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It is always good to hear from people who have trained with me about how they are using their skills.  Sue Boughton is a massage practitioner in London who has completed Well Mother pregnancy, birth and postnatal training and works as a massage therapists and birth & postnatal doula.

“A massage client of mine, pregnant with her second baby, contacted me to book a massage and asked me for some support with her current situation. She had been experiencing occasional contractions from 30 weeks and now at 35 weeks, her contractions were becoming more frequent. K had gone into labour with her first baby at 35/36 weeks and given birth in only 2.5 hours. It had been a natural labour with no complications and her baby weighed 7lbs 3oz. This pregnancy she had been checked out on a couple of occasions by her maternity hospital, as she had thought she was going into labour. Her baby was monitored and all was well. By 35/36 wks K was 4 cms dilated, her waters hadn’t broken and she was having intermittent contractions. Her doctor wanted her to stay on the antenatal ward, as he was worried that she might go into labour and give birth very quickly to a pre term baby without being able to make it to the hospital. K was feeling quite distressed about having to stay on the ward when she wanted to be at home with her husband and son. We chatted about what was happening and how she was feeling and I gave K a relaxing/balancing massage treatment including some shiatsu to encourage her body to hold onto her baby for a bit longer.

The next day K and her husband spoke with their consultant and they agreed that K would stay on the ward until she was 37 weeks but then to go home. K didn’t really feel she would go into labour while she was on her own in the hospital because she felt she needed to be at home with her family to be relaxed enough to go into labour. However the consultant had made her feel so anxious that she agreed to stay till she was 37 weeks. Her consultant was keen for her to have her waters broken and be induced as he felt that as she was 4 cm dilated her waters could break easily and she might give birth quickly or they could become thin and fragile, increasing the risk of infection. K declined as she felt that as she was in the hospital then giving birth quickly would not be a problem. She also felt that as her membranes were still intact there was very little risk of infection.

I went to the hospital the following week to give K another massage. She was experiencing a lot of contractions, mainly at night but they would come and go and always calmed down in the morning. K was getting tired and beginning to struggle in coping with the contractions. We discussed how to make her more comfortable. We asked her husband to bring in some cushions and more pillows so she could rest by kneeling on the bed, leaning over a pile of cushions. I also encouraged her to rest/sleep as much as possible in between bouts of contractions. During the massage I encouraged K to tune into her body and trust her instincts. She realised that she did need to insist on going home when she was 37 weeks. She also became calm enough to cope with the intermittent contractions and patient enough to wait to go into labour naturally. _DSC1907 In the end K went home at 37 weeks, and was at home for 5 days until she went into labour. She was 37 plus 5 days when her waters broke at 7.30am. She managed to get to the hospital’s birth centre and just made it into the birth pool in time to give birth at 9.15am! She said that she had the loveliest midwife and a truly amazing birth experience, she told me “…. I was so glad that I stuck to my instincts and wasn’t pushed into something that felt wrong”. Of course it is important to listen to what the consultants are advising and why, but it is also important that women can learn to tune into what they feel is going on as well. I wish more women could trust their instincts and their bodies, and I feel that massage is a powerful tool to help them to do this so that they are able to make informed decisions about their pregnancies and their births.”

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