Foot Massage for Labor
Throughout pregnancy, women experience many different changes, aches, and discomforts. A most common symptom is tired feet. A lot of pressure is put on the legs and feet as baby gets heavier. Not only does the baby attribute to more weight gain but so does the maternal physiology and metabolism: water, amniotic fluid and blood accretion, uterine and placental growth, and breast and fat mass. This is enough to convince anyone that a woman's feet are substantially underrated and undernourished.
The feet are the foundations of the body. They have reflex points for every organ. Modalities like reflexology can stimulate and balance the body. In the case of pregnancy, the body is going through a lot of changes so a foot massage can be highly beneficial in staying grounded and balanced throughout the process of growing a baby.
Benefits include: Increased blood flow, energy, and rejuvenation, reduced swelling, released tension and an overall happier mama!
The following is a SAFE foot massage that can be used all throughout pregnancy and for labor. It is good practice for the partner to have a supporting role in labor. And for all you single mamas out there, you can do this to yourself sitting in a cross-legged position.
**One caution: there is an acupressure point between the inner *ankle bone and the Achilles tendon, which, when stimulated, may produce labor contractions. This should only be stimulated when a pregnant woman is in labor.**
You may use essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut oil if that is preferred. Be sure to mix the oils together on your hands before massaging the foot. Safe essential oils for pregnant women are: Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Ginger, Geranium, and Bergamot.
Foot Massage for Labor
First, position the foot so that it is supported for the woman's relaxation and for you to work comfortably.
1) Using the palm of both hands, use firm strokes to massage from the toes to the feet, all the way up to the calf, and lighter strokes to massage back down the calf to the feet and toes. Repeat at least 3x up and down.
2) Gently squeeze (not twist) the entire foot with both hands like you're squeezing water out of a sponge at least 5x. Count to 5 between each squeeze for blood flow to return. Just like a sponge when you squeeze out the water, you wait for the water to soak back into the sponge.
3) With your fingers on top of the foot, use your thumb to press into the spot just under the ball of the foot. Hold for about 10 seconds and let it go. Repeat this about 5x in the same way as the sponge technique.
4) Use your thumbs to make small circles on the bottom of the foot.
5) Use your knuckles to massage the instep/arch of the foot.
6) Use your fingertips to make small circles around the ankle bone* and top of the foot.
7) Use your fingertips or thumbs to stroke from the top of the ankle down between each toe.
8) Gently pull or wiggle each toe.
9) Use your thumb and side of your index finger to press down gently on the top of each toe and release, like you would when you click open a retractable pen.
10) Squeeze the top of the foot with both hands at least 3x.
11) Squeeze the bottom of the foot with both hands at least 3x.
12) Make a Hand-Foot sandwich: With your fingers pointing towards the ankle, use both hands to firmly "sandwich" the foot. Hold firmly to a count of five, then lighten the pressure and pull hands away slowly. Repeat at least 3x.
Ladies and Gents, let me know your thoughts and how I can help!
Did you try it?
Ladies, did you love it?
Partners, was your mama happy with your foot work? What can you do to make it more enjoyable?