Postnatal massage is the full body massage provided to a mother after the delivery of her baby by a professional masseuse. It is a wonderful traditional practice which helps soothe new mothers and helps them relax amidst the chaos of bringing a newborn baby home.
Post-natal massage has been found to be the most relaxing period of the postnatal confinement period which is followed traditionally in many social groups of India and has also been mentioned as a period of 40-day confinement of the mother and the child inside their homes to prevent them from infectious diseases in ayurvedic texts.
Postnatal massages are usually done within 12 weeks after delivery; but in case the delivery is through cesarian section, it has been recommended that uterine massages be avoided until 6 weeks after delivery.
The duration of the massages can range anywhere from 5-10 minutes a day to an hour each day depending on the area being massaged. If only the pelvic and abdomen are being massaged then the time taken will be lesser as compared to a full body massage.
Postnatal massage helps relieve the pain after delivery, the stress caused by taking care of the newborn and helps the mother to relax so that she can provide for her baby even better. The benefits of postnatal massage are as follows –
- It helps with the recovery of the uterus post-delivery. Abdominal massages help with the natural cleansing process of the uterus and helps it to return to its original prenatal size and form
- Helps reduce swelling caused by increased pressure on major blood vessels due to the heavy uterus and helps prevent water retention and swelling of joints due to hormonal imbalances. Massaging the soft tissues of the body improves blood flow and eliminates excess fluids and toxins from the body.
- Massage stimulates breast tissue, causing the production of oxytocin which helps in the release of breast milk even during the massage.
- Massage reduces the risk of blocks and lumps in the breast by improving the flow of milk. It even helps to prevent mastitis which is a bacterial infection caused by blocked milk ducts in the breast.
- It helps the weakened core muscles and connective tissue in the body to strengthen and helps regain correct posture, stability and coordination in the body.
- Helps relieve the stress caused due to the changes undergone by the body during the course of the pregnancy and helps rejuvenate the body.
- It helps mothers to deal with postpartum depression.
- Postnatal massage speeds up the recovery after birth by strengthening muscles and relieving stress from the delivery.
- It helps improve the blood flow and soothe the stressed tissue of the abdomen and gives the mother a beautiful post pregnancy glow and helps reduce the stretch marks.
- Postnatal massage can help the mother regain her pre-pregnancy body by helping the tummy to decrease in size by working on the abdominal muscles.
In case a mother wants to avail postnatal massage then it is recommended that she allows the scar to heal for a minimum of two weeks before getting permission from the doctor for the massage. Even then it is advised that these mothers avoid getting a massage around their scar and only massage the remaining parts. This is because stretching the skin near the scar can cause it to reopen and become susceptible to infections.
Causes of concern during the massage
- In case the mother has any prior history of rashes or eczema then they should inform the masseuse accordingly lest their condition gets aggravated.
- Allergies to any oils or creams used in the massage should also be mentioned. Here it is important to note that application of products around the nipple should be avoided because the child might ingest them during feeding.
- Women who have high blood pressure and hernia should also inform their masseuse so that the concerned pressure points are not triggered during the massage.
- The women who experienced consistent pre-term Braxton-Hicks contractions should be careful.
- Women who had high risk pregnancies should consult their doctor before opting for postnatal massage.
- If the woman has excessive swelling and/or severe headaches, then she should consult the doctor.
- Adequate support should be provided to those muscles which were extensively strained during the delivery during the course of the massage.