What is a Labor Induction Massage Session?
I teach you Labor Induction as a segment of the Pregnancy Massage Training. It’s a session where one possibly naturally induces the first stage of labor for a pregnant client though different modalities. I say possibly because such efforts have not been proven by science. When you incorporate induction you will use mainly acupressure points for ripening cervix and stimulate uterine contractions.
The Mind Body Connection
Weave somatic work into the induction. Harnessing the mind-body connection with a sweet meditation, inviting baby into the world is a powerful piece of a progressing labor. You can do this before you begin any manual therapy. The Labor Induction Session is a great add-on to your list of offerings as it helps your client and grows your portfolio of offerings as well as increases your business.
What is Considered Late Term Pregnancy?
Late term pregnancy is relative to the pregnant patient’s condition and why only their prenatal care provider can diagnose it. In general, a pregnancy that lasts 41 weeks up to 42 weeks is called “late term.” A pregnancy that lasts longer than 42 weeks is called “post term.” However, if a pregnant client is of a certain age or has complications they could be considered post term before that. Like I said it is relative and never for us massage therapists to diagnose.
Will my pregnant client go into labor on my table?
I highly doubt it. If so, it will not be from the induction session. I have been doing this since 2009 and sadly have not had anyone even break water when stepping of my table. I would be honored if they did!
Is Labor Induction Hit or Miss?
Does induction work every time? No actually. Sometimes there is nothing one can do to encourage the body to go into labor. I would say I have about a 70% success rate to my possible inductions which I think is awesome! This is just an honest guesstimate, as I have never tracked my induction data. Studies on the effectiveness of acupressure to induce labor are mixed, and there is no guarantee that the labor will progress as intended but I have only heard positive feedback on the session -whether the induction was successful or not.
Is it worth a try?
Absolutely! There are a number of reasons why a natural induction is worthy of your efforts. Mainly, to keep your client out of the hospital for as long as possible.
Support your client’s birth plan
I have been doing this long enough (since 2009) to tell you first hand that though hospitals can be procedure and agenda oriented, hospital births are not always worse than home births. I never judge a client for choosing either or ending up having their baby in either location. Your place as a massage therapist is to support them, not judge. I have witnessed my clients have wonderful hospital births and horrible ones and the same goes for home births. The thing to understand in regards to induction is that midwives at home births might pull from a wider range[mfn]https://www.southshorehealth.org/wellness/blog/when-your-labor-needs-be-induced[/mfn] of safe methods to induce a birth then a hospital.
Artificial induction with synthetic hormones can result in complications and even some of the out of hospital induction methods can be more intense then your client wants to experience. This is why a natural induction session with a massage therapist is so desirable and why you could be of great benefit to your late term client.
What is the difference between a massage induction and artificial induction?
Artificial induction requires application of a tampon-like vaginal insert with synthetic hormones or intro-venous synthetic hormones to induce. These synthetic medicines have possible side effects that risk the patient and babys’ well being. In contrast, a massage induction uses rhythmically applied acupressure in a repeated sequence to induce with no known side effects except possible light bruising from using a wooden tool for holding points.
When would I induce?
The only time a massage therapist would induce is by request when their client has been given approval from their prenatal care provider. This will need to come from their doctor or midwife.
Once admitted to hospital the chance of intervention increases
When it comes to delivering babies, doctors can be pretty strict about the perimeters on which they agree to work with their prenatal patients. A client called in a panic and told me she desperately needed an induction session. She was 9 days late term and was not going to be able to have the birth she intended. This had something to do with her doctor-patient agreements. It is common advise to try and stay out of the hospital for as long as possible before baby comes because once one is admitted the chance of intervention is real and risk of cesarean section becomes higher. At the same time, it can be dangerous to wait too long.
I described my natural induction session and my client got the green light from her doctor to see me that day.
My labor support classes for massage therapists and birth teams have grown popular in my little town. My induction session has changed throughout the years. This year I feel like I’ve really landed it so I love sharing the know-how.
I trust that if baby is ready baby will follow the thread of invitation we create in a session. That particular induction session was productive! My client was not dilating and texted me the next day at an 8! Within 36 hours she was in labor! She had a beautiful healthy baby quite possibly with a little help from my hands.
Knowing labor stimulation steps has been one of my greatest pleasures. It’s possibly helped some clients from having to get scheduled hospital inductions, C-sections and have helped make a less stressful experience for the babies. Of course, it is not a replacement for medical care but is a great means of additional support!
I use a visualization meditation to help the client let go of any to-do list or concerns about past/future and arrive to the moment and feel safely present in their body. I describe the date, time, season, the sky, breeze, colors, trees – the details of the day – and I gently coo this all to the baby as I massage the belly and let baby know that if they choose to come today, they’ve chosen a perfect day and we are ready to receive them!
Acupressure points ripen cervix and increase uterine contractions.
In my book, The Dynamic Guide To Pregnancy Massage, I provide you with instructions and a map of the points. I use rhythmic, timed acupressure points watching the small hand on my watch. My intuition tells me that rhythm and precise timing is key. Working bilaterally, I start at the shoulders stimulating gastric motility first and then end around the ankles on points that help ripen the cervix and stimulate labor. then we move to side lying so I am able to get a few more points on the sacrum and also give compression to the iliac crest.
Make it Delicious
This session is very different from a massage because it is holding one point after the next in a rhythmic sequence. To make it also a wonderfully calming experience, I weave relaxing, delicious effleurage massage into the session once I am finished with the points. Calming the nervous system is such a big piece of encouraging the body to go into labor.
After a 90 min session (About an hour of meditation and points and 30 mins of effleurage) it usually takes a few hours to experience labor contractions. I send my clients home with homework to have their birth team help by continuing to press on a couple powerful points.
Over the next few hours (or days) cervical dilation and softening along with uterine contractions quite possibly occur. For those assisting at the birth, these same points help progress birth.
My labor support class is coming up April 24. It is a 4 CEU class and will equip you with induction and labor support skills that will enrich your practice. You are welcome to take it on its own or join us my entire pregnancy massage training
Are you a believer in natural labor induction? If so, think about adding it to your practice!
Peace and thanks for staying tuned in!