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Mind the Bump – What Happens When There Are More Than Two People in The Treatment Room

Mind the Bump – What Happens When There Are More Than Two People in The Treatment Room

 

It’s no secret that I love what I do. And why wouldn’t I? Every day, I am privileged to support women through pregnancy and into motherhood with massage.

We all know that massage is amazing for the usual aches and pain of life – from spending too much time at your desk, hunched over a computer – to pushing it too hard at the gym on leg day. But massage during pregnancy is a whole other ball game.

Pregnancy is a unique stage of human life and while the muscular discomforts that are experienced are the same, every pregnancy journey is different and affects women is acutely different ways.

One of my mums asked me “What makes pregnancy massage feel so good?” My simple reply was, “Well, I am massaging two of you, so the effect is doubled.”

One of the things that makes pregnancy massage so different is that there are two people on the massage table. And in the case of multiple babies, there will be three or even four people on the table!

One of the greatest privileges I have is massaging a pregnant woman’s abdomen. A lot of women shy away from this. And I get it, the stomach in a sensitive area for most women, especially if there are issues around body image and we tend to store a lot of emotions in this region. But especially in pregnancy, doctors and midwives poke and prod and even complete strangers feel the urge to touch your belly without consent.

In pregnancy massage balance is vital. Back spasms are common in pregnancy and this can be the bodies attempt to balance the body as the center of gravity shifts forward to cope with the weight of baby and postural changes.

The benefits of massaging the abdomen are numerous. Massage supports the abdominal muscles, eases the load on the lumbar spine and can aid in alleviating the abdominal separation. In addition to the physical benefits, massage can enhance the mother-baby connection. During this time, the mother can draw her attention to her abdomen and connect with the movements of her baby.

Quite often during am abdomen massage, I can feel the baby kick, or press again my palm. And I must admit this is a special moment too. It’s moments like this the may me realise that mum is not the only one receiving the benefits of the massage.

The quote “good for mum, good for baby” rings true in the scope of pregnancy massage. Whatever mum is experiencing, baby will experience.  It is important that mum makes time to relax and look after herself.

If you want to learn more about how massage can help you during your pregnancy, please contact Laura on 0407 512 009 or book an appointment now.

 

For more information on the benefits of pregnancy massage, please visit the blog archive.

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The 5 Reasons Why Massage Must Be Part of Your Postpartum Recovery

Early postpartum recovery is a time of healing and adjustment. The recovery period is the 6-week period post-birth however, but the body continues to have metabolic and hormonal changes that can last longer.

I often remind my clients that it has taken them 9 months, or in some cases 10, to allow their baby to develop. A woman’s body changes almost instantly post-birth, and it takes time to return balance to the body, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

And of course, we must acknowledge the biggest challenge that new mums face – how they can look after themselves when they are trying to keep a little human alive. Keep reading to find out why massage forms a vital part of post-partum recovery.

 

The Benefits Of Postnatal Massage

Massage is important for early postnatal recovery. Massage during the postpartum period can even enable a quicker recovery from pregnancy and childbirth and improve the health and wellbeing of mum. Massage forms a vital part of the journey into motherhood.

Some of the benefits of postpartum massage include:

  • Labour recovery, physical and mental exhaustion
  • Alleviating stress, anxiety and depression
  • Rebalancing postural changes and reducing pain
  • Aiding the repair of scar tissue from surgery due to cesarean birth
  • Providing relief from breastfeeding posture and mammary changes

 

Labour Recovery

Let’s face it, whether you have a quick 1-hour labour, or whether your labour went on for days, there is no denying that it has an impact on your body. From the first stages, to the active pushing and expulsion of the placenta, your body had worked hard to endure these phases. Massage in the postpartum period can help the new mother to alleviate feelings of physical and mental exhaustion. Massage is a wonderful way to reduce pregnancy discomforts hat often linger postnatally. Receiving massage is early postpartum can enhance recovery and reduce pelvic ligament and joint strain and pain.

