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Labor Massage

Many women suffer from aches and pains, stiffness and tension during pregnancy. A gentle pregnancy massage can often help to relieve those problems such as backache, insomnia, edema, headaches and many other complaints.

Although some schools of thought suggest avoiding massage during the first trimester, others suggest a gentle massage throughout the pregnancy is very beneficial. However when you are massaging a pregnant woman, you must be very gentle, particularly on the abdomen and lower back. Massage helps to improve the blood flow and relax the muscles. This can be particularly useful around the neck and shoulders, or a full body massage really helps a person to relax.

If you are the one giving a pregnancy massage, first warm the hands and then warm a small amount of massage oil by rubbing your hands together. Keep the supply of oil close by. Learn and use some simple strokes. If you have ever done massage before, then experiment with what strokes you enjoy. You don’t need to be an expert for your partner to enjoy the massage. There are even massage tools which can be used, some as simple as a tennis or squash ball being rolled on the back.

Music can be used either in the background or as a main focus during relaxation. Let your partner choose her favorite relaxation music to be played during a pregnancy massage. She may then be able to have the same music during labor and she will automatically associate this music with the soothing and relaxing massage and it will help her to relax during the labor experience.

The pregnant mother-to-be should lie down on the floor, couch or bed making sure she is comfortable and warm. She should let her body go heavy while sinking into the support. She should let her legs roll out if she is on her back. If it is later in the pregnancy, she should lie on her side checking that her legs are resting comfortably. She should enjoy the feeling of the weight being off her legs.

This is when you can start to massage her feet and legs and then move on to the calves. The blood will start to flow back into her legs and feet. As she rests, she will feel the energy coming back while the massage continues and as she gently breathes in and out.

She should then let her arms and head and upper back go heavy. The massage now moves to the neck and shoulders so that the tightness and tension leave her body. The blood flow improves from her neck down her arms to her fingertips and the arms start to feel heavy. All the time the massage continues, she should continue to gently breathe in and out while feeling the energy returning to her body.

Apart from the pregnancy massage, it is important to practice relaxation techniques during pregnancy and these are some simple ways to relax:

• Sit comfortably and let the shoulders drop down.
• Stretch the fingers out and rest back into the chair.
• Take a slow deep breathe in and then focus on a long steady breathe out. Try to empty the as much as possible.
• Then breathe normally but each time, focus on breathing tension out of the body while exhaling.
• Stay here for as many minutes as possible. Every minute gives a pregnant woman a feeling of the luxury of a little time to herself.

If a woman is pregnant for the first time, then this relaxing technique should be practices often so that it becomes a habit to use the same technique after the baby is born.