Labor Stimulation Massage: What, How and Why?
Several months ago I began offering labor stimulation massage sessions. You may ask what is that, how is it different than a regular prenatal massage and why would you want a labor stimulation session?
I feel like I need to preface this all by saying that labor stimulation massage offers no guarantees. As a trained and certified prenatal massage therapist, I fully believe that nothing done in the standard course of a massage will cause a woman to have a miscarriage or cause her to go into labor unless her body is ready is to go into labor. Unfortunately if a miscarriage is going to happen, it will happen regardless of getting a massage or not. I believe that massage therapy is safe at all stages of pregnancy when done properly.
So why offer labor stimulation massage? Many women get to a stage in pregnancy where induction is being talked about by their provider. Most women that I speak with would like to avoid the process of induction if possible so they begin searching out natural options to induce or stimulate labor. While no one can force an induction on you, most women in this position feel most comfortable following the suggestion of their provider.
I have known women who are trying to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) who's providers will not induce them because of safety reasons. So, in other words, if they don't go into labor on their own by a certain date, a cesarean will be scheduled. I also have worked with women who are in severe pain because of the physical impact of pregnancy on their body. Their providers understand this and are willing to induce labor a bit earlier than they normally would for this reason. I also had a woman who was expecting twins, who was talking about induction with her provider, but had also been given permission to try natural labor stimulation techniques prior to that to help the process along.
This is where labor stimulation massage comes into play. If you have followed me long, you know that I strongly believe in the benefits of prenatal massage. It helps prepare the body for labor, makes pregnancy a little less uncomfortable, and can help women who haven't slept very well in possibly several months, get a little rest and relaxation. So the benefit of the massage session alone is enough even if labor doesn't result from the session.
So what does it entail? The session itself is much like a regular prenatal massage. It focuses on relaxation and problem areas, but it also includes a labor stimulation oil blend and I spend extra time on all of the points that we are taught to avoid up until that point in pregnancy because they could stimulate labor.
Just like any other induction methods, including medical, this session will not work if your body isn't ready, but it may help prepare your body for that time. To qualify for this session, women should be at least 40 weeks pregnant and/or discussing induction with their provider. If you have any questions at all about this type of session, please talk to your provider first and get the okay to try and stimulate labor naturally and if they have any questions they are always welcome to contact me as well.