Postnatal Massage: The Aftermath

Published: 21st August 2009
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We have all heard about the prenatal massage. The use of relaxing strokes and massage techniques on the mother-to-be's body. The massage is beneficial for the mother and in turn also beneficial for the baby. It seems like a win-win situation.

After the baby is born, though, does the mother go back to her relaxed "before pregnant" persona? The new mother is probably more stressed now with a newborn to care for, than she ever was as a single lady or as a new housewife for that matter.

So what does this new mom need to relax? A massage helped during pregnancy, can it help after the baby has been delivered?

What is Postnatal Massage?

Postnatal Massage is a natural therapy to help relax a new mother. The postnatal massage is similar and yet very different from the prenatal massage. While both massages look to relax the mother, the postnatal massage looks to help get your body back into pre-pregnancy state.

While you may think your body went through dramatic changes during pregnancy, your body will face even more drastic changes after the baby. Some of the physical changes you may be having include:
* Uterine cramping and bleeding
* Sore pelvis
* Episiotomy soreness
* Weak abdominal muscles
* Enlarged/gorging breasts
* Back aches

During this time the mother's body is trying to go from pregnant to not pregnant. It took the body nine months to reorganize and in a matter of weeks the body looks to get back to the pre-pregnancy stage.

Different methods may be utilized such as Swedish massage and lymphatic massage. Beforehand the client can speak to the massage therapist about specific physical ailments they may be having which the massage therapist can focus on. The massage helps to bring back your pre-pregnancy state by preserving muscles and connective tissue.

Some spas even allow for the mother to bring in the newborn during the massage. This gives the mother two options for the baby during the massage. One option is to breastfeed and cradle the baby while the massage is taking place, allowing for a bonding experience. The other option is to have the baby receive a massage as well. The client would have to call beforehand to see which spa offers these options.

Who are the Best Candidates?

The best candidates for postnatal massage would be women who have just delivered babies. There are two types of delivery methods, which are natural and cesarean. Rule of thumb is that women who delivered natural can receive a postnatal massage when they feel well enough. Women who delivered by cesarean delivery should wait at least two weeks after delivery. Massages are usually given within twelve weeks of delivery. Consultation should be made with the physician as well as the obstetrician.

What are the Benefits?

There are a plethora of benefits when it comes to postnatal massages including stress relief. The new mother's body is so tired and overworked from the laboring experience and simply put, she just needs to relax.

The massage relieves tensions and aches in the lower back, neck, shoulders, hands, and wrists. It can help with headaches and aids in the re-organizing pelvis structure. Posture irregularities which may have resulted from the pregnancy can also be re-aligned.

While the massage experience may assist the mother physically it also looks to help the mother emotionally and mentally. The soothing massage brings the mother into a serene state which helps to calm her mind and worries.

Some other important benefits include:
* Encourage circulation of blood
* Brings uterus back to pre-pregnancy state
* Toning muscles
* Aids in weight loss

What are the Risks?

With so many benefits, how can there be any risks? Blood clotting is a huge risk for post partum women and is especially high after cesarean deliveries. Massage therapists have to be careful not to knead too deep on the leg and pelvis area. One must stay away from the great saphenous vein, which is located on the medial leg.

Regarding women who have delivered through cesarean, the massage therapist should avoid massaging the legs and pelvic area because these ladies are more prone to get blood clots. If the woman was a high risk pregnancy or delivered with complications, it may be best to have the client consult with her physician and have them send over a note stating she can undergo the postnatal massage.

As with any spa treatment, there are risks and there are benefits. When making your postnatal massage appointment remember to consult with your physician to ensure you are a good candidate for this relaxing procedure. Also keep in mind you will want to call the spa beforehand to get all the detailed information regarding things such as if you can bring your baby or types of massage techniques they utilize.

The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate health care provider.

Jacqueline Cataldo is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a medical spa or more personal care articles at Yodle Consumer Guide. Postnatal Massage: The Aftermath

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