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Massage and Touch During Labor

Many women find massage helpful in labor to induce relaxation, bring about a sense of well-being, and alleviate pain. Your birth partner may find it relaxing and therapeutic too. Ideally, he or she will have had a chance to see massage techniques demonstrated in prenatal classes and to practice before labor. Massaging the lower back helps relieve pain in this area; head, neck, and shoulder massage is beneficial for relieving tension and fatigue.

The touch therapies shiatsu and acupressure can also help relieve pain and tension. They involve application of pressure to specific points to increase endorphin levels. You or your partner will need to learn the techniques from a trained practitioner. Ask your doctor if she can put you in touch with a practitioner.

Your partner can use the heel of his hand to apply firm pressure to your sacrum. The hands can be alternated to stroke around the lower back.

Using the thumbs to massage the lower back in a circular motion, working from the base of the spine down to the buttocks, can release tense muscles.

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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