 

Mental Health of Mum and Dad

Massage at any stage of life can reduce stress hormones and increase feelings of relaxation. Postpartum massage shares these benefits. More than 1 in 7 new mums and up to 1 in 10 new dads experience postnatal depression. Postnatal anxiety is just as common, and many parents experience both anxiety and depression at the same time.

For mums, hormonal changes can be a contributing factor for changes in mental health. While adjusting to new responsibilities and feelings of frustration, stress and overwhelm can impact both parents. Massage can help the new mum and dad alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health postnatally, please contact PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306 or  Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Pregnancy Birth Baby Helpline on 1800 882 436.

 

Postural Rebalance and Reducing Pain

Post-birth, a woman’s posture changes dramatically. Their center of gravity is no longer being thrust forward with the weight of baby. But this does not mean that the body automatically rebalances itself. Massage can assist in realigning and rebalancing postural changes in the glutes, hips and shoulders. Thus, providing relieve form muscular strain and reducing tension headaches, and generalized lower back pain.  Postnatal massage is relaxing and eases muscular strain not only form labour and birth, but also assists in rebalancing the body as it adjusts to new physical demands, such as breastfeeding.

 

Scar Tissue Repair

One of the main focuses of postpartum massage is scar tissue repair and rebalancing the abdominal muscles. After a caesarian birth, some mothers report a loss of feeling and sensation in their abdomen. Postnatal massage focuses on bringing awareness to the abdomen and allowing mum to connect into her body.

Postpartum treatment also works on reducing adhesions surrounding the scar tissue, which can help mum feel freer and reduce abdomen pain. Massage on the caesarian scar tissue can help to heal the deeper layers of the wound and can prevent tissues from sticking together.

If you have had a caesarian, it is recommended to obtain consent and approval from your primary health care professional prior to attending treatment. This ensure that massage is safe, and the journey to healing and rebalancing can begin.

 

Breastfeeding posture

Motherhood brings with it new physical demands. Lifting, carrying and holding a new baby puts strain on the back, while breastfeeding strains the neck, upper back. It can feel like your whole body is a ball of pain and tension.

I often remind my new mums that breastfeeding is a skill that you need to learn, much like how your baby is learning the ways of the world too. Take it easy, take it slow and most of all be kind to yourself. It may take a while to hone this skill. At the end of the day, there is no right way to breast feed. If you choose to do it, or not do it, it doesn’t matter. But your posture is vital whether you are using breast or bottle.

I love this video from What To Expect. It goes through three breastfeeding postures for optimal comfort of mum and baby. What I love most about this video is that mum has supported her feet on a stool and throughout her shoulders are relaxed and she isn’t slouched or hunched over.

Watch It Here

 

Postnatal Massage Recommendations

As with pregnancy massage, postnatal treatment considers the comfort of mum, first and foremost. Prior to treatment, I recommend that mum’s feed or express to increase comfort.

Treatment can be performed side lying, if lying on the stomach causes pain in the abdomen or breasts.

Mum can also bring baby into the treatment if child care is not available. Baby can either be in the pram or on the table with mum if it is suitable.

Appointments can be arranged around feeding and sleep times to make this easier for baby to settle and for mum to relax.

Need an appointment? Book Now!

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The 3 Reasons Why Pregnancy Is A Pain In The BUTT

… And What You Can Do About It NOW!

 

It’s no secret that pregnancy can be painful. In fact, I’ve written about it before (in this blog on the 3 Ways to Beat Pregnancy Pain).

A lot of my clients tell me that their doctors aren’t too helpful in helping them understand their pain, which why I have compiled this list of the 3 main causes of hip/back and glute pain in pregnancy and most importantly how massage during pregnancy can help you reduce pain, feel freer and more engergised!

 

Pelvic Girdle Pain (AKA: Pelvic Girdle instability)

 

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is a condition can affect 20% of women during pregnancy. PGP can occur due to changes in ligaments because of the hormone relaxin, which increases joint laxity.

Every day activities such as walking or standing can aggravate and cause strain within the joint. Pain may not be felt until several hours later. In some cases, pain can be constant.

PGP can be managed by avoid aggravating activities, such as lifting and weight bearing activities.  Strengthening exercise that support the abdominals, pelvic floor and lower back can also be beneficial.

