The postpartum period is a time of many physical and emotional readjustments. After childbirth, the woman’s body undergoes many structural and physiological changes in order to heal from the strains of labour, as well as to return to its pre-pregnancy state. The woman adapts to life with a new baby that demands 24 hour care, often leaving little time to look after herself.
Though it often may seem difficult to fit into a busy schedule, postpartum massage therapy is one of the MOST beneficial things a new mom do for herself, often allowing her a speedier recovery from childbirth and a quicker and more thorough return of her body to its’ pre-pregnant state. A mom who takes regular care of herself through massage is also better able to care for her baby, because she is in a better state of health— both physically and mentally. When the mother feels good herself, it is easier to meet the needs of her newborn. Massage therapy is beneficial throughout both the immediate and long-term postpartum periods.
Postpartum massage can:
- Provide a time for mom to feel nurtured & supported
- Facilitate & speed restoration of the body to its pre-pregnancy state
- Encourage involution (shrinking of the uterus) & prevent hemorrhaging
- Alleviate muscle strain/fatigue of labour & childbirth
- Cleanse residual metabolic wastes from labour exertions
- Help eliminate excess fluids held within body tissues
- Help to normalize the abdominal skin & connective tissues and help stimulate abdominal muscle tone
- Improve circulation & relieve congestion in organs cramped & displaced during pregnancy
- Rebalance & realign pelvic & spinal structures
- Restore normal walking patterns
- Reduce muscle & joint imbalances caused by common aspects of baby care (lifting, twisting, & bending, as well as holding & nursing baby)
After a cesarean birth, massage can also:
- Decrease healing time by encouraging proper circulation & tissue health
- Help re-establish peristalsis (digestive tract functioning) & ease gas pains
- Encourage proper scar tissue alignment (any time after scar has healed)
- Reduce fascial shortening that can produce long term postural & functional imbalances
Frequency/Length of Visits
Postpartum massage therapy can begin as soon as the mom is recovered from the delivery process, which is usually within 2—9 days. The immediate postpartum period (first 6 weeks after birth) is the most taxing on a new moms’ body and is when massage therapy is most beneficial. Once a week visits during that time, even if they are brief, can be extremely helpful as mom adjusts to her new life with baby. Afterwards, treatments can progress to be every 2—6 weeks. This seems to be the best frequency to encourage a healthy start to motherhood. Visits can also continue throughout motherhood as both preventative and maintenance care.
As for length of treatments, sixty minutes is ideal but any amount of time will do— frequent shorter visits seem to be more beneficial than less frequent longer visits.
Please feel free to bring your baby with you to the clinic if you are not yet ready or able to be apart. You can bring a caregiver with you, or baby can join you on the table—if he/she needs to feed, we can still continue with the massage.