A woman’s body goes through a great deal of change during and after childbirth. For the first few weeks after giving birth not only does a woman’s uterus have to heal, but the bladder and the intestinal tract are returning to their original positions. A new mother will experience ‘afterpains’ which feel similar to labor contractions, however, they can be more intense and last for several days. In addition, a new mother’s muscles will ache and be sore as if she had just completed a marathon, and in some ways she has.
One of the absolute bests things a new mother can do for herself is to partake in massage therapy, but not just any massage, a type of massage specifically for women who have just given birth. Post Natal massage helps to strength a new mother’s body and mind and helps her to recover quickly. Post natal massage addresses not only the physical discomforts experienced after childbirth but one’s emotional state as well. Rejuvenating a new mother’s mind, body and soul help her to be the best mother she can be. Some of the many benefits of post pregnancy massage are:
- Massage relieves sore spots and relaxes tense muscles. The entire childbirth process is demanding on the body including the abdomen, hips, lower back and upper back from breastfeeding. Massage increases blood flow promoting healing and oxygenating the muscles.
- During a massage, the body releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever and also the hormone that promotes a sense of well-being. This is the same hormone released during vigorous exercise. The release of endorphins are also believed to play a significant role in reducing the risk of postnatal depression.
- Oxytocins are also released which stimulates the milk to be pushed out of the nipple making breastfeeding easier. A breast massage is beneficial in opening blocked ducts and to loosen clumps, reducing the risk of mastitis.
- Regular massage helps the body eliminate excess fluid, decreases cramps and muscle spasms and can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
For those women who have delivered naturally without complications, massage therapy may begin as soon as they are ready to start. For women having delivered via cesarean, it is prudent to wait at least two weeks before beginning a massage program. Sessions are usually once per week and many masseuses or maalishwalis will come to your home.