How Mothers Can Benefit from Postpartum Massages?

Motherhood is a beautiful yet challenging journey, and it can be incredibly tiring and strenuous on a woman’s body, both physically and emotionally. That’s why many new moms often find themselves in need of some special TLC following childbirth. Getting a postpartum massage is one of the best ways to tackle the physical and mental toll. 

This type of massage therapy is specifically tailored to meet the needs of mothers who recently gave birth. During a postpartum massage session, a trained and licensed massage therapist uses various techniques, including various modalities like Swedish, neuromuscular, myofascial release, and more, to help your body relax and recover. 

Postpartum massages focus on healing and restoring the body after childbirth. They can provide much-needed relief to aching muscles, help calm the nerves, and promote overall relaxation and wellbeing. By booking a few sessions, you can manage your stress levels, reduce physical pain, and improve their overall wellbeing.

In this article, we go over the ways postpartum massages can benefit mothers, why they’re so important, and some tips to help you find the right massage therapist for you. The post also highlights some important precautions to take in order to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby. 

Physical Benefits of Postpartum Massage

A woman’s body goes through a great deal of changes during and after childbirth. The organs that had moved out of the way to make space for the baby are now going to shift back to their respective places. This can be quite uncomfortable for a new mother. Getting postpartum massages helps address the physical discomfort a mother may be having postpartum. Here is how it does that:

Helps the Body Recover After Birth 

Exhausted mother snoozing in the car

One of the primary benefits of postpartum massages is that it facilitates your body’s return to its pre-pregnancy state. It employs various massage techniques that reduce tension in various parts of the body and help you relax. 

Postpartum massage helps restore the tone and flexibility of your back, neck, shoulders, abdomen, etc. that were affected due to pregnancy and labor. They can make a world of difference in your physical recovery as you make the transition into your new role as a mother. 

Relieves Sore Muscles and Tension 

A postpartum massage can help soothe sore muscles and tension due to labor pains, pressure, or changes in posture associated with pregnancy. The techniques used in this type of massage alleviate soreness in areas, such as the back, hips, abdomen and pelvic floor, that have stretched throughout the term and labor. It can also help reduce swelling in chest, arms, and leg areas that have weakened or become strained.

By reducing the muscle pain or stiffness due to carrying around the baby, postpartum massages enable moms to quickly adjust within their new role and lifestyle as a parent.

Promotes Healing of Scar Tissue

Another important benefit of postpartum massage is that it can help speed up the healing process for any scar tissue caused by cesarean delivery or an episiotomy (a surgical incision used to enlarge the vaginal opening). Scar tissue can cause a lot of pain and discomfort if not properly taken care of. However, with regular postpartum massages, you can minimize or eliminate this completely.

In addition, postpartum massage can also help promote healthy healing by improving circulation to areas that have been affected by scar tissue or bruising.

Emotional Benefits of Postpartum Massage

woman feeling depressed

The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can cause an array of emotions. From joy and elation to sadness and depression. Postpartum massages help regulate and improve your emotional condition too. 

Reduces Symptoms of Postpartum Depression 

One major benefit of postpartum massages is that it is known to reduce symptoms associated with postpartum depression or “baby blues.” You will notice a significant decrease in your fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, and fear after a postpartum massage session. 

The physical relaxation through massage therapy brings with it psychological relaxation. This combination can go a long way towards helping mothers cope with negative emotional feelings they may experience after giving birth!

Enhances Bonding Between the Mother and Baby 

In addition to reducing symptoms associated with depression after childbirth, regular postpartum massages can also help enhance the bonding between mother and baby. They can create an environment where mother-baby bonding is enhanced through massage. 

They provide an opportunity for skin-to-skin contact between them which has been scientifically proven to have numerous psychological benefits for both mother and baby. This type of touch therapy helps to reduce stress hormones and create a sense of relaxation which allows mothers to connect with their babies on a deeper level.  

Relieves Stress and Anxiety 

Connected to all these emotional benefits are stress relief and anxiety reduction. These are two common issues that come up frequently after giving birth. It is easy to overcome these feelings with regular postpartum massage sessions. The combination of physical and emotional relief produced by these sessions helps boost overall mental health for new moms.

Additional Benefits of Postpartum Massage

women getting a postpartum massage treatment

Besides the physical and emotional aspects, there are many other benefits of regular postpartum massages too, including the following.

Improves Breastfeeding 

A little known but important benefit from getting regular sessions for postpartum massage is improved lactation. Massaging certain points on the body can release milk let down and stimulate milk production by aiding in milk flow. This promotes easier breastfeeding for mothers who are having difficulty nursing their babies. 

