The Benefits of Postpartum Massage
POSTPARTUM MASSAGE AFTER NATURAL DELIVERY
Postpartum massage can be done as early as the first few days following a natural delivery to help assist with the transition into motherhood, and is equally as important as pregnancy massage.
- RELAXATION (PHYSICALLY & MENTALLY) AND STRESS REDUCTION – by boosting circulation massage reduces cortisol release and relaxes the muscles
- REDUCING POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION – approximately 65% of women suffer from short term ‘baby blues’ due to balancing increased responsibility and hormonal changes. 10-15% of these women develop into postnatal depression. Massage helps by regulating the hormone levels.
- INCREASES BLOOD CIRCULATION INCREASES MILK FLOW PAIN RELIEF – relaxes aching muscles, particularly shoulder, arm and back, resulting from the pregnancy itself, breastfeeding, childcare, or possibly from episiotomy or forceps. Women often don’t like to take pain killers if breastfeeding so this is a natural way to deal with pain.
- HORMONE REGULATION – following delivery oestrogen and progesterone levels drop while prolactin and oxytocin increase to promote lactation. Massage encourages a smooth transition into motherhood by reducing norepinephrine and cortisol which increase the risk of depression and stress
- DECREASED SWELLING - helps to return to pre-pregnant condition. Fluid volume increases by about 50% during pregnancy but massage increases blood circulation and also lymph, thus helping to get rid of waste products. Regulation of hormones and stimulation of the tissues will also help reduce swelling.
- IMPROVED SLEEP – massage has been shown to increase specific brain waves that are linked to deep sleep, thus promoting relaxation and combatting the fatigue that comes following labour, and with new responsibility.
- IMPROVED BREASTFEEDING – massage increases prolactin secretion which is required for lactation and relaxes the chest and shoulders
- SPEEDY HEALING - especially after caesarean/forceps/episiotomy
POSTPARTUM MASSAGE AFTER CAESARIAN
Post caesarean full body massage should only happen when the wound is pretty much healed, and pain levels are controlled, usually at least 2 weeks post surgery, to avoid risk of infection. If you have an infection while breastfeeding then this will affect the baby’s immune system.Even though the scar may seem healed on the outside, it may still be healing on the inside. Leg, foot and back massages, however are fine.
• stimulates healing, both inside and out
• eases pain
• increases blood circulation
• reduces the risk of scar tissue adhesions
• promote overall health
How massage helps scar tissue following caesarean:-
• scar tissue can grow in various directions and adhere to the bladder or uterus , potentially causing organ dysfunction or pelvic and back pain in the future
• slow healing can be painful but massage can promote a less erratic formation of scar tissue
• improved blood flow allows for better healing
• sesame, coconut or vitamin E oil are particularly good following surgery but if baby doesn’t like it, then it should be changed to avoid any interference with breastfeeding
• massage after caesarean should be gentle and done by therapist with suitable qualifications
• if you have regular massage following caesarean, see the same therapist who will be familiar with your healing process
• change oils used immediately if you have a reaction
• wait until pain has subsided
• if there were complication during the caesarean, seek medical advice prior to treatment