Research has shown that massage during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, improve mood, improve sleep and reduce back pain. A twice weekly massage is more than most of us can afford but you may find you have a willing masseur in your own home!
Many partners are keen to get involved but afraid of causing harm or unsure of where to start; just a few pointers can get you started on the way to a wonderfully relaxing time.
Here is a simple arm massage which will relax your shoulders, calm you down and give you some special time together. It doesn’t involve any special equipment or oils and can be done anywhere, even while you are watching TV. Take care that you are both sitting comfortably, your masseur should be relaxed too.
All the touch should feel good so if anything doesn’t feel right, then feed that back to your partner. Go slow, keep contact, keep breathing and if in doubt do less!
Once you feel confident with the sequence, hold in your mind the idea of squeezing out the tension as you would squeeze toothpaste from a tube. The touch should be firm and careful; rather like picking up a crumbly slice of cake with your hand.
1. Rest your dominant hand at the top of your partner’s neck. Make as full contact as pos- sible. Slowly and gently squeeze and release the muscles while keeping full contact.
2. Slide your hand to the base of your partner’s neck, slowly and gently, squeeze and re- lease the muscles while keeping full contact.
3. Slide your hand to her shoulder and repeat, making a squeeze as though to very
slightly ease the muscle up and away from the shoulder.
4. Slide your hand to the outside of her shoulder and repeat, more gently.
5. Slide your hand to the top of her arm (deltoid) and squeeze, lifting the muscle away from the body. Usually feels good to use more pressure here.
6. Slide your hand to the front of the arm and lift the muscle (biceps) away. Move down the arm repeat this to the elbow.
7. Hold the back of your partner’s arm and lift the muscle (triceps) away. Move down the arm and repeat this to the elbow.
8. Take your partner’s forearm in both hands and squeeze all the way down to the wrist.
9. Squeeze your partner’s palm, especially the area below the thumb.
10.Rub the sides of your partner’s fingers, one by one, as though you were rubbing a coin, starting at the base and working to the tip.
Repeat other side if possible.
If you and your partner like this massage, it can be effective between contractions in first stage labour, helping to melt away the tension and keep the oxytocin flowing.