Comfort in Labour: 4 Ways to Nourish Mama

As you prepare for birth, take some time to think about what comfort in labour might look for you.

How will you meet the demands of labour, no matter how long it takes? What essentials will  you bring to the birth to keep up your energy and cope with contractions? How will you remain supported, focused and encouraged?  So many questions.

There is so much to think about, especially if it’s your first baby.  It’s exciting and overwhelming and nerve wracking all at the same time. 

There’s more to giving birth than packing a hospital bag and writing out a birth plan. Part of your preparation for birth should focus on one simple theme: nourishing mama during labour. 

When we think of nourishment what immediately comes to mind is food. But humans are complex beings and we need more than just food for our bodies. We rely on many things for our mental sustenance and emotional wellbeing. 

Here we have included 4 simple options to provide comfort in labour for mama: water, food, support and sensory. You can pick and choose the options that will work best for you and include these ideas for your baby’s birth.

#1: Water as comfort in labour

The source of life, the essential building block of life. Human bodies consist of up to 60% water so it’s no wonder we find it a source of nourishment.

During labour, your body works hard and uses up a lot of energy. It’s important to keep hydrated, to support your body’s efforts to give birth. 

Drink small amounts of water often. Sucking or chewing ice cubes prevents taking in too much too quickly, which can cause nausea or vomiting. Using straws to drink liquids is preferable.

Water can be used in the form of hot and cold packs to ease pain and discomfort. Cool face washers or a spray bottle with a fine mist can be refreshing.

Water also offers comfort in labour in the form of the bath or shower. This can make you feel refreshed, cleansed, warm or cool. Taking a bath or having a shower can be relaxing and a form of pain relief, easing tension and backache during labour. Birthing in water is a popular option for some women.

#2: Food as comfort in labour

Lindy Cook, Naturopath at Nurtured Birth, offers the following advice when it comes to the food we should eat during labour for the best nourishment.

“Your best bet is to make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand that are super hydrating, highly nutritious, high in protein and easy to digest. As with the rest of your pregnancy, it’s best to stick with healthy foods that will provide your body with the energy and nutrients needed while giving birth to your baby.”

Research shows restricting nutrition and fluids during labour can make them more painful and last longer. If you are having a c-section you will be given specific guidelines on food and fluid intake. 

In early labour, have regular snacks so you’re building your energy reserves. Eat foods that are easy to digest and give you a more consistent release of energy. Lindy suggests the following options for your labour:

  • Granola bars, protein balls, dried fruit and nut mix
  • Wholegrain toast or crackers with nut butter or avocado
  • Low fat yoghurt, add berries for sweetness
  • Apples or bananas, frozen grapes or berries
  • Smoothies – fruit or vegetable or green with added protein powder
  • Quinoa and avocado, or brown rice and an organic egg
  • Mini frittata with spinach, carrot and goats cheese
  • Drinks – coconut water, raspberry leaf tea, diluted cloudy apple juice, homemade labour aid. Sometimes other drinks are managed better than water. Avoid drinks high in sugar or caffeine
  • Clear soup such as bone broth or miso soup
  • If feeling like a sweet hit – spoonful of honey or piece of dark chocolate
  • Avoid fatty, rich or spicy foods, & strong smelling foods – this includes your support person too.

#3: Support in labour

Comfort in labour can come in the form of support, which might be emotional and physical. Who you have to support you during labour can impact your birth experience, either in a positive or negative sense. Studies show that women with good support have shorter, less painful labours, with less medical intervention. 

Think carefully about who could offer you the support you need to feel comfort in labour. There will be moments you will feel very vulnerable, afraid, or even lost. You may need someone to ask questions, draw out information and make sure your wishes are being heard and honoured.

Choose someone who nourishes you in your daily life. Your partner, your children, your mum, your sister, a friend. You could also choose an independent midwife or doula to guide you through the experience of childbirth.

Sarah Goldberg, founding Director of Nurtured Birth, is a doula and she has shared some tips for support as comfort in labour:

  • Touch – simple and firm, holding the space, calming and soothing you, holding your hands.
  • Massage – of the back, shoulders and neck, legs. Especially the lower back and sacral region to reduce muscle tension and distract from contractions.
  • Encouragement – emotional support is key. A labouring woman needs to stay focused as she works hard to birth her baby. At times it’s normal to feel really confronted and tired. Encouragement and attention help you feel held, cared for and safe. This promotes the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is the love hormone and needed in peak levels to cause contractions which open the cervix and bringing the baby down and out. 
  • Environment – create a loving, relaxed space with the right team of people, where you can laugh and feel joy, and aim to make it a precious memorable life experience. 
  • Physical support – helps to make you physically comfortable, stay connected to your breath,  help you to stay active, perhaps even dancing, support in upright & active positions, encourage you to try new positions. 
  • Support people – let others take on practical tasks, like getting heat packs or cool washers, making sure you are sipping water and nibbling food that will keep you going. Running a bath, hanging out in the shower, making sure the lights are low, adjusting music or  applying tens machine.  

