Wondering if you should book a massage for after your baby arrives? The answer is yes!
By Allison Gunn RMT
We are often asked at the clinic by our clients if they can and should come after their baby is born. The answer is a yes! Massage in the postpartum period is really helpful. Just as growing a baby takes a toll on your body, taking care of a newborn does as well. Not only are you trying to recover from the challenges of pregnancy and delivery, you are also not getting much sleep. Additionally, we see a lot of neck, shoulder and hand issues. When breastfeeding or bottle feeding, holding that baby all of the time and trying to support their head while holding a bottle or supporting your breast is hard work.
Postnatal massage can help.
Massage during the first six months postpartum can help to speed up healing by increasing blood flow and lymphatic movement. After a c-section, we can also help with massage to the surgical scar. Work on scars is shown to improve the appearance of the scar and decrease complications associated with scars. Massage is also shown to help improve the quality of sleep, which is so important to the healing process. Stress is often a very big part of the postpartum experience, and massage is very beneficial as a stress management tool - studies indicate a reduction in cortisol (a stress hormone) levels after a massage. Better sleep, less pain and less stress all make the challenges of parenting a little easier.
So, when should you come in? Ideally, you would be able to get a massage at least once during the first 6 weeks after your baby's birth and you would continue to come in every six weeks during your baby's first year. If you would like your c-section scar worked on, we recommend that treatment begin after 6 weeks or when the scar is sufficiently healed. We often use the body pillow in those first few weeks post birth to make lying on your front more comfortable, as always, your comfort is very important to us. We recognize how challenging it may be to follow the recommended treatment schedule when you have a newborn of course, but it is nice to have goals!
Your newborn is welcome to come with you in the first three months. Many of our clients have received massage while feeding their baby during those early days! We will shorten the length of your treatment to accommodate your baby if necessary. That said, most find it more relaxing and the treatment more effective when they don't have their baby with them.
Other postpartum resources -
First 6 weeks - Monarch Centre http://www.monarchcentre.ca
Drop-in breastfeeding support - http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/public-health/pregnancy-and-parenting/baby-express-and-breastfeeding-support-drop-ins
Mum and baby yoga - http://www.littlelotusyoga.ca/lly-classes/
Postpartum depression support - http://familyservicesottawa.org/moms-groups/
Pelvic floor physiotherapy - http://www.pelvicsupport.com
Baby and family photos - http://www.saramcconnell.ca