In some cultures, after a woman has had a baby, her community gives her a 40 day care period where she is looked after and restored to full health. She has massages every day, doesn’t go to work or do any housework and mostly remains indoors, as this is thought to protect mum and baby from infections. Now doesn’t this sound like bliss?
For most women, having a massage for 90 minutes every day for 40 days is not realistic. In this post I hope to share with you some of my knowledge about postnatal massage and how it can benefit you – as well as your baby – in the days and months after giving birth.
During your pregnancy your body goes through a lot of changes and you can read about some of them here. Unsurprisingly, your body doesn’t just magically go back to normal once you have given birth. Instead, some of these changes may manifest into another ailment. I will go through some of these conditions and how massage can help you get back to feeling good again.
This occurs during your pregnancy because the growing foetus stretches the transverse abdominus and pulls apart the rectus abdominus, allowing there to be a gap coming down your connective tissue (linea alba) between the two margins of your abdominal muscles. The job of these muscles is to help to support your core and organs. Through massage we can help to restore the tension and alignment of these muscles into the correct position for you to have the strongest core for you.
Massage helps to reduce stress, which aids the release of oxytocin, a hormone which will help you to relax and also has a major role in milk production. By reducing stress you will also improve the quantity and quality of your sleep, which counters the inevitable sleep limitations of having a new baby.
Reduction of pain and muscle tension
The added weight and change in the centre of gravity during pregnancy leads to muscle aches and pains due to muscle imbalances. Then comes labour which also puts your body under a huge amount of strain and pressure both physically and emotionally. And then you potentially go straight into breastfeeding which can put your body into awkward positions leading to further muscle imbalances; massage can help with correcting these imbalances, straightening you out again and reducing those pains.
Help with C-section recovery
A caesarian section can either be planned or performed in emergency situations, but either way it is a very invasive operation going through several layers to tissue to reach the baby. Initially we are not able to work directly on the incision site but we can work around the surrounding tissue to help minimise adhesions and reduce the tendency of keloid scarring when abnormal cell growth occurs. We often find that there is a release of emotion during the massage as we work gently to improve blood flow and the healing process.
You go through enormous highs and lows during pregnancy and labour, and expectations, hormones and physical exhaustion all contribute. Having nurturing hands supporting you during a postnatal massage helps to relieve the physical aspect and also provides emotional support. And in addition to all these benefits, simply having some me time benefits both mum and baby.
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