Ex­per­i­ment with mas­sage

Living and Loving - - PREGNANCY & BIRTH -

There are so many ben­e­fits to mas­sage dur­ing labour, not least be­cause it’s ef­fec­tive pain re­lief. A study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Psy­cho­so­matic Ob­stet­rics and Gyne­col­ogy found women who re­ceived 20 min­utes of mas­sage ev­ery hour for five hours dur­ing labour had lower pain lev­els and felt less stressed, too. Makes sense, then, for your birthing part­ner to dou­ble up as your per­sonal masseur.

“Dif­fer­ent tech­niques are more ef­fec­tive at dif­fer­ent stages,” says Jackie, “and what works for one woman is dif­fer­ent to what works for an­other. So hone your birth part­ner’s tech­nique and find out what you like be­fore­hand.”

The first tech­nique for your birth part­ner to add to his or her labour tool­kit is light-touch mas­sage, which is done with the tips of your fin­gers. “This works as a nat­u­ral TENS ma­chine,” ex­plains Jackie, “ac­ti­vat­ing neu­rons in the skin, to in­crease en­dor­phins – your body’s nat­u­ral pain re­lief – and lev­els of oxy­tocin, and it’s great for the early stages of labour.” Prac­tise stronger mas­sage, too, for more es­tab­lished labour. “Try kneel­ing on all fours or lean­ing over your birthing ball,” sug­gests Jackie. “Ask your part­ner to stand be­hind you and use his or her fists to ap­ply pres­sure on ei­ther side of your tail­bone.” Try stroking a feather or rolling a ten­nis ball ei­ther side of your spine to see which you pre­fer, as some women find they don’t want to be di­rectly touched at cer­tain points dur­ing labour.

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