Massage can also help alleviate the symptoms of PGP through releasing tight muscles and ligaments in the glutes, hips and lower back.

 

Round Ligament Pain

Several ligaments support the uterus as the foetus grows. One of these ligaments is called the round ligament. The role of the round ligament is to keep the uterus in a forward titled position.

As the round ligament stretches due to foetal growth pain can be felts from the top of the uterus to the groin and can even extend to the vulvar and upper thigh.

Depending on foetal positioning pain can be felt on one side, or both sides.

Massaging the abdomen can help to alleviate round ligament pain by assisting in maintaining uterine positioning and stabilising the lower back.

 

Sciatic Pain

Sciatica is the name given to a series of symptoms, not a specific problem. The sciatic nerve runs down the lower back, through the glutes and innervates the lower leg and feet.

A slipped or injured disc can be the primary cause of sciatica, but sometimes, the functioning of the nerve can be affected, causing pins and needles or pain down the back of your leg.

In some cases, tight gluteal muscles can mimic the pain symptoms of sciatica. Massage can assist in releasing tight glute muscles and provide support to balance the lower back.

 

The next step…

Just because pain during pregnancy is common does not mean that you must put up with it. Understanding the cause of pain can help in alleviating the symptoms so that you can have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

 

Struggling with Pregnancy Aches? Book a Massage now!

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Labour and Birth Partners – What He Can ACTUALLY DO In The Delivery Room

Labour and Birth Partners – What He Can ACTUALLY DO In The Delivery Room. (It’s ok fellas, no gory pictures or scary stuff here!)

 

Each pregnancy, labour, birth and child is unique and different. One similarity I have noticed is that almost every mum-to-be that I have treated tells me is that their birth partner feels overwhelmed, lost or confused as to how to provide appropriate support and care during pregnancy and often do not want to think about labour and childbirth.

And if the birth partner is feeling overwhelmed, this can only mean that mum is feeling isolated and unsupported as well.

I pose the following question to ALL Birth Partners – For The Husbands, Wives, Boyfriends and Girlfriends:

How Will You Cope Seeing Your Loved One In Pain?

This is such an important question that I pose to all birth partners. A lot of birth partners may not have even thought about the labour and child birth process. Blinkers on. Ignorance is bliss. But, this is going to happen. Waters will break. Labour will start. And you loved one will experience an exquisite surge of pain as the contractions start. The birth partner will feel lost – UNLESS they are prepared to deal with this situation.

 

So, What Can You Do?

Partner Massage is a great way for couples to feel connected and empowered during pregnancy and it is a vital part of managing the stages of labour.

Massage during the first stage of labour provides birth partners with the ability to support the laboring women to cope with contractions. I call these massage techniques “Contraction Distraction”. No light and fluffy massage here. These techniques help the laboring woman cope with the surge of the contraction and the birth partner can find a way to manage feelings of anxiety and apprehension by taking a hands-on approach to labour.

The great thing is that these techniques aren’t just for labour. These techniques can be used throughout pregnancy to manage aches and pains and in the post-partum period to help with recovery.

Plus – continuing massage once you arrive at hospital can help the woman feel grounded and supported. Often in the transition from home to hospital (or other birthing place) can alter the flow of contractions. Massage is a great way for mum and birth partner to connect and support each other through this phase.

 

Childbirth Can Be Lonely!

Despite all the attention being on her, a labouring woman can feel extremely isolated in the birthing suite. You’ve got various doctors, midwives, anesthetists and even the machine that goes Ping! (See Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” if you don’t get this reference). As the labour progresses, and things start to get real and the baby is just about the arrive, the woman can seek support from her birth partner, knowing that they are equipped to get them through.  When a birth partner is supporting the laboring woman with massage, she will feel more relaxed and have an easier labour and birth.

 

The #1 Way To Guarantee Partner Support In Labour

I facilitate monthly workshops providing couples with hands-on skills to be nurtured, supported and empowered in labour.

This workshop will empower mothers and birth partners by teaching you the skills to provide nurturing and loving touch during the first stages of labour.

