A study in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research showed the impressive benefits of massage during labor and birth. This therapy has long been used in this capacity, and now research has proven what women have known for years.
Massage has obvious relaxation benefits — and relaxation is an important key to having an easier birth experience. Labor hormones called catecholamines, which include adrenaline, create a fight-or-flight response to labor. This can manifest as fear and tension, which can impact the ability to have a normal, physiological birth.
The ability to stay calm and relaxed can help ease pain and promote an undisturbed birth. The benefits of an undisturbed birth include a lower risk of interventions such as pitocin, epidural, and c-section.
The study, Effect of Massage Therapy on Duration of Labour: A Randomized Controlled Trial, showed not only that massage can aid with achieving a natural birth, but the therapy can also improve Apgar scores for baby.
Massage therapist and doula, Crystal Franco, recommends massage during labor, saying,
There is so much to be said for the power of touch — period. But when it comes to a laboring woman, the placement of a hand in just the right place can help that women shift from agonizing pain and defeat to a lovely place of surrender and calm. Beyond a simple touch, soothing massage techniques during birthing can ease the muscles and help the birthing woman’s body align itself, creating space for the baby to get into an optimal position for birth.
Did you receive massage during your labor?
Image credit: Jennifer Mostek Photography