Improved lactation comes from increased levels of oxytocin. It is released naturally during breastfeeding, but can be prompted further via triggers such as touch and relaxation provided by regular sessions for postpartum massage therapy.  

Boosts Immune System

Massage therapy in general has been found to boost immune system function which gives an added benefit for new moms recovering from childbirth. Postpartum massage boosts the immune system by encouraging lymphatic flow, which aids in removing toxins from the body. This means you gain better immunity against seasonal allergies and illnesses. 

Regular sessions with a trained therapist can provide further relief from inflammation. They also boost the production of hormones like serotonin (the feel good hormone) for a healthier lifestyle as you move forward into motherhood. 

Improves Sleep  

Mother sleeping with her baby

Another one lesser known benefit of regular postpartum massage sessions is improved sleep quality. They can improve sleep quality in new mothers who tend to be sleep deprived due to frequent night time feedings or early morning wake up calls from their babies. 

And not just for mom, massage therapy benefits the baby too! By helping relax tense muscles and soothing away stress hormones, massage encourages restful nights filled with deep rejuvenating sleeps for both mum and bub. Alongside good sleep comes general improved energy levels which ensure that you don’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

When to Start Postpartum Massage

It is generally recommended that new mothers wait at least four to six weeks after giving birth before beginning regular postpartum massages. This gives time for their bodies to begin healing not only physically but also emotionally, allowing them to transition into their new daily routines and activities. During this time, mothers should consult with their healthcare provider about fitness for postnatal exercise and massage therapy before scheduling any postnatal appointments. 

Make sure they are medically cleared and ok before commencing daily routines (such as exercise) or other activities after childbirth. Factors such as breast engorgement, bleeding or infections should also be discussed with the healthcare providers prior to beginning any treatments. 

If you have had any complications during labor or delivery such as episiotomy incisions or C-section, have yourself assessed by a physiotherapist. Their assessment can help the massage therapists tailor your session according to movement restrictions and scar tissue considerations. 

Finding the Right Postpartum Massage Therapist

Not every masseuse is trained to give postpartum massages. It is important that you find someone who has had appropriate training in pre-and post-natal care as well as experience working with post-birth patients. Here are some tips to help you find the right one:

Qualifications To Look For

Try to find a therapist that has specialized knowledge in post birth treatments such as abdominal binding or scar tissue release techniques. Look out for professionals who have experience working with pregnant women, lactating mothers, babies, and children. 

This ensures they have enough background knowledge of addressing mums needs. This way, you’ll know that you are getting an experienced practitioner who is familiar with your particular needs and concerns.

Key Questions To Ask

When speaking with potential therapists, it is wise to ask questions about their philosophy on postnatal care as well as any safety protocols they follow during the treatment. It is also essential to ask your therapist what treatments they specialize in before deciding on going ahead. Other questions that you might want to ask include:

  • What style/type of massage techniques do they use? 
  • What sort of pressure does their style involve? 
  • Do they offer extended support (physiotherapist, lactation consultants) if needed? 
  • Are there any specific movements/positions that need avoiding?

Tips For Finding The Right Therapist

When shortlisting a therapist be sure to check their qualifications, read reviews, and ask friends for referrals. One great way for finding the right person suited towards meeting your individual requirements is word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends. Check online reviews prior to making appointments and ask healthcare professionals like midwives within your area who could provide recommendations. Go with the candidate with whom most people have had positive experiences. 

Precautions and Contraindications

As with any type of massage therapy, there are some precautions and contraindications to take into account prior to scheduling an appointment for post birth massages.

When To Avoid Postpartum Massage

Most healthcare providers recommend avoiding massages if you:

  • Have any signs or symptoms of infection or fever
  • Have had recent surgery
  • Are experiencing dizziness or fainting
  • Have any skin infections
  • Are using blood thinning medications
  • Have any medical conditions that may be exacerbated by massage therapy (such as high blood pressure)

Additionally, if you had an epidural during delivery or if you had any stitches, it is recommended that you wait at least three weeks before beginning postnatal treatments.

Precautions To Take During a Massage

It is always advisable to wear loose clothing whilst attending treatments. You should also be mindful and comfortable enough to ask questions/communicate openly throughout the appointment. Lastly, avoid eating large meals close to the appointment.

Conclusion 

Postpartum massage offers many benefits for new mothers. And these benefits extend far beyond simple relaxation and stress reduction techniques. It helps ensure recovery after birth by reducing swelling, alleviating tension in tight muscles, aiding in scar tissue healing, improving posture and encouraging lymphatic drainage. At the same time, it also provides emotional comfort though enhanced mother-baby bonding opportunities. Plus, it is great for managing mood disorders like depression or anxiety associated with pregnancy and labor.