Labor induction should be avoided prior to 37 weeks to ensure the baby is fully developed. A woman considering an induction massage should get her doctor or midwife’s approval and then seek out a licensed massage therapist with additional training from an accredited program such as MotherMassage. Prenatal massage is a highly specialized form of massage, and while many bodyworkers include it on their list of services, not all have the necessary prerequisites, according to Mothering magazine.
According to Midwifery Today, women who receive prenatal massage report less painful and shorter labors. Other benefits include decreased anxiety, lower levels of stress hormones and higher levels of endorphins.
Spleen-6 is a popular point for labor induction via acupuncture or acupressure, and the same point may also be used in a labor-induction massage. Located about four finger widths above the inside of the ankle, spleen-6 encourages contractions, stimulates the uterus and stops pain, according to Debra Betts, author of "The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Childbirth and Pregnancy." Betts also reports that women often report sensations of their cervix stretching and their uterus contracting when this point is rubbed. A massage therapist will likely focus on this point with medium intensity throughout a 60 or 90-minute massage. It is safe for a pregnant woman to stimulate the point herself throughout the day.
Located in the middle of the web of skin between the thumb and index finger, Intestine-4 encourages contractions and stops pain. Betts says that women often report a dull, achy feeling when this point is stimulated. Again, a massage therapist will focus on this point with medium intensity throughout a 60 or 90-minute massage and can teach a pregnant woman how to rub the point on her own.
While clary sage, fennel, jasmine and juniper essential oils are to be avoided during pregnancy for their contraction-stimulating properties, a massage therapist may use them during a labor-induction massage. Two or three drops of the essential oil should be blended with a neutral carrier oil such as sweet almond or olive to minimize skin irritation. A few drops of the essential oil placed in a diffuser allows the mother further benefits of aromatherapy during her massage.