By incorporating massage therapy into the scope of a doulas job, she is able to give the mother comfort measures and pain relief during her prenatal, labor, and postnatal periods
What Does a Massage Doula do?
The role of a massage doula is to use massage and other comfort techniques as physical support for the mother during her pregnancy, labor, and immediate postpartum periods. They use the power of massage therapy to promote relaxation and stress relief, ease gas and digestive discomforts, increase circulation to various parts of the body, and help with getting a more restful sleep.
Massage doulas also perform the job of a doula in providing emotional support and evidence-based information to the mother. This, in turn, will empower the mother to make informed decisions on her pregnancy, labor, and birth. Combining the physical support of a massage therapist with the emotional support of a doula will give the mother a more positive and memorable birth experience that she will remember for the rest of her life.
Benefits of a Massage Doula
There are many reasons why massages given by massage doulas are beneficial to an expectant mother. They release emotional stress caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality. These types of physical support are healthy not only for the mother, but also for the infant.
Massage doulas also provide information such as positions used during labor that will decrease discomfort as well as breathing exercises designed to relieve stress and pain. They also prepare the mother mentally by going over the stages of labor. During the postpartum period, massage doulas alleviate abdominal and back muscle pain caused by the pregnancy or labor. They also provide valuable information for successful breastfeeding and proper newborn care.
What is a Certified Massage Doula?
A message therapist who has been given advanced training as a doula can receive a certification as a massage doula. The certification is different than then ones awarded by a birth or postpartum doula professional organization such DONA International. It will be specific for massage doulas and will add credibility and experience to your resume, so it is definitely beneficial to get certified.
Becoming a Certified Massage Doula
In order to become a certified massage doula, a massage therapist must get advanced training as a doula. Typically, the requirements to get certified are as follows:
- Read massage doula training literature
- Take a prenatal massage techniques course
- Attend a massage birth assistant workshop
- Attend 3 births and document them
- Attend a childbirth education and/or postpartum class
The requirements and costs for the certification differ from program to program, but typically, it takes an average of 3 months to complete all the requirements. The average fee is $500.