Pregnancy massage and aromatherapy
Though often the pregnant woman is asked to lie on her side for the massage, more and more therapists have tables with pregnancy holes for your bump, allowing you to lie face down.
Aromatherapy has also been used successfully in labour to help women stay calm and to utilise the therapeutic properties of the oils for a smooth labour.
Aromatherapy oils can be used in...
- a compress
- a facial sprits
- in an oil burner
- in a bath (although not a water birth)
What can pregnancy massage and aromatherapy help with?
Massage - Pregnancy massage has been found to reduce stress, anxiety and depression in pregnant women.
Pregnancy massage also works to decrease swelling in legs, feet and arms, relieve general aches and back pain and ease tension carried in muscles and joints - particularly useful when other pain relief medications can be dangerous to your unborn child.
A pregnancy massage offers a human touch that can comfort and support you emotionally..
Return To Glory offer pregnancy massage in the comfort of your own home (London area). Anna, a mum from London, had several pregnancy massages from them and says "At 8 months pregnant I was struggling with aching legs and general aches and pains. [after the massage, I was] both relaxed and revived."
Aromatherapy - Sonia Griffiths, a fully qualified aromatherapist and member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists, says “essential oils in the delivery suite can both disinfect the atmosphere and create a relaxing ambience."
How to use aromatherapy in birth
Sonia Griffiths says "Experiment beforehand to ensure the aroma is pleasing to you.
"A nice relaxing mix to be added to a bowl of hot water is:
-2 drops of lavender
-2 drops of geranium
-2 drops of lemon or bergamot."
Griffiths also recommends clary sage dropped on to handkerchief for inhalations in the advanced stages of labour as it has sedative and analgesic properties. But don't use this if you're taking gas and air - they shouldn't be mixed. You should also not use clary sage to induce labour as it can cause fetal distress. It should only be used, if required, during labour if there are no other medical complications.
Other oils which can be used in labour according to Griffiths include:
- Geranium - great for circulation and helps breathing
- Jasmine - has anti-spasmodic and analgesic properties. It is also very beneficial in a compress on the lower abdomen to help expel the placenta
- Lavender - is antiseptic and excellent for aching backs and limbs. It is recommended in a bath during the early stages of labour and is wonderful for the healing of vaginal tears or episiotomy scars.
- Neroli - helps combat any fear or apprehension
- Rose - is a very feminine oil and is a uterine tonic which helps to regulate labour
- Ylang Ylang - is very calming and helps lower the blood pressure.”
Words by Naomi Majid