BethanyHealth and Wellness
Muscular Therapy Specializing in Chronic Pain Relief ~ BE HEALTHY ~ A holistic approach to mind and body wellness

Prenatal, Induction and Postnatal Massage

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Pregnancy Massage: Why Every Pregnant Woman Should Have A Pregnancy Massage

Massage during pregnancy is a therapeutic type of bodywork that is designed to address the needs of the pregnant women as her body goes through the typical changes of gestation. Massage can be received in all stages of pregnancy and is quite safe and often recommended by medical physicians, obstetricians, midwives and other related professionals. Is Massage Safe during Pregnancy?

Massage therapy is very safe during the entire pregnancy, but must be performed by a trained professional. Massage during pregnancy can greatly improve your pregnancy experience and help your body get ready for labour. A pregnant woman's body is stressed in many ways during
pregnancy therefore receiving prenatal massage often can only bring you benefits. Just tried it and you will love it!

Some of the benefits of massage during pregnancy:

    • eases sciatic pain
    • eases low back pain
    • aids in constipation relief, healthy digestion, easing gas and heartburn
    • reduces swelling of face and extremities
    • reduces and eases headaches
    • addresses insomnia and other sleeping problems
    • Neck and shoulder pain
    • Hip and leg pain
    • Muscular cramping
    • Depression
    • cardiovascular and circulatory problems
    • prevent complications during birth
    • reduces stress on weight-bearing joints
    • increases flexibility
    • reduces excess fluid retention
    • slows the process of varicose veins
    • relieves common discomforts

Pregnancy is a time of many changes: physical, social, and emotional. Massage is a wonderful way to relax, increase your energy and relieve discomfort.

Massage During Pregnancy: Increase Your Health and Feel Great! 

Studies have shown how maternal and newborn health benefits when relaxing, therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care. Also, massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce relieve muscles aches, ease joint pain, decrease anxiety, and prepare for an easy labour. I believe that stress can be the cause of many health issues during pregnancy because many women do not slow down or take special care of themselves during this special time. Not because they do not want, simply because they can. Massage during pregnancy is often the only time a busy pregnant woman has to relax and take care of herself. A soothing pregnancy massage can help decrease norepinephrine and cortisol, which are stress hormones that can affect a pregnant body. Receiving a regular massage can increase dopamine and serotonin levels, which if low may lead to mood disorders including depression.

Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy

Many women experience sciatic pain during pregnancy, but especially during the last 4-6 weeks. This is due to the growing uterus that put pressure on the lower back and on the pelvic ligaments, nerves, vessels and muscles. The weight of the baby can cause strain on the nerves that innervate the lower extremities. The result is a sharp shooting pain that begins at the small of the back and travels toward the leg down to the knee or the foot. Sciatic pain is usually felt more on one side, but it can also alternate from left to right or vice versa. Regular massage during pregnancy helps decrease sciatic pain and helps re-align the body to improved posture.

Edema During Pregnancy:

Edema is the swelling of face, joints and extremities during pregnancy. It is caused by an imbalanced water distribution within the tissues and by reduced circulation. Also, during the last stages of pregnancy, most likely during third trimester, the growing uterus puts pressure on the major blood vessels leading to low circulation in the extremities. Massage during pregnancy has the power to stimulate soft tissues and reduce accumulation of fluids in swollen joints like ankles, for example.

Position during pregnancy massage:

Your therapist will most likely massage you while lying on your side during second and third trimester. Do not go to anyone who used massage tables with holes or pillows with holes. This can be very uncomfortable.

An excellent resource for massage benefits and prenatal massage:



Bethany has an induction massage program for expectant mothers who are interested in natural labor induction. Please inquire via email at or call (646) 489-4697

Clary Sage Oil to Induce Labor

Aromatherapy oils have gained popularity for its profound usage in relieving stress, depression, headaches and migraines, symptoms of PMS, menstruation discomfort; in inducing euphoria and also acts as an aphrodisiac as well. Clary sage is one such aromatic oil which is a must for every woman. This oil is loaded with tons of therapeutic properties like anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, astringent, anti-spasmodic, diuretic and digestive. With so many health benefits, how would anyone ignore the fact that essential oils are here to stay. People have experienced relief from their health related problems by using clary sage oil. Its uses are countless but, one of the numerous benefits is its role in inducing labor. It promotes relaxation and pain relief during labor.

