by Ruth Sutherland
Massage is a wonderful tool to use both when preparing your body, and mind, for labour, and whilst actually in labour itself.
Massage can help us to relax, connect with ourselves and another person and to feel loved and safe, particularly when it is enjoyed with a loved one. These emotions are all perfect for the labouring body because they stimulate the production of the labour hormones, oxytocin and endorphins.
As well as helping to relax you, massage can also become a part of your toolkit for anchoring yourself to a calm state whilst in labour.
If your partner massages you frequently throughout your pregnancy, whilst you are in a calm and happy state, in theory, when they perform this same massage whilst you are in labour, you will transcend back to that calm and happy state again.
This is an anchoring technique and can be incredibly useful in labour, as in the rest of your life.
By repeatedly pairing the prenatal massage with a calm state of mind, the massage becomes a trigger for this state. This means that during labour, the act of the massage will help you to create a calm state of mind – perfect for allowing your body to birth quickly, healthily and naturally.
Therefore I suggest that you begin your prenatal massage with your partner as soon into your pregnancy as you can. Get them to focus on your back, shoulders, arms, across the chest to the nipples and up the back of the neck into the hairline.
We all enjoy different pressures when being massaged so experiment and find what works for you. The goal is to create a calm and relaxed state so your partner pressing really hard and working out your knots may not be quite right.
Generally pregnant women like a soft, gentle touch that helps to make them feel safe and loved.
So find what works best for you and then ask your partner to repeat this massage, ideally daily for around 15 minutes, for the rest of your pregnancy.