After you have a baby, your body goes through a rollercoaster of changes. Heck, when you’re pregnant and after you have the baby, your body goes through a rollercoaster of changes. While pregnancy is a beautiful, magical, and crazy thing, our bodies do a lot of amazing things which can be stressful and hard on your mind, body, and soul. How can you help with the postpartum changes? With postpartum massages, my dears.
Postpartum Massage: Why Every Mama Needs One!
Massages are amazing and they can do so much for not just your body, but for your mind and your overall wellbeing. Massages are known to help people relax, reduce stress, and loosen muscles, but a postpartum massage can do even more for your recovering body.
What can a Postpartum Massage do?
Postpartum massages help with a multitude of things, but best of all, they help speed up the overall recovery process.
Relaxation and Stress Relief
When done correctly, a postpartum massage can bring about a whole new sense of relaxation and alleviate some of your mom-stress. Having a new baby is hard work. Whether it is your first baby or your fifth, those little bundles stress you out and make you tense. As a mom, you worry about everything. We face so many stressors in our daily operations and they make us tense and stressed out.
A postpartum massage is going to give you that little bit of “me” time that everyone needs. We can barely get 5 minutes alone in the bathroom, so an hour massage by a certified postpartum masseuse can really do your body and mind some good.
If a professional massage is out of your budget, that’s fine! Ask your partner to give you a massage. Have them dim the lights, put on some soothing music, and tell them that it’s all about you. It should be quiet and calm in the room. If they need pointers on what a good postpartum massage should include, have them read this book: Mother Massage: A Handbook for Relieving the Discomforts of Pregnancy. It provides a lot of information on postpartum depression and massage techniques during pregnancy, labor and postnatal. Therefore, buy this book for your partner while you are pregnant and ask for weekly massages throughout your pregnancy and after! This is a win-win!
Reduced Swelling from Postpartum Massage
Massages help loosen muscles and increase blood flow. When you get a postpartum massage, the massage will increase your blood flow which can help to reduce any swelling you may have.
For example; if you have swelling in your feet and hands when a masseuse massages them and then works on the rest of your body, those fluids in your feet and hands are being distributed throughout the rest of your body, thus, reducing the amount of fluid you have in a particular area.
Our bodies produce a lot of hormones during and after pregnancy: progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, relaxin, prolactin, and oxytocin. (I’m sure there’s more, but let’s not overwhelm ourselves here.) That’s a lot of hormonal changes for anybody! A postpartum massage is going to help with all of these hormones. Massages help people relax which reduces cortisol (your stress hormone), can reduce the pain you may feel from your relaxin hormones (that stubborn hormone that is responsible for the pain you feel in your ligaments), and can help with milk production by stimulating your prolactin (milk hormone) and your oxytocin (labor hormone).
Increase Milk Production with a Postpartum Massage
Remember that prolactin hormone we just discussed? It is responsible for allowing your body to produce milk. A postpartum massage will allow your body to relax and allow your prolactin hormones to rise. A breast massage might be something you feel more comfortable doing yourself or allowing your partner to do. Breast massage may also help you from getting clogged ducts or even Mastitis.
Aid in Better Sleep
Massages are relaxing and help ease our minds and our bodies. If you are getting a postpartum massage, you can believe that you have a lot of aches, pains, and stressors that are keeping you up at night. Getting a massage can help you feel more relaxed and at ease.
Massages are also tiring. When the massage therapist gives you a postpartum massage, they are going to move a lot of fluid around as we mentioned earlier, and help with all of those hormones too. This is a lot for your body to handle and it will naturally wear you out. As a mom to a newborn, you’re tired as is. The massage is going to relax you and ease some of those pains that you still have and send you into a nice, relaxed, deep sleep.
Fight Postpartum Depression with a Massage
Postpartum depression is real. I mean very real. It can hit you like a ton of bricks or it can slowly creep up on you. After having a baby, your hormones may be all over the place and the fact that your body might look completely different doesn’t add to the “good feels.” Getting a postpartum massage can help with that pesky hormone, cortisol. Relaxing and finding just a little “me time” can make anyone feel better. It’s amazing how just an hour of pampering and relaxing can change your mood. If you are feeling depressed, be sure to let your health care provider know immediately. You don’t have to go through postpartum depression alone. They will be able to further guide you into a treatment plan that is right for you.
Questions About Postpartum Massage:
Now that you’ve had your baby, and you slept (maybe), you may have some questions regarding postpartum massages. Are they safe? When can you start getting massages? How often can you get them?
What positions are safe?
All of them! Now that your little bundle is out, you can lay on your belly again! However, if your breasts are swollen and sore, laying on your belly may not be a good option for you. If this is the case, ask your massage therapist if you can lay on your side while getting your massage. Massages are all about relaxing, so make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
You can also lay totally flat on your back for long periods of time again. Woohoo! Who would have thought that laying down flat could be so joyous? When lying on your back, your masseuse may massage your abdomen, feet, legs, hands, and chest. These are all going to aid in reducing your swelling, enhance your recovery and they just feel good.
When can you start getting postpartum massages?
You can start getting postpartum massages as soon as you feel up for it and as long as you get approval from your doctor. Massages are therapeutic for your body and mind, and it is always important to check with your doctor before you start a new healthcare routine. Some women start the week they have the baby, and others wait for a month or so. Do whatever feels right for you. It’s always important to listen to your body, but it is even more important to listen to it during and after pregnancy when you and your body are going through so many changes.
This is another time when you need to listen to your body and do what feels right. Start slowly so you don’t wear yourself out feeding the baby and then running to appointments. Just do what feels right for you!
How to find a good postpartum masseuse?
When looking for a good postpartum massage therapist, there are a few things you want to look for. Look for a therapist who is licensed, check out their education and any other credentials they may have. You can also ask friends for recommendations or go ahead and ask good ol’ Google. When you find one you might want to try, read their reviews online. Still trying to find one you like? Try amtamassage.org or abmp.com/public.
So, in conclusion…
Overall, postpartum massages are beneficial for nearly all postpartum women. Selfcare is not often discussed or prioritized, but it is important to be physically and mentally strong. Taking time for your self to reflect, relax and have a solid thought without a crying baby is important in the postpartum world. Postpartum depression is all too common and very rarely discussed. Make sure that you find time to relax and unwind. If you are stressed and in pain, your baby is going to sense it and then make them stressed too.
Postpartum massages are very beneficial in helping the body and mind heal. Allow yourself to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. You deserve it!
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