The other day, I posted a plea to our mamas’ partners to massage them at home. Research shows it is good for mama, baby, partner AND their relationship. That all makes sense.
But please note: Sometimes our mamas want their massage to be a little more strategic than just a gentle shoulder rub. Their low back is throbbing, sciatic is acting up and her hips are killing her. What to do? “Butt massage”, my friend.
Butt massage? Well, yes. But in our industry, we call this area “the hip.” All those gluteal muscles and the deeper hip muscles are working hard during pregnancy to hold and stabilize that growing, changing body.
A lot of our moms would be up-in-arms (or just never coming back) if their prenatal massage sessions didn’t include some thorough work on their hips and sacral-area. And, many moms are surprised at how helpful massage in the hip area is…in fact, many of our mamas claim to “discover” these muscles during pregnancy.
Partners, do not be afraid of or forget to give some good hip massage to your pregnant mama!
1) Have Mama lying on her side (put some pillows between her knees, under her belly, etc.)
2) Using SOFT hands, start SLOWLY leaning into her butt muscles. We teach a technique called, “kitty cat paws” — trying to elicit the visual of a cat pawing a pillow to make a softer resting place.
3) Remember, if she is really tight or sore, SLOWER is better. You can even try to HOLD a compression. Find a spot (ask Mama, she might have a good idea of where to start) and just slowly start applying pressure. You caught the “slow” part, right? Try to hold static in the same place for a good 30 to 60 seconds.
4) Work her entire hip area — from her sacrum (blue line) all the way to the top of her leg.
5) You can also massage these hip muscles with mama in a seated position. Have Mama seated on a stool, or straddling a kitchen chair, leaning forward against a table or something so she is supported. You now have both sides of her bottom exposed at once and you can work it all!!
Another tip: If your well-loved pregnant mama is experiencing a lot of hip/butt/pelvic/low back pain — particularly if her caregiver dismisses it as normal — encourage her to “build a better butt” as biomechanist Katy Bowman says. Katy argues convincingly that most of this pelvic pain can be abated and prevented by developing strong hip and butt muscles before pregnancy and as the pregnancy progresses. Katy argues that the essential exercise to work on is proper squatting. Check out her blog posts on this subject:
Katy argues that our very sedentary lives (even those of us who exercise) — all that sitting in particular — prevent us from building the strength we need to keep our hips and pelvis healthy and balanced (and pain free) throughout pregnancy. And, well, let’s not forget that squatting practice is awesome for birth preparation!!