Massage techniques that your partner will need to practice before the birth, so you will benefit from the positive effects!
Touching another person can communicate such positive messages as caring, concern, reassurance, and love. Massage, “the intentional and systematic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body to enhance health and healing” (Tappan and Benjamin 1998) is used during labour to enhance relaxation and reduce pain.
How does massage help relieve pain?
Massage stimulates the body to release endorphins which are natural pain-killing and mood-lifting substances. Endorphins are responsible for the “feel-good” factor — the “high” you feel after a vigorous game of squash, or a good laugh with your friends during your coffee-break. In labour, massage is important because it brings you close to the person who is caring for you, be this your midwife or your partner. The touch of someone who loves you and wants to help you is very empowering when you’re coping with contractions and are perhaps tired and frightened.
The Royal College of Midwives Alliance Program in 2010 produced a leaflet “Revealing the evidence behind the magic of touch” This leaflet states that studies have proved.
· Pain relief in pregnancy from leg and back ache and a better night’s sleep.
· Less stress and anxiety for mums to be and their partners. This could be how you sell it to your partner!!
· Fewer pre-term babies and low birth weights.
· Shorter labour.
· Less pain stress and anxiety during labour.
· Fewer medical interventions.
You really can’t lose!
Women appreciate any holistic approaches, which reduce pain and enhance feelings of well-being during their labour and there have been several randomised trials of massage that report a perception in women of pain reduction if massaged during labour. (Smith et al 2012).
Here are some practicalities to consider before you start.
Of course do not have a massage if you do not want one!
The room should be warm and well ventilated
Cover any soft furnishings with towels as the oils can stain
Low lighting and relaxing music are helpful to enhance the relaxation
The masseuse should have nails cut short and remove watch and jewelry.