your therapist know if you are nursing. Most aromatherapy can be diffused into the air, added to lotion, or applied topically. Inquire about using oils during your massage and how you can take them home with you.