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Postnatal care with shiatsu and massage

postnatal care

Introduction from your tutor

Welcome to the course. I hope you enjoying learning with me, Suzanne Yates, founder of Wellmother and author of your course materials and your course book “Pregnancy and childbirth: a holistic approach to massage and body work”.

I hope this course inspires you to work more with postnatal mothers and their babies, even from a day or two after birth. I also hope that you will understand how the postnatal period affects mothers for the rest of their lives: there is not a specific “end” to the postnatal period as such.

I’ve set this course up so it is relevant for anyone who works in a hands on way with postnatal clients. I cover the essentials that any bodyworker needs to know such as the main changes in the body during the first year, positioning, postural assessment, exercise and visualisations, and how to include the baby.

Some of the techniques are more massage based and other more shiatsu based, but I present them in a way that you can choose which approach works with your skill set.

Ideally you need to know something about the pregnancy and birth. I have whole courses on those, but I include here how to support women after different types of birth.

For the theory aspects and even the exercises and visualisations, in some ways an on line course may be better than an in person course. You have time to repeat and review. You can chose the time which suits you best to study.

Regarding the practical techniques: please be aware that these are suggestions only. I feel that an on line course without any face to face teaching can not fully equip you to assimilate the less familiar techniques into your practice. I can offer individual feedback through videos and individual face to face sessions. I also run a 4 day in person version of this course (two versions: one geared for massage therapists and one for shiatsu therapists). In order to fully embrace working with pregnant clients, you will need some individual feedback on the practical aspects.

I hope that by doing this course, however, you will get more out of attending a more practically focused course. It can also be a good way to get you started on your work in the maternity field.

I hope this course inspires you to want to work more with mothers after birth. There is so much support offered these days for pregnancy and birth and much less for after birth. Yet how we navigate the first few months sets patterns for us and our baby for the rest of our lives.

It is an on going study: there is always more to learn. If you are new to the field, and especially if you have not been pregnant yourself, then you are at the beginning of a learning curve. You can use this course to refer back to you as you start working more with postnatal women. I am still learning even after having started studying shiatsu and massage nearly 40 years ago!

First exercise:

Take a moment to reflect on where you are at with your work with postnatal mothers. Is it new to you? Have you already worked for a while but feel there is more you could do? Reflect on what you would like to learn by the end of this course.  Come back to this at the end of the course and compare!

How the course is structured:

The course is set up with 8 lessons. You can chose where you want to start and you can go back and forward between the topics. In each lesson there a mix of topics: videos, audios and text documents. At the end of each lesson is a quiz to check your learning and an assignment, which is either doing and recording some practical work, or a reflective piece. You can work through these lessons and the assignments at your own pace. Once you have completed all the topics and assignments you receive a certificate.

I have given an indication of length of video, audio and an average reading time for the text documents.

Total length of time for the course is XXX hours of course materials, plus whatever time you spend on including any personal exercise practice or working with friends or clients.

Don’t forget you can post comments at the end of each page. You can also email me for clarification. I occasionally offer live sessions to support the course which you can upgrade to.



Supporting material (for all lessons)

Main course book: Pregnancy and childbirth: a holistic approach to massage and body work. The references to further reading are for this book.

There is a link to Amazon to buy this book from Suzanne’s website;

If you live outside the UK and Europe, it may be easier to order it directly from Elsevier’s website


Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr Sarah J Buckley (Celestial Arts 09)

Why Postnatal Recovery Matters by Sophie Messager   (Pinter & Martin 2020)

This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression by  Karen Kleiman Valerie Raskin (Da Capo Lifelong Books 2013)

Breastfeeding and postnatal books

Caroline Deacon NCT Breastfeeding (Thorsons 2002)

RCM Successful Breastfeeding (Churchill Livingston 2001)

Ina May Gaskin Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding (Pinter and Martin 2009)

Kitzinger, Sheila Breastfeeding your baby (Dorling Kindersley 1998 London Revised Edition 168pp.)

Odent, Michel Birth and breastfeeding: rediscovering the needs of women during pregnancy and childbirth (Rudolph Steiner Pr; 2nd edition (September 30, 2008)

Kroeger, Mary Impact on birthing practices on breastfeeding (Jones & Bartlett Publishers; 2 edition 2009)

Australian breastfeeding books

Breastfeeding Naturally, Day, Jill (ed) (Australian Breastfeeding Association. 2004)

The most authoritative, entertaining and accessible guide to breastfeeding ever produced in Australia. ISBN 192100102X

Breastfeeding Confidence, Cox, Sue (Finch Publishing 2004 1st edn., 192pp. )

The Ultimate book of breastfeeding answers Newman, Jack (Three Rivers Press; 2006)

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