Massage for labor pain relief
There’s no way of avoiding it ladies, delivering a baby hurts. Aside from the logistics (The baby’s how big? You’re how small?), most of us have a lot of anxiety about it which can add tension to already uncomfortable muscles. Massage can be your friend.
Massage can be particularly helpful in easing pain during labor. It’s calming, encourages relaxation and soothes aching, tense muscles. You can do some massages yourself by gently rubbing your belly during contractions. You can also have your partner or labor coach give you a massage to stimulate your body’s natural release of pain relief. Massages can help soothe your muscles and block pain. Some women find that using counter-pressure (having a partner push hard on a tense muscle) on an area like the lower back can relieve tension for a good amount of time. Using a tennis ball to roll over and into a tight muscle or a particularly uncomfortable spot can feel heavenly to some women. (Don’t forget to pack one in your hospital bag!)
Some women find light massage irritating and want deep pressure, while others find light massaging of the scalp, fingers or toes an incredible distraction to the deep contractions going on within.
It’s a really good idea to practice different techniques with your partner or labor coach long before labor is at hand. Get to know what you like and dislike and make sure your partner has mastered the techniques. And don’t be surprised if you change your mind when the day finally arrives. Be flexible and go with the flow.
Try these helpful tips as you and your partner learn to use massage:
• Warming the muscle with a hot towel or heating pad can help relax the tension
• Using oil or lotion can help your hands to move across the skin more smoothly
• Keeping one hand on the area as you reach for more oil or lotion can keep you feeling relaxed and in the moment.