How to Use Clary Sage Oil to Induce Labor?

Clary sage oil is used for aromatic delivery. Take cotton balls and soak them in clary sage essential oil. Put these balls under the expecting mother's pillow. The pungent fragrance emanated from these balls help in relieving muscle tension and reduces stress levels. The smell also helps quicken the labor process by intensifying the muscle contractions. Care has to be taken that it should not be confused with sage, which is toxic for the baby. This oil is known to cause abortion.
Some women in labor prefer to apply oil on their belly. This aromatic essential oil is known to create a feeling of euphoria. This helps the muscle to relax and strengthens the contraction during labor.
10 drops of clary sage oil can be mixed with 50 ml of coconut oil. The mixed oil should be massaged on the palm and the feet of the woman in labor. It releases muscle tension and thereby provides the necessary calm and comfort to the mother. It also helps in muscle dilation, required for the baby to come out.
Soak in the goodness of this oil to induce labor by mixing it in your bathwater. This relaxes the muscles and helps in inducing labor. What's more exciting than going into labor with a peaceful mind and body!

The sense of touch and smell can work miracles on your body. It would be such a joyous moment to have your baby in your arms after a successful and healthy delivery. Clary sage oil is the best way to experience the goodness of nature. Its benefits have been researched well. However, it is best to use it after consulting your midwife or doctor.

Primrose Oil for Inducing Labor
Evening primrose oil is a massage oil which is rich in prostaglandins and also contains gamma-linolenic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid. It is believed to be quite useful in naturally preparing the body for labor and usually possesses no side effects. Prostaglandin is a hormone produced naturally in higher amounts by the body in preparation for labor and delivery. Hence, it basically helps in softening and ripening the cervix, which further aids in engaging the baby's head deeper into the pelvis. Ripening of cervix helps in dilation, which causes contractions and subsequently, induces labor. Therefore, evening primrose oil has been used for centuries by many midwives to prepare pregnant women for delivery, as it is one of the natural ways to induce labor.

How to Use Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil can be either taken orally or inserted vaginally. As the expecting mother completes her 34 weeks gestation, she can take two 500 mg capsules daily and once she reaches 38 weeks gestation, the amount of capsules can be increased to 3 to 4 per day. This will basically help in softening and ripening the cervix. However, in case she experiences nausea or diarrhea, it is strongly recommended to reduce the dosage and if needed, consult a doctor. Another method of using primrose oil to induce labor is to use it during perineal massage. For this, all you have to do is apply the oil directly to the cervix and massage gently. This is especially helpful to avoid tearing durning labor. The oil will be absorbed through the external skin and can help in causing contractions.

You can also consider the option of inserting the capsule in the vagina which can be done during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Simply insert the capsule into the vagina before bed time so that the body dissolves the capsule during sleep. However, before doing so, do consult your health care provider as insertion of any object in to the vagina or through the cervix can result in a rupture or tear of certain membranes which need to be intact, hence, resulting in some serious infection. If you find difficulty inserting the capsule, ask your partner or midwife to do so. Besides primrose oil, people also use clary sage oil and castor oil for the similar purposes.

Apart from using primrose oil to induce labor, one can also try having sex, eating spicy foods, doing regular walks with hills or stairs, stimulating nipples, practicing acupuncture, pumping breast milk, etc. as all these methods are quite useful to induce labor naturally. However, before choosing any of the aforementioned methods, to err on the side of caution, do consult your doctor or midwife to avoid unexpected pregnancy complications. Also, remember that these induction methods should only be tried if you have surpassed your due date or have successfully completed 38 or 40 weeks pregnancy period.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea for Inducing Labor

Red raspberry is a wonder herb, which had been widely used since ages for treating various ailments like flu, fever and digestive disorders, etc. The healing and therapeutic properties of red raspberry leaf tea for women are the most well-known benefits of this herb. It is known to reduce the pain associated with childbirth, but has no effect to reduce the pain caused due to the dilation of the pelvic muscles.

Please Remember

- Expecting mothers should drink raspberry leaf tea only after passing the due date or after crossing the 38th week.

- Some may recommend 2 to 3 cups a day, by the third trimester or 1 cup a day in the earlier stages of pregnancy. Consult a qualified medical expert on the number of cups to drink and when to drink.

