Why Pregnancy Massage?

Please welcome Lize Williams as a guest blogger for Seed of Life! Lize is a massage therapist specializing in pre and postnatal massage- in the home. She is passionate about helping parents navigate the perinatal period through massage. We are excited to have her blogging with us!

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

Pretty much anyone who has been pregnant has had someone tell them “Ooh, you should get a pregnancy massage!” And sure, massage sounds great, but what does that have to do with pregnancy?

As it turns out, quite a lot. There are a number of reasons to get massage while you are pregnant, some of which are the same as the reasons for getting a massage in general, and some of which are specific to pregnancy. Here are some benefits specific to pregnancy massage:

  1. Massage reduces strain on muscles. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of pregnancy massage is that it makes your sore muscles feel better. Pregnancy increases muscle soreness in several ways: you are carrying more weight, your joints aren’t carrying their full load due to loosened ligaments so the muscles have to pick up the slack, and your posture changes as your center of gravity shifts. All of this leads to increased strain on your muscles, which get fatigued faster, and can be more prone to injury.
  2. Massage can lower anxiety and stress hormones, resulting in a decrease in premature delivery and birth complications. This may seem like a wild claim, but Dr. Tiffany Field did a study at the Touch Research Institute on the effects of massage on pregnant women, and women who received regular massage during their pregnancy had improved deliveries!
  3. Massage can improve emotional well-being. Along with the reduction of stress hormones, massage can decrease depression and anxiety, and increase production of feel-good hormone serotonin. Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but it is also a time of change, and change is stressful. Even in the best of circumstances pregnancy can bring some challenging emotions, and massage can help balance those through hormonal effects and calming the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system.massage-486700_1920
  4. Massage can improve blood and lymph flow. Improving lymphatic flow can decrease swelling, which is a common pregnancy complaint especially in the feet, ankles, and legs. Improvements in blood circulation can benefit blood pressure and relieve headaches.
  5. Massage improves posture. By relieving tension in various muscles, it can be easier to realign into good posture. Massage therapists can also help your posture by teaching you what good posture looks and feels like for your changing body. Proper alignment can help reduce frequent pregnancy-related complaints, such as low back pain, shoulder pain, sciatica and headaches.
  6. Massage can improve sleep. By decreasing stress and physical discomfort, massage can help mothers-to-be sleep better. Massage therapists can also give advice on how to properly position pillows to be adequately supportive and relieve stress on your body when you lie down.
  7. Massage can help mothers prepare for labor. By learning how to relax, and practicing relaxing as a response to touch, pregnant women can have easier labor thanks to their experiences with massage during pregnancy. Associating touch and relaxation ahead of time can help a birth partner’s touch be more effective during labor.
  8. baby-499976_1920Massage during pregnancy may increase how much loving touch mothers provide their infants. Touch is hugely important for human development. Even with all our other physical needs met, without touch, babies fail to thrive. Women who receive compassionate touch (such as through massage) during their pregnancy and labor go on to touch their infants more, in a more nurturing way. This creates more security and attachment for the baby, versus babies who are touched less and can be more aggressive and withdrawn.
  9. Massage can support lactation. Positive touch stimulates production of the hormone prolactin, which has multiple effects on the body, including increasing milk supply and nesting and nurturing instincts.
  10. Massage can help you enjoy your changing body. In a culture obsessed with women’s bodies, the weight gain and changes in shape associated with pregnancy can be hard on our self-esteem. We may avoid being touched or looked at by even our intimate partners. In addition to reducing pregnancy pains, massage can also help you reconnect to your body in a positive, non-threatening way, experiencing touch without the worry of attractiveness. Your body is doing a wonderful thing, but more than that, it IS a wonderful thing, and sometimes we just need a little extra reminder of that through an enjoyable physical experience.

