Monday, October 31, 2011

Massage to Induce Labor?

When a woman’s due date has come and gone, she may develop anxiety about whether labor will ever start. Usually after 41 weeks gestation, doctors and midwives begin to consider options for inducing labor in an effort to avoid the baby getting too large or the placenta deteriorating. Some women who believe that receiving an “induction” massage might stimulate their labor come to ask their massage therapist for such help. 
Massage does not trigger labor to begin. What massage can do is to help the mother relax. Relaxation helps diminish adrenalin and catecholamine production, allowing hormones, endorphins and prostaglandins that prepare the body for labor, to function more optimally. Massage can be very beneficial at this late stage of pregnancy, and if a woman’s labor does begin after receiving a massage, she may believe it was the touch that stimulated it. However, it is much more likely that it was due to her ability to relax under the touch and be offered reminders of her body’s inherent wisdom regarding birth, which allowed the natural development of contractions to occur. In this way, massage was a complementary support, rather than the cause of labor beginning. For many women, labor still does not begin until other elements are in place––physically, psychologically, or spiritually––even after receiving a thorough and focused massage with the intent of supporting labor.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Birth Acupressure and Massage Testimonial

From Sarah, Maternity Massage Certification student of mine at Oregon School of Massage

"I'm reporting a beautiful, empowered, and (surprisingly) healthy birth with the help of your classes and video.

I'd taken the maternity massage courses through OSM prior to conception, and had worked with pregnant women for a few months.

During our 38 week prenatal visit, my blood pressure was alarmingly high-159/100. Our midwives at Alma Midwifery immediately scheduled a transfer of care to the midwifery team at Emanuel Hospital. They started pushing for an induction, we delayed, finally resorting to breast pumping on his due date.

We labored gently at home for 24 hours, my husband rubbing my belly, using sacral pressure, and hip rolling to center us. I credit his touch for enabling us to labor at home, in peace as long as we did.

Once we arrived at the hospital, my labor stalled-we used the acupressure to gain momentum and confidence-the hospital midwives were astonished, they had already lectured me about not getting my hopes up, we could be laboring for another 24-48 hours.
We labored quietly, and alone, with the support of my doula. The touch was incredibly supportive-we found when one type of touch stopped working, another one started.

My baby boy was born a short 8 hours later, in one big push much to the surprise of everyone. I was on all fours as my husband pressed Kidney 1, thankfully as he managed to catch our babe. The midwife was still putting on her scrubs. My blood pressure never rose above 140.

I believe the supportive touch my husband was able to provide allowed us the birth we had always hoped for."