- The consumption of this herbal tea in the initial stages of pregnancy is a much debated topic. Some believe that it can cause the muscles of the uterus to contract and expand, and hence can cause a miscarriage if taken in the initial stages of pregnancy. Hence, consult and confirm with a medical professional before starting this herbal therapy.

It is important to know that the consumption of red raspberry leaf tea (alone) to induce labor does not lead to labor pains, i.e., it does not induce labor, it just helps to tone the muscles of the uterus. To induce labor, you will have to try a combination of things like walking, acupuncture, house cleaning, etc., along with sipping some raspberry tea. Try them only and only if you have crossed your delivery date or if your due date is fast approaching. Many women consume it in the form of ice cubes or as tablets during the delivery to help ease the pain and improve the contractions. Women also increase the dosage once they are past their due date.


The method of preparation of this tea is pretty simple. All one has to do is boil water, let it sit for 5 minutes and then add two to three teaspoons of red raspberry tea leaves. The tea leaves should seep into the water and should be consumed when the tea is still hot. To truly enjoy the benefits, one must drink the tea as hot as possible. Many midwives recommend consuming raspberry leaf tea because of its many health benefits.

Helping Induce Labor

The red raspberry plant is a rich source of plenty of vitamins and minerals. There are many benefits of drinking red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy. Let's take a look at the benefits that this tea does to the body.

- Its high percentage of vitamin A is known to benefit women by increasing their immunity, and it also makes the skin glow.The tea is also rich in vitamin C which improves blood circulation in expecting women.
- It is also known to ease morning sickness. The use of this tea in aiding labor is popular primarily because it is known to tone the uterus muscles which makes the delivery easier.
- Raspberry leaf tea induction is believed to make the delivery relatively simple. The risk of labor injuries caused due to the use of forceps, etc., is also reduced.
- It also helps in preventing leg cramps and anemia. Moreover, the tea is also known to help the body recover faster after the delivery.
- Red raspberry leaf is high in vitamins and minerals and is said to help ease menstrual cramps, too.
- Consumption of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy is known to assist in the healthy development of the baby. It also aids in the bone development of the baby.
- It is also known to improve mood swings and contains skin-firming properties.  

- Post delivery, it is known to assist in the production of milk.
- You can even have it post delivery, as raspberry tea is also known to help the uterus get back to its original size.
- Some even believe that this herb helps in curing infertility.

Drinking red raspberry leaf tea benefits everyone as its every sip is soaked with healing properties. Now that you are aware why pregnant women drink raspberry leaf tea, it is always advised to talk to a medical practitioner before starting a raspberry tea ritual. Always better safe than sorry.



Postnatal Body Changes: Your body is now going through significant changes. During the first few weeks of postpartum, healing has to occur in the site within your uterus where the placenta was attached. This is an internal scar that slowly heals as the uterine size diminishes. As a result,  you may be experiencing mild to severe cramping, and your pelvic floor may be very sore from an episiotomy or tearing. After birth not only your uterus, but your intestinal tract and urinary bladder have to regain their original positioning after being pushed to the side to make room for your growing baby. Your abdominal muscles may now be very relaxed and flaccid, you may feel especially weak and sore when attempting to sit up. During this time, your breasts become enlarged, sore, and sensitive as the milk ducts go into production. Breastfeeding can put strain on your back and shoulders.

Bodywork during the postpartum period can help with:

    • Low back pain
    • Neck and shoulder pain
    • Scar healing
    • Headaches
    • Hand and wrist pain
    • Postural dysfunctions
    • Depression
    • Weakness and fatigue
    • Re-establishes pelvis structural integrity
    • Supports healthy lactation if nursing, helps with milk letdown or engorged breasts
    • Mom and baby bonding
    • Reduces stress hormones
    • helps you handle the physical demands of a newborn
    • speed the healing process of hemorrhoids or an episiotomy
    • reduce cellulite
    • ease muscle aches and fatigue
    • reduce swelling in the legs or any other area

Regular massage during the postnatal period is very beneficial to all new moms. Postnatal massage addresses physical discomforts, as well as your emotional state. Body, mind and soul are nurtured and rejuvenated, helping you be the best mom you can be. 

An excellent resource for massage benefits and postnatal massage:

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