[1] Nurturing Massage for Pregnancy by Leslie Stager


Finished 1.JPGLize Williams is a Licensed Massage Therapist whose work focuses on the strains of bearing and raising children. After having her own daughter she realized just how hard engaging in self-care can be for new mothers, so she founded Motherhood Massage, a house-call based massage practice designed to reduce the barriers to self-care for mothers, mothers-to-be, and other caregivers. She recognizes that amongst all the joy, motherhood can also be challenging and isolating, and works to help her clients feel more connected to themselves, their families, and their world through the healing power of touch. Her work combines treatment and relaxation, to help soothe and strengthen her clients’ bodies and minds. The perinatal period is rife with changes and challenges, and Lize views her work as a wholistic support for her clients, helping them with face whatever the journey into parenthood is throwing their way. She is a certified MotherTouch Bodywork Professional and has studied under Leslie Stager.

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www.motherhoodmassageseattle.com https://www.facebook.com/motherhoodmassageseattle/

Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions- Guest Blogger Brandi Crockett

In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, we would like to welcome Brandi Crockett, IBCLC to answer some common questions regarding breastfeeding, lactation, and the role of an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Read what she has to say below!

August Is National Breastfeeding Month!

You may be wondering why on earth there would be such a thing as National Breastfeeding Month. This month highlights the many benefits of breastfeeding. Sometimes people feel as if birth professionals, shove breastfeeding down their throats. (We really don’t mean for it be a forceful thing.) There are still many individuals that don’t know about the benefits of breastfeeding.

What’s an IBCLC?

That is where I, as well as National Breastfeeding Month, comes in. I am an IBCLC. That stands for Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I hold the highest position within the lactation world. No, I am not a nurse and I do not work in a hospital. I work in private practice, and I love being able to see moms in their homes and giving them 100% of my attention and giving them the care that they deserve.

There are quite a few individuals that don’t even know that my profession even exists! This saddens me because I wish that all new moms received a home visit from an IBCLC. I think that we would see more successful breastfeeding and empowered moms because they would be given the knowledge they need in order to make the best decisions regarding breastfeeding.

But I digress.

Frequently Asked Questions

The whole point of this is to help empower you by answering some of the questions that I get most often as an IBCLC.

Why would a new mom call an IBCLC? Or when is a good time to call? Can’t a nurse do that?

I get this question all the time. Any time a mom feels that breastfeeding is not going well is when she should call an IBCLC, and please call as soon as you get that feeling. Please do not wait till your supply has tanked and baby isn’t latching.

There are times when I have had a mom connect with me prenatally, either by phone or consult, and we have a plan of action once baby arrives. Not every mom needs to do that, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Why can’t a nurse or your pediatrician or OB/GYN help you with breastfeeding?

The basic answer is that because it’s not their specialty! Your nurse is there to help you with delivering your baby and your OB/GYN help with your pregnancy and also with the delivery of your baby. A postpartum nurse generally has a few tricks up her sleeve to help with breastfeeding, but again, she’s only there to help you recover from having your baby. So do me a favor, and call an IBCLC.

What About Bottles and Pacifiers?

Neither the bottle nor the pacifier in innately bad, it’s all about how you use them and which ones, and sometimes when you introduce them.

I always recommend a Dr. Brown’s bottle, usually with a premie nipple, but sometimes a size 1 (0-3m), but depends on the age of baby.A Dr. Brown’s bottle is a great shape that encourages babies to breastfeed well, and sometimes better. A baby has to curl their tongue around the nipple and hold it in their mouth in similar way that they would a nipple to breastfeed. I will often use this bottle to help strengthen a babies suck if they have had some oral struggles such as a tongue tie.


As for a pacifier, I would recommend a Soothie by Avent. The shape is similar to a Dr. Brown’s and in turn can help with suck training and strengthening. So how do we use a pacifier the right way? A nickname for a pacifier is a plug, and that is because parents will often give the baby a pacifier in order to get them to stop, or “plug” them up. Now the better way to use a pacifier is basically as last resort. Go thru the checklist; is baby hungry? Do they need to be changed? Burped? Cold? Hot? Anything pinching? If you’ve done everything then offer the pacifier. Sometimes babies will have a high suck need that a pacifier can help with- especially if mom doesn’t want to be the pacifier.

If all is going well with breastfeeding then a good time to introduce a bottle and a pacifier is by about 3 weeks of age. You can, by all means, introduce them earlier, but we generally try to wait until breastfeeding is more established before introducing anything extra. Now, I have certainly advised parents to introduce them earlier due to certain circumstances, but it’s always a case by case basis.

