You’ve had your baby, have been sent home with a fresh newborn, a peri bottle, some stretchy underwear and if you’re lucky maybe a couple pamphlets on breastfeeding. Welcome to the American medical system where a knee surgery patient gets more post-op care than a mom who has just delivered a baby via cesarean. A referral to pelvic floor pt should be automatic but most people don’t even know it exists…a postpartum doula? Postpartum massage? Lactation support? True community? Maybe you have close family; but other people who’s sole purpose is to nurture and hold space for your transformation into motherhood? Not in our culture, and thats a shame. Everything is focused on the baby and the parents are expected to tuck away the messy bits of their birth experience and bounce back like nothing earth shattering just happened.
“Dropped off at the curb” is the phrase I hear all too often. This is why I got into postpartum massage therapy; I was seeing all these moms prenatally but the real benefits and work and nurturing was needed after the baby was here. I always include postpartum appointments in my clients care plans; once baby is here its hard to make yourself a priority, but is vital to a new parent’s well being and physical healing.
No matter what birth experience you have, there will be full body soreness and swelling; your body still has excess fluid for pregnancy. No matter how you’re feeding your baby your upper body will be sore! Your uterus will still be contracting and your organs finding their way back. Postpartum massage is an overlooked practical tool for facilitating intentional healing space to nurture a postpartum body and spirit in that early postpartum space of rawness and vulnerability. Abdominal massage is always included and techniques I use encourage the abdominal muscles to come back together, the uterus to contract (not that painful fundal massage in the hospital) and encourages oxygen rich blood flow and circulation to the uterus and pelvis for deeper healing.
Besides scheduling your postpartum massage sessions before you birth your baby you can also put it on your baby registry! This is much more helpful than another swaddle blanket or newborn outfit they’ll wear once. Massage postpartum is most helpful in the first three months, (4th trimester) although most of my clients get regular bodywork up until at least a year postpartum!