It’s really hands-on and we keep it simple and effective so that you get the skills to make it really easy.

In this half day workshop, you will discover:
+ Hands on massage skills for common pregnancy aches
+ How to empower your partner with “Contraction Distraction” during labour
+ How to create calm using essential oils safely during labour
+ How to access the right support for you and your family

 

This workshop is a must-attend for every couple. And Not just for first time families. Even those expecting their second or third child need to attend this workshop.

 

Why? Because every pregnancy, labour, birth and child are different.

 

Throughout your pregnancy you have been poked and prodded with medical tools, and you feel as if your body is not your own. And when you start to labor, you can feel isolated and alone. With massage in labour, your partner will be with you every step of the way.

 

If you have sought regular massage during your pregnancy, you need to attend this workshop so that your birth partner can provide you with therapeutic touch during your labour. I call it “Contraction Distraction”. And trust me, you will NEED this. The massage skills we teach in the workshop are not light and fluffy, because labour is not light and fluffy.

 

And birth partners need to attend because – you need to know what to do when the person you love is in pain. This workshop with give you confidence in because able to support your loved one, and you will both feel more connected as you bring your new baby into the world.

 

Check out the latest workshop dates here.

Feel free to head to the blog archive to read more about the 5 Ways To Feel Radiant During Pregnancy and The 3 Ways To Beat Pregnancy Pains.

Need an appointment? Book Now!

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The Attitude of Gratitude

Why Be Grateful?

These past few weeks, I have been putting into place a practice of gratitude. What the hell does this mean? Well, for me, it means making time each day to bring awareness to the things that are going well in my life.

I start off with a walk to the beach or the park at just before sunrise, then when I get home I do my Morning Ritual (more on this in a moment) and get ready for my day.

The reason why I do this is to feel good, about myself and how I feel about myself, to feel more connected to nature and the wider world around me, and to find some quiet space before the day gets hectic and filled with thoughts and busy-ness.

Sometimes on my walk, I listen to inspiring podcasts, such as Oprah’s Soul Conversations, and sometimes I listen to comedy, like the How Did This Get Made? Podcast. I find whatever I do chose to listen to, it helps to lift my mood, get me out of a funk while also having a bit of a chuckle too.

The Morning Ritual helps me to clear my head and set my intentions for the day. It is like a meditation. But I also get to shout out (yes – shout) my positive affirmations and power statements and jump around and use my body. And yes – I have done this in public, which is a HUGE stretch for me, BUT OH SO LIBERATING!

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Gratitude is also something I practice with my partner. Often, he will come home from a hard day at work, and his first instinct is to complain. “The excavation broke down”, “the rain delayed or work”, “the traffic was hectic today”. When he gets like this, I ask him “What is ONE thing you are grateful for from your day?” This usually stops him. All he wants to do is look at the things that he didn’t like about the day, but I am asking him to think of one good thing. After he gives me a reply, “I had a good coffee this morning”– I ask for another, and another, until – I can see that he has shifted his mental state and is looking at the world with a more positive outlook.

 

What Am I Grateful For?

This is the same thing I do for myself. When I feel crabby, hormonal, or just NQR, I look for gratitude. That’s why I walk on the beach, because it makes me realise that no matter how shitty I feel, the beach always looks beautiful. The sunrise over the horizon, the waves, the cliffs, the birds. All of it snaps me out of my funk and brings me back to what is really important.

I have so many things to be grateful for. I am grateful that I get to wake up every day and walk along the beach, I get to do what I do for “work”, I get to support women though pregnancy, I help women to feel nurtured and cared for, I help my clients feel less pain, improve their health and live better lives. I am grateful that when I come home from a long day, my partner has a prepared a lovely mean for us to share. My family and friends provide endless support.

And it’s addictive. Once you start listing the things you are grateful for, the list gets longer and longer.

 

Take The Plunge, and Dip Into Gratitude!

So, why not try it for yourself? Start small. Write them down. Then in those times when life seems shitty, the kids are screaming, hubby won’t agree with you, boss is a nightmare – reflect on your gratitude list and smile, knowing that life Is good, no matter how it appears on the surface.