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Pregnancy and childbirth: book for therapists by  Suzanne Yates

400 pages approx

Published by Churchill Livingstone

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Pregnancy and childbirth: an holistic approach to massage and bodywork brings together, for the first time, western and eastern approaches providing a sound amalgamation of theoretical and practical information for bodywork practitioners world-wide.  It describes in detail the application of massage and shiatsu from early pregnancy, including work during labour and for the first year postnatally for the mother.

For students and practitioners to use as a learning manual and reference tool, the text provides:

  • Clarity of information
  • Full text referencing
  • Clear diagrams, photographs, and summary boxes

Clinical accuracy: reviewed by, and with contributions from, international specialists including midwives, obstetricians, osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, aromatherapists and massage therapists.


  • Anatomy and physiology and their implications for bodywork
  • Detailed eastern theory including changes in the meridians and the extraordinary vessels and energy presentations
  • Assessment realities and modifications including orthopaedic testing
  • Discussion of issues for each area of the body including descriptions of bodywork techniques with energy-based approaches
  • Testimonials illustrating aspects of work
  • Discussion of after-care including exercise strategies
  • Discussion of professional issues including an exploration of the role of the therapist within the broader medical community
  • Information on working with the higher-risk pregnant client and the effects of medical procedures in labour on work in labour and in the postnatal period.

This is a useful source of information for massage therapists, shiatsu practitioners, osteopaths, physical therapists, chiropractors, reflexologists, aromatherapists, acupuncturists, yoga and Pilates instructors.

General description of the book:

The book presents comprehensive information about maternity bodywork from pre-conception through to one year postnatally. It will bring together for the first time, eastern and western approaches, providing a sound amalgamation of theory and practical information aimed at bodywork practitioners world-wide. It will include information on working with population groups who are often marginalized, such as higher risk pregnant women or women who have undergone surgical procedures.

Clarity of information and a sound professional presentation, including full text referencing, will enable the reader to use this text as a learning manual and reference tool as well as a source of inspiration. There will be chapters on anatomy and physiology, components of assessment and orthopaedic testing, bodywork techniques including energy-based approaches, clinical applications with case presentations, self-care and exercise strategies, and discussion of professional issues including an exploration of the role of the therapist within the broader medical community. It will contain clear diagrams, photographs, and summary boxes.

Relevant comments from the most highly regarded specialists in their fields internationally (such as midwives, obstetricians, osteopaths, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and clinical nurse specialists) will serve to increase the scope of information given, provide a lively interchange of understanding, and broaden the current knowledge base far beyond the level of existing publications.

The book is divided into three sections: 1:Theory 2: Practical Work, 3: Professional Issues. The first two sections are the main sections and are divided into 3 sub-sections: pregnancy, birth, postpartum care for mother. These subsections are subdivided into chapters appropriate to the topic. For example in the Practical section, the pregnancy sub-section includes information on each trimester, the labour sub-section includes information on different stages of the birthing process, and the post-partum will explore techniques related to immediate postnatal care through to longer term patterns. At the end of each section/chapter a summary of key points are included as well as a reflective exercise to underscore the readers’ understanding. Case studies and dialogue panels are interwoven at relevant points through the text.

Foreword by Michele Kolakowski and Penny Bussell Stansfield

In 2006, we collaborated with teachers across the United States to create a comprehensive curriculum in pregnancy, labor, postpartum massage and bodywork. At the time, it was challenging to find one reference book that provided everything we needed-rich multicultural perspectives on the most common of miracles; the requisite depth and detail on the complex maternal transformations and the accompanying embryological/fetal development; possible deviations from healthy changes with complications, high risk conditions and unexpected outcomes; a treasure trove of massage therapy and bodywork techniques; professional issues to prepare practitioners to work effectively in a variety of venues; and most importantly, the wisdom of holistic care for childbearing women. Suzanne Yates has achieved this and taken massage and bodywork to a new level with her new book, “ Pregnancy and Childbirth – A Holistic Approach to Massage and Bodywork. ”

Readers will benefit from an impressive compilation of Suzanne’s twenty years of study and experience, plus additional contributions from maternity care specialists around the world. Suzanne brilliantly combines Eastern and Western theories and techniques in one book that offers maternity care specialists an unsurpassed spectrum of treatment options to meet each woman’s unique needs throughout her pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum time.

“Pregnancy and Childbirth – A Holistic Approach to Massage and Bodywork ” has the essential information that massage therapists, bodyworkers and other maternity care providers need to inform, guide and expand their practices. Experienced maternity care veterans will also benefit from the profound depth and detail that makes this book an indispensable reference guide.

In Section 1, Suzanne thoroughly details both Eastern and Western theories of the fascinating maternal changes as well as embryological/fetal development. This provides a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding for the reader to build upon. Section 2 contains a thorough overview of the practical application of massage therapy and bodywork with case studies, open dialogues on controversial topics such as leg and abdominal massage, guidelines for working with higher risk maternity clients, personal patient stories and insightful professional issues. We are thrilled to see breast massage, perineum care and scar tissue recovery included, as they are also important aspects of holistic maternity care. Readers will further benefit from each chapter’s reflective questions, summary of implications, excellent references and further recommended reading to engage their critical thinking skills and further their studies.

“Pregnancy and Childbirth – A Holistic Approach to Massage and Bodywork” is certainly one of the “bibles” for maternity care specialists, and we are delighted to have it as an essential book in our professional libraries, at the hospitals and clinics where we work and in the maternity massage classroom. Thank you Suzanne for elevating maternity massage and bodywork to a higher level. It brings us great joy to think of all the maternity care providers, the women and babies around the world who will benefit from the caring, skilled touch so beautifully shared in this exquisite book!

Michele Kolakowski and Penny Bussell Stansfield

Michele Kolakowski BA RMT CD(DONA)CIMI

Registered Massage Therapist, Certified Birth Doula (DONA), Certified Infant Massage Instructor

Supervisor, Health Center of Integrated Therapies, Longmont United Hospital

Co-Developer Faculty, Cortiva Institute Maternity and Infant Massage Program
Colorado, USA

Penny Bussell Stansfield BA (Hons) LMT CD(DONA) CCE

Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Birth Doula and Doula Trainer (DONA), Certified Childbirth Educator

Co-Developer Faculty, Cortiva Institute Maternity and Infant Massage Program

New Jersey, USA

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