The Childbearing Year
The Childbearing Year
Four Trimesters of Massage and Bodywork
Pregnancy and the postpartum period are miraculous times of transformation: a woman becomes a mother, a man becomes a father, a couple becomes a family, a child becomes a big brother or sister, a family grows and their hearts enlarge. At Soteria Wellness, LLC, we honor you and your family in all the stages of this journey. In the midst of your excitement, anxiety, mood swings, discomforts, joy, and anticipation, we are privileged to serve you in whatever capacity you desire: massage and CranioSacral Therapy for mom and dad; Growing Family essential oil classes; infant massage classes; and CranioSacral Therapy for your baby.
The first trimester of pregnancy is a time of emotional, mental, and physical change. Mom may find herself on a roller coaster ride: elated one moment anxious the next, uncontrollably crying a little later; wondering if she's really pregnant because she feels so well one day, and needing to stay close to a toilet from "morning" sickness the next. Changing hormones may bring fatigue and mood changes. Massage and bodywork can help balance hormones, allowing Mom to come to terms with all of the changes taking place in her life, as well as bringing relief from many of the common discomforts of pregnancy.
Of course, if this pregnancy is considered high risk or there have been complications in past pregnancies, your midwife or doctor needs to be consulted before scheduling your session. In these situations, a written consent to receive massage and bodywork is needed. Even in a normal, healthy pregnancy, it is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider about receiving massage. Dawn is a certified prenatal massage therapist with the Institute of Somatic Therapy.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST), with its light healing touch, may be an especially valuable adjunct to your holistic approach to pregnancy at this time. Clients have discovered relief from stress, nausea, headache, shoulder and low back pain, in the early stages of pregnancy utilizing this soothing modality. Others report feeling much more emotionally balanced and peaceful after a session.
In the second trimester, some women begin to have difficulty with circulation as the growing baby puts pressure on the major blood vessels. Decreased circulation may lead to headaches, varicose veins, swelling (edema), exacerbation of carpal tunnel syndrome, and fatigue. Besides releasing contracted muscles, massage moves circulation toward the heart reducing swelling and improving blood flow. Bodywork helps the nervous system relax, which encourages the blood vessels to dilate increasing circulation further. This can be valuable in balancing blood pressure while minimizing edema. It encourages enhanced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all of the cells of your body, while allowing waste products that may contribute to muscle stiffness and fatigue to be flushed away.
As baby grows many pregnant women feel somewhat uncoordinated as their center of balance is continually changing. Massage throughout pregnancy helps Mom tune in to where her body is located in space. Your therapist will provide tips on posture and how to adapt to the fluctuating center of gravity and increased weight as baby grows. Dawn will share deep breathing and relaxation exercises that will help not only with stress reduction in pregnancy, but during labor as well. Time in a massage or CranioSacral session aids mom's adjustment to the structural changes occurring in her body due to ligament laxity by addressing overly tightened support muscles and connective tissue that cause discomfort. Digestive complaints related to the growing baby, such as heartburn and constipation can also be addressed with massage and bodywork.
Now is the time to begin preparing in earnest for your labor and birth. By taking care of yourself through optimal nutrition, general fitness, and specific pregnancy exercises; receiving healthy touch; and educating yourself about labor, birth, and parenting options you will be well equipped to confidently handle the days that lie ahead. Dawn had the privilege of working with over 200 couples through her 14 years as a natural childbirth instructor and doula, forming a strong base of knowledge for her prenatal massage clients.
You have reached the home-stretch! Some of the earlier challenges may continue and even grow in late pregnancy, but often the greatest shift is in mom's energy level and fatigue. Massage, bodywork, and specific pregnancy exercises can help optimize both the quantity and quality of sleep, as well as prepare muscles for giving birth. Many women feel increasing discomfort in their low back as well, since one of the uterine ligaments is attached to the sacrum. As baby grows, it places a continual pull on the low back. When combined with the increasing laxity of the pelvis and spine, the muscles of the low back and hips tend to overcompensate to stabilize the joints causing hip pain or even impinging the sciatic nerve. Targeted treatment work in these areas can often bring significant relief.
Soteria Wellness is pleased to offer the use of the BodyCushion™ body support system to enhance your comfort throughout pregnancy. In early pregnancy you will be comfortably cradled without pressure on tender breasts while the support system provides positional decompression to your lower back and shoulders. As your pregnancy advances, you will receive massage and bodywork in a well-supported side-lying position and/or reclining on our special massage table, with only brief moments on your back when assessing or stretching tight muscles.
Some expectant mother's like to invite Dad or another birth coach to come with them to a late pregnancy massage. Coaches will learn a few techniques to improve mom's comfort at home in the final weeks of pregnancy, and to prepare for "Labor Day." Please let us know when scheduling if this is your intent for the session. We love to help growing families help themselves!
Happy Birth Day!
Deep relaxation in labor promotes a faster, more efficient labor, and decreases pain, making massage in labor by a trusted partner or birth attendant a win-win situation! After all that waiting and anticipation you finally hold a new precious life in your arms. You did it! Congratulations!
The first three months after baby's arrival compose a symphony of transformation. All of life is changing--physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial. In the midst of these changes, no matter how wonderful they are, there is a great deal of family stress and adjustment. CranioSacral Therapy and massage can continue to be an important element of good health and maintaining balance in every area for both parents and child.
Postpartum massage and bodywork help to relieve sore muscles from the delivery and alleviate the muscular strain of holding your baby, especially in the car seat carrier and the many hours spent feeding a newborn. Bodywork can help restore normal tone and positioning to the uterus and abdominal muscles. As the tight muscles are released, the mother's pelvis is able to adjust to its non-pregnant position and mom is assisted in realigning her new center of gravity. Many new mothers find CranioSacral Therapy offers relief of lingering pelvic discomfort, headache, and postural distortions after baby's arrival. If a cesarean birth becomes necessary, after your obstetrician has given permission, massage can encourage healthy scar tissue formation. Nurturing touch reassures mom through this challenging time and helps to balance surging hormones, minimizing the baby blues and postpartum depression.
Postpartum massage at Soteria Wellness can be performed using a special torso piece of the body support system. This torso piece eliminates breast compression while allowing perfect support through the breastbone and shoulder blades to allow complete comfort for nursing moms in a face down position.