The principle that I employ when working with women who are pregnant is to normalize the mother. When her body is functioning optimally, she feels so much better. This in turn allows her body to provide the best environment and care for the baby. Very often, mom’s body is trying to do the right thing but it just needs a bit of help. Things that are often addressed during pregnancy work is a general organization, hip mobility, pelvic floor release, and a uterus release. When the baby has adequate room and mom is comfortable, good things are the result.
This work is so much more than a simple pregnancy massage. My clients often report things like,
- “I was so sore before but now I can go for a walk and feel great!”
- “Everybody at church was commenting about how relaxed I looked!”
- “My midwife said that my uterus had so much less tension!”
- “They said that I couldn’t do a VBAC but I did it!”
- “My last pregnancy was so uncomfortable but this time I just feel great!”
Each individual session is going to be tailored to the woman’s needs and requests. However there are a few things that I find are helpful in almost every situation.
This is a great way to determine where the tension is in the woman’s pelvis. It will indicate the area that needs particular attention. It is very common for the test to be somewhat difficult in the beginning and then to be dramatically improved at the end of the session. The test will tell if there is a particular area of the body that needs care, such as the lumbars, sacrum (tailbone) or the pelvic floor.
Your baby is a real person who has senses, emotions, and reactions to the world around her. She will be directly affected and benefitted by this work so it is proper to introduce myself as someone who is there to listen and to help. This work has the added benefit of helping to relax the uterus as well.
During pregnancy, the organs are being moved quite substantially. The uterus is pushing upward and is placing quite a bit of pressure on the diaphragm. Releasing this can give more room for the baby and better breathing for mom.
There are so many things in our daily lives that tend to pull our shoulders up and forward – desk work is a primary culprit here. Taking the tension off of the shoulder muscles and dropping the shoulder back and down can be so relieving. Helping mom to feel more comfortable in her body will help her to pass those same feelings on to the baby.
These muscles are very often working too hard during pregnancy – particularly if there are working to “hold up” mom’s body. They weren’t designed to do this. Once the tension is removed from the hips and her structure is balanced, removing the tension from these muscles can help her relax into the new normal.
Hip Flexor/Rotator Release:
Deep inside the hip, these muscles are super important for mom’s comfort and for the labor/delivery process. One set of muscles, the psoas, acts to help guide the baby out as he navigates down the birth canal. Hip muscles that are balanced and relaxed will make the transition into the world so much easier for both mom and baby.
Hip Flexor Release:
One set of muscles, the psoas, acts to help guide the baby out as he navigates down the birth canal. Hip muscles that are balanced and relaxed will make the transition into the world so much easier for both mom and baby.
The two hip bones that form the bottom structure of the pelvis are called the ilium. They are supposed to move independently of one another. This is particularly important during the delivery process. Often, when a baby won’t “drop” into the pelvis, it’s because the ilium are stuck. Freeing up the ilium and allowing the hips to move naturally can give the extra freedom for the baby to feel safe in descending into the pelvis. Fortunately, we are greatly helped in this work because mom’s body is creating a hormone called relaxin which, as the name implies, helps the ligaments to stretch to allow for this movement.
This is sometimes known as the tailbone. During the birthing process, the sacrum needs to move out of the way in order to make room for baby. This is super important. If the sacrum can’t move, there is a good chance of injury to either mom or baby during the delivery process.
External Pelvic Floor Release:
This is a critical piece of the work both for comfort and for function. Various things in life can cause the pelvic floor muscles to become tense. Releasing them can have an immediate and dramatic effect on the way a woman feels. It will also have a direct effect on the delivery process. A pelvic floor that is strong but relaxed is part of a safe environment for baby. A pelvic floor that has been released of tension is also much less prone to injury during the delivery process. Please note that this work is done while the woman is clothed. If internal work is necessary, a referral will be given for a qualified physical therapist.
This is a very gentle release which is done by “floating” the baby. This removes the tension from the uterus and allows it to relax. When the uterus is relaxed, the baby has less tension in the womb and mom often feels much more comfortable.
Solar Plexus Release:
This release is most appropriate for early on in the pregnancy. When tension is released from the solar plexus, there are quite a number of structures that are helped including the liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, and gall bladder. It also has the effect of making room for the lungs to expand and improved breathing is a common effect.
This is part of the solar plexus release but takes it a step further. It is very common to feel nauseous during pregnancy – particularly in the beginning. Removing tension from the gut area, particularly in relation to the gall bladder, can have an immediate and dramatic effect on nausea. Bloating and heartburn are often significantly reduced with this work as well.