BELOW ARE THE WORDS OF:
Leslie Stager RN, LMT
Nurse, Body Worker and Childbirth Educator
During the early 90’s when I worked as a labor & delivery nurse, I watched women waddling down the hospital hallways holding their aching backs and bellies and complaining of round ligament pain and sacral pain. I was in massage school at the time, and quickly understood that these pregnant women would be my optimum massage clientele. The women coming for prenatal tests or hoping they were in labor desperately needed nurturing touch, yet there were few options for them to actually receive it professionally in those days. The prevailing belief then was that massage might be dangerous during pregnancy. How far from the truth that was! The benefits of nurturing touch– from a brief touch on a shoulder, to sessions of Shiatsu or Swedish massage–are far-reaching and absolutely essential for the health and vitality of Mother, baby in utero and for both after birth. Research has shown that even the pregnant woman’s companions themselves gain benefits by offering nurturing massage to the pregnant mom!
But in 1992, there were no books, few classes, and altogether very little information available about massage during pregnancy. A few of us around the world were gathering information though. As a nurse, doula, and childbirth educator, I understood the physiological, hormonal, and emotional layers impacting every pregnant mom. As a massage therapist, I learned more about the structural and muscular issues, and was excited to see how the work supported women and alleviated so many discomforts. I was one of only two pregnancy massage therapists in Portland, Oregon. I imagine Suzanne (Suzanne Yates - Well Mother U.K.) may have been fairly alone in the work then too over in England. In those days, we had to convince obstetricians that massage would be useful for their patients. Their response was often: “Why would massage help? They are pregnant. Of course they are uncomfortable. What do you expect!?!”
Suzanne Yates BA(Hons), PGCE(PCET), MRSS(T), DipHSEC, DipAPNT, CNHC registered, AOBTA®(Honorary)
Body-worker and Birth Educator,