Updated: Sep 25
A postpartum massage is vital piece in postpartum support to both welcome you into parenthood, as well as aiding in your recovery from birth and pregnancy. The physical benefits of decreased muscular tension, balancing of hormones, and decreased fluid retention related to swelling, and the emotional benefits of relaxation and stress reduction are key factors in a healthy postpartum recovery.
The ideal time for a postpartum massage is as soon as you feel comfortable and ready for one! Generally, this timeframe is within the first 5 days after birth as long as there were no complications that would require you to wait. Make sure you ask your doctor before booking your appointment. I will have a bodyCushion, pillows and wedge on hand to provide a little extra support wherever you need it if you are ready to lay on your stomach, or if you would prefer to lay on your side. I also have a breast positioner for anyone who may need a pillow under their breasts due to soreness and tenderness.
A few of the most common benefits for a postpartum massage are:
Relaxation and stress reduction
Very few new parents take any time for themselves in the first days, weeks, and months of parenthood. Taking even just 60 minutes for a massage not only helps physically, but emotionally by providing some much needed (and deserved) self care.
Relieves birth and breastfeeding muscle tension
During and after the birthing process, the tension put on your body can present new and different muscular pains. I am trained to reach those spots, and help reduce the tension. Furthermore, learning how to breastfeed can put a strain on your back, chest, shoulders, neck and arms, and I can work with you to help reduce any muscular pain you have to hopefully make your breastfeeding journey easier.
After pregnancy, your estrogen and progesterone levels are adjusting to not having a baby anymore, and may cause you to feel off. While I can not help with those specific hormones, I can help increase oxytocin levels by providing a nurturing touch and decreasing cortisol levels that may be on the rise due to stress related to having a newborn.
Decrease postpartum swelling
During pregnancy, your body had an increase level of fluid, and after pregnancy your body is figuring out to decrease that fluid, so postpartum swelling is very common. A postpartum massage can help facilitate the elimination of excess fluids.
The American Pregnancy Association has many more benefits listed to include better sleep and improved breast/chest-feeding.
A few recommendations for your postpartum massage:
Have another adult to watch your baby so you can fully concentrate on the massage.
You can bring a support person to sit with the baby while you receive your massage or you can leave the baby home, whichever would allow you to relax and enjoy the massage the most. However, if you would prefer to bring you precious baby to your session with you, that is perfectly fine with me. I have given many massages with the baby snuggled up to their parents on the massage table. I will need to be able to hold baby while I have you reposition at times, so keep this in mind when deciding on what you would prefer.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, please do so immediately prior to the massage.
The reasoning is two fold: first, it will reduce any worry you have that your baby will get hungry while you are taking some much needed time for self-care, and second, it will allow you to more comfortably lay on your stomach. However, I do have a breast positioner to relieve pressure from your chest.
Keep me updated with how you feel most comfortable laying on the table.
Laying on your stomach can be a welcome relief, but side lying might be more supportive for your body. This varies client to client, and I will have enough pillows on hand for you to comfortably lay either way. You can change positions at any point during your session to make sure you are most comfortable.
And as with any massage, it is important to keep your massage therapist updated with any medical issues that occurred during pregnancy, birth, and immediately following birth. As long as you are in communication with your medical team, massage is generally safe and recommended. However, if you notice that you have any redness and heat in you legs, abdominal area, or breasts, I would ask you seek medical attention prior to receiving a massage as that can be sign for a potential serious infection.