Prenatal Massage Techniques

November 21st, 2011 by Dionna | 2 Comments
Posted in Adults, Eclectic Learning, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Pregnancy and Birth, Video/Interactive Posts

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I am a sucker for a good massage. And I am a whiny pregnant woman if I don’t get frequent massages while pregnant. I don’t think I’m alone there – most pregnant women (especially those in their third trimesters) would probably agree that having someone rub out the kinks and soreness is a necessity.1

But most of us cannot afford to get regular professional massages. And very few of us are lucky enough to have massage therapists as partners (oh what bliss that would be!). So it’s up to us to show and tell our partners how to massage us so that their efforts are effective.

My incredible midwife, Amber of Trust in Birth, agreed to come up with some universal tips that partners can use to give effective massages during pregnancy. Massage has numerous benefits:

  • Massage helps us physically throughout pregnancy by relaxing our bodies and minds;
  • Massage can help us bond with our partners, and it can help both us and our partners bond with baby;
  • Massage is a wonderful way to practice relaxation that can be used during labor.

Below is a video that features Amber giving me a prenatal massage. Underneath the video is (basically) what Amber says during the video (plus a little extra that we had to cut out of the spoken script), for those of you who do better reading rather than listening.2 Let me know if you have any questions.

Prenatal Massage Techniques

I’m going to share a few tips about how to relax a pregnant mama with breathing and massage. These are some great tools to help any woman stay comfortable and relaxed during pregnancy while bonding with her partner and baby. It’s also great to practice relaxation so that it can be used in labor. Relaxation has been shown to facilitate easier, faster births, and it is also a great method to help with pain. No supplies for your massage are necessary. Human touch and a quiet voice are all you need.

Before you start a massage, it’s nice to get the mama very relaxed so that she can get the full benefit. Start by chatting and playing with her hair, or whatever it is that makes her feel comfortable and relaxed. You can play her favorite music or nature sounds if that is something she would like.

Now let’s work on breathing abdominally. Have mama take in oxygen deep through her nose, down to baby, and then out her mouth. Visualize baby receiving oxygen.

Next, massage mama’s head moving all of your fingers in a circular motion. There are several energy points on the head, so be sure to massage the entire head to release all of them.

Go down the base of her neck with your palms, then down and out to the shoulders. Bring your palms around the front of her neck and sweep your hands down across her clavicles and the front of her shoulders a few times. You can tap her cheek bones a few times to release tension.

Have the mama get comfortable laying down on her side. Either the floor or bed will work, just make sure she is well supported with lots of pillows — especially between her knees. Tell her that you want her to visualize relaxing every muscle in her body — from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. You can say “Picture yourself limp and heavy, melting away like a stick of butter in a warm pan. If at any point I feel your body tensing up, I’m going to gently tap your shoulders to remind you to go limp and heavy.”

Tell her to sink down into the floor. Talk about each body part, having mama relax each in turn. You can say: “Let your head sink into the pillow. Next let your shoulders, arms, and hands be limp and heavy. Take another deep breath and visualize all tension leaving from your fingertips.”

Pick up her hand and ask her to give you the full weight of it. Massage her hand and each of her fingertips. Do this with the other hand. Next move to her back and rub gently down her spine. Tell her to imagine each one of her vertebrae being warm and relaxed. Give her more or less pressure depending on what she is comfortable with. Encourage her to imagine her thighs and legs being limp and heavy. Tell her that even her ankles and feet should be relaxed and heavy. Do with her feet what you did with her hands and tell her that if she finds any tension in her body, to release it from the tips of her toes.

Now that she is very relaxed ask her to visualize her baby inside her womb. Baby is healthy and growing every day from her strong, nourishing placenta. Baby is swimming in amniotic fluid and possibly sucking his/her thumb. She is excited to meet baby but patient to wait and let baby decide when she/he should be born.

Practice massage with your partner regularly to get the full benefits.

What was your favorite way to be massaged when you were pregnant?

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Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with your health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

  1. For more ideas to help work out the aches and pains of pregnancy, be sure to check out Prenatal Yoga Poses to Relieve Back Pain.
  2. Just so everyone knows, Amber is not a professional/licensed massage therapist. She is, however, a rock star midwife.

2 Responses to:
"Prenatal Massage Techniques"

  1. Ruth

    Oh Can I be next please?? That looks like that feels SO good!!! No wonder you enjoy it so much!!!

  2. Vidya Sury   vidyasury

    Oh, what a beautiful post! I am going to save this post and share it. When I was pregnant (seems like a different life now, because my son will be 14 tomorrow! Where did the years go? :-)) my Mom would insist I massaged my body with oil and let it soak in for about an hour before bathing. We especially use sesame oil or coconut oil. It would be so relaxing after a hot bath. A massage is great at any time, but especially during pregnancy. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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