The next thing that we will do for mom during her prenatal massage session is to generally organize her upper body. What I mean by that is that because the baby is growing because her center of gravity is changing, this is going to put additional strain and additional tension on some of her muscles. Very often women who are pregnant will complain of neck pain or shoulder pain or back pain or these sorts of things. If these are a problem than a prenatal massage is an excellent place to start. Now, along with pregnancy, there can be many things in her daily life that will cause tension and pain to start building up in her neck and in her shoulders. Things in her daily life like sitting at a computer like washing dishes, like sitting incorrectly in a chair like typing and breastfeeding babies and taking care of housework and these sorts of things often have the effect of pulling her head down, her neck forward and her shoulders forward.
And when baby comes along and alters her center of gravity even more, this tends to get even more uncomfortable for her. So during the prenatal massage session we want to do two things. We want to strengthen the tight and inhibited muscles in the back. They need to be organized, they need to be strengthened. Most of the time they do not need to be released. Very often it is the muscles in the front that need to be released. The Pec major is a muscle that will pull the arm forward. The subscapularis in her back is also a muscle that will pull the arm forward, the SCM muscles on the front of her neck. We’ll pull her head forward so all of these things that need to be released so that we can take the head back so that we can take the neck back and so we can take the shoulder back.
The prenatal massage will allow mom to be much more comfortable as she has sitting, standing and walking and caring for her baby during the pregnancy. Of course she is also changing physiologically in her breasts. They are growing, they are getting a little bit heavier and they are also going to be pulling forward just a little bit more. And so it is more all the more important for the muscles in front to be released so that the muscles in the back can hold her backwards and cold [inaudible] holder upright and comfort and stability and not under stress. Another really important part of this work is that when mom is comfortable, the baby knows it. You know that when mom is under stress, the baby will be under stress. When mom is frightened that those feelings will be passed onto the baby. When mom is angry or upset, the baby will know it and the same thing goes for those good feelings. So when mom is feeling comfortable in her body, when she is feeling good and relaxed and comfortable, then those feelings are going to be passed along to the baby and the baby knows that yes, things are good, things are safe, mom is taking care of me and I don’t have anything to worry about. So, the goal of the prenatal massage is to make mom more comfortable in her body so that her body can take better care of her baby.
After we have released the tension from mom’s shoulders and helped put those shoulders back into position, it is a great idea to work a little bit more specifically with her back and neck as well. Often if her body is not tensioned properly, the baby and the baby weight are going to be pulling her forward. This means that the muscles of the back and the muscles of the neck are going to be fighting somewhat against the weight of the baby. So once we have the tension removed from the uterus, once we have her hips in a better position, the next part of the prenatal massage is to take some tension off of her back and off of her neck. These have been overworking, but as long as we have her in a better position, then we are good to go to take that tension off. Now the prenatal massage is going to work to not just get her, not just to rub the muscle and to make it feel better, but to put the muscles back in place.
Sometimes they will get out of place, they will be pulled forward and if we put them back into place, help them to relax into place, then the tension will stay off for a much longer period of time. The prenatal massage will then focus on releasing the muscles that are around. The sacrum of the sacrum is the small triangular shaped bone at the bottom of the spine and it sits right in between the two ilium, the two hip bones, and it needs to be able to move out of the way when the baby comes through the birth canal. If the sacrum can’t move out of the way, then we run the risk of a baby getting stuck perhaps with the shoulders, perhaps with the head or perhaps having to actually go through with a c-section because the baby can’t descend into this area of the pelvis, so it is very important to release the muscles and the ligaments that are around the sacrum as well.
One of the more important ligaments in all of this is a ligament called the sacred tuberous ligament. This is the ligament that goes from your hamstrings to your lower back and it connects right from the bone that you sit on to the sacrum. And if the sacred tubers ligament is hard, if it is contracted, if it will not let the sacrum move, then they are going to be likely complications with the labor and delivery. So paying special attention, the sacred tuberous ligament along with the other ligaments that are holding the Seagram to the helium are an integral part of the prenatal massage. It is also important that the sacrotuberous ligaments, there’s one on each side be able to release together. If one side is released and one side is tight, it will cause a little bit of twisting in the pelvis and that also will make it a little bit more difficult for the baby to descend.
So a good prenatal massage therapist will be able to release that sacred tuberous ligament from the outside and that is right near the bone that you sit on. And they will also be really able to release it a little bit from the inside. And what that entails is while the client is still fully clothed to do a little bit of pelvic floor work and to release the sacred from the inside, this gives a more full and a more complete release and makes for a much more effective prenatal massage. This, the effectiveness of this work is going to be evidenced when mum goes to do the squat test again, and she finds that her hips move more freely and more comfortably. So you can see that a prenatal massage is not just about feeling relaxed for an hour or so, but it’s actually about making deep and critical changes to mom’s body so that she is more comfortable in herself so that she is able to take better care of her baby.