There are tons of different types of bottles out there, as well as lots of different types of pacifiers. The only time that I would say use whatever you’d like, is if breastfeeding is going extremely well. A lot of the pacifiers and bottles out there teach the baby to smash the nipple between their tongue and the roof of their mouth, which can then translate into smashing mom’s nipple while breastfeeding. That hurts! And is not doable long term. But again, it’s definitely a case by case basis.

How Long Should a Mom Breastfeed?little-girl-107421_1920

Now this is a loaded question! It really depends on the family dynamic. Some dryads (or triads) practice extended nursing (nursing beyond 2 years of age). And this works for them because breastfeeding is a relationship. It’s ever changing- and breastmilk is ever changing. Mom’s body knows exactly what that baby needs at that moment for how old that baby or toddler is.

baby-17327_1920Breastfeeding beyond a year may not work for everyone and that’s okay! Any breastmilk is better than no breastmilk. Again, breastfeeding is a relationship and it needs to work for all parties involved. Maybe the baby is ready to wean or mom needs/wants to wean, there are plenty of ways to go about this gently that works for everyone in order to make sure that everyone’s needs are met. Cold turkey weaning is hard on everyone, so I would not recommend it if you don’t have to. An IBCLC can help you figure out a way to wean your baby or even discuss your options for continuing to breastfeed past a year. An IBCLC is there to help with all aspects of breastfeeding.

Overall, breastfeeding is awesome! And I am so proud to be an IBCLC. I am glad that there is a National Breastfeeding Month so that we can bring this fantastic topic to the forefront. Lastly, when in doubt, remain calm and call an IBCLC!

Mountain Mama Lactation LogoBrandi Crockett, IBCLC lives in Granite Falls, WA with her husband of 14 years and 6 crazy, fully breastfed kids (including a set of twins). She loves her job and also enjoys running ragged playing soccer mom and scout mom as well as running 10k’s with her hubby.

Chiropractic Helps Low Back Pain in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting and amazing experiences in a woman’s life. During pregnancy, her body changes and blossoms as it accommodates the tiny human that is being built. This process is beautiful. Somewhat uncomfortable, but beautiful. Most women, however, don’t know that chiropractic care can greatly improve some of the aches and pains commonly associated with pregnancy.


As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I have taken advanced training in the analysis and treatment of pregnant women. It is one of the greatest honors afforded me by my patients- the trust that I will take care of them and their growing family. The tremendous changes that a woman’s body undergoes while pregnant (and in the months directly following birth- have you ever tried to carry a car seat!?) cause altered biomechanics and stress that can result in headaches, low back pain, lack of mid back mobility with a feeling of shortness  of breath, pain into the leg(s), etc. Using the Webster technique, as well as modifying other techniques including Sacro-Occipital Technique, Applied Kinesiology, and Diversified, I apply gentle corrections to the spine and soft tissues. Women with malpositioned babies often seek chiropractic care to help balance their bodies as well- for more information on this check out my prenatal page.

Today, I came across a research article with full text available here, that outlines a study performed on pregnant women with low back pain during pregnancy. To summarize, below are the Results and Conclusions part of the abstract:


52% of 115 recruited patients ‘improved’ at 1 week, 70% at 1 month, 85% at 3 months, 90% at 6 months and 88% at 1 year. There were significant reductions in NRS and Oswestry scores (p < 0.0005). Category of previous LBP episodes number at one year (p = 0.02) was related to ,improvement’ when analyzed alone, but was not strongly predictive in logistic regression. Patients with more prior LBP episodes had higher 1 year NRS scores (p = 0.013).


Most pregnant patients undergoing chiropractic treatment reported clinically relevant improvement at all time points. No single variable was strongly predictive of, improvement’ in the logistic regression model.

What fantastic results! Chiropractic care provides statistically significant results in the treatment of low back pain in pregnant women- including at the 1 year mark!

If you are interested in learning more about prenatal chiropractic and/or having your questions answered, please feel free to reach out to me for a consultation or referral to a provider close to you!

Helping to keep Mommas healthy is a passion of mine that I bring to Seed of Life. Stay tuned for future posts about chiropractic care and overall health…