#4: Sensory comfort 

Our human spirit needs nourishment and encouragement, especially in challenging moments during labour. What lifts your spirit, affects you positively and fills up your cup? Bring those special elements into your birth space to provide comfort in labour.

Some sensory comfort in labour ideas you might like to explore:

  • Visual stimuli – pictures or photographs that evoke emotions, assist focus and meditation, affirmations practiced during pregnancy.
  • Breathing – practice deep breathing techniques during pregnancy to create a habit of using this in labour, to promote deep relaxation during labour.
  • Encouragement – appropriate encouragement in words or touch that is nurturing, supportive and strengthening.
  • Music – sound can be a good distraction and very relaxing, or uplifting to promote energy. 
  • Rest and sleep – allow your body and mind to rest in between contractions, especially in the first active stage of labour, to build up energy reserves.
  • Scents – essential oils can offer support and calm, assisting you through each stage of labour, providing nurture, strength and positivity. 
  • Pain management techniques – coping with contraction pain can be assisted with the use of a tens machine, acupuncture or acupressure.
  • Comfort items – these might be special to you, such as a blanket, clothes, warm socks, a favourite throw rug, your own pillow.

Make sure your time in labour is a positive experience by surrounding yourself with all forms of nourishment. Comfort in labour can be found with one or many of these 4 simple ways to nourish yourself.

If you need help in finding what are the right choices for you, consider some childbirth education classes. Nurtured Birth offers private birth education sessions in the comfort of your own home or via online conferencing. Please contact us for more information. 

Written by Sharon Clarke, Remedial Therapist at Nurtured Birth

Fertility Massage: 5 FAQs About Fertility Massage

Fertility massage therapy can be an intrinsic part of the journey you will undergo as you travel towards motherhood. 

When you begin to explore your fertility with the hope of becoming pregnant, you may introduce many practices into your daily life.

There is much research to support the many benefits of massage not only for our physical body but also our emotional wellbeing.

But even in 2020 there is still an absence of study and evidence-based research into the specific results of massage treatment on fertility outcomes. So much remains unclear. So what do we actually know?

In this article we will explore 5 frequently asked questions in relation to fertility massage and how it can help prepare your body for conception.

#1: Where do I find a fertility massage therapist?

At this important stage of your journey, it is essential to find the right people to support you.

A therapeutic or remedial massage therapist has the skillset and anatomy  knowledge and experience to apply to fertility massage. 

But it’s important to seek a therapist with specific experience in women’s health and pregnancy. They can offer holistic support, with greater understanding of the reproductive system and the menstrual cycle, the tests and procedures involved with gynaecology, and the processes used within assisted fertility. 

Continuity of treatment is also an important factor to consider. A specialised massage therapist can provide treatment from fertility, through conception and pregnancy, and after birth.  

#2: When should I start treatments & for how long?

Start fertility treatment when you have made the decision to start trying for a baby and you are ready to begin your journey into parenthood.

Regular massage treatment is important to help build a mind-body-spirit connection. Massage is a wonderful way to reverse the effects of stress, work, and the general busyness of our lives. 

Massage helps the body in many ways:

  • Maintain muscle integrity
  • Improve posture and circulation
  • Relieve aches and pains
  • Stimulate detoxification
  • Assist many systems of the body including immune, nervous, lymphatic and endocrine
  • Assist with emotional and spiritual aspects – managing stress and tension, providing emotional relief and having a positive effect on your mood.

Stress triggers can increase when assisted reproduction methods such as IVF are needed. Massage can be complementary to IVF and work in conjunction to reduce these stress levels, allowing you to be at your best during the important times in your cycle.

The best way to support fertility and conception is to make lifestyle changes to support general health and wellbeing. This include a healthier diet, exercising, eliminating bad habits, introducing supplements and more. Massage can be included as it supports your focus towards a healthier way of life.

The best results from massage happen when treatments occur on a regular basis. So don’t just go occasionally – make it a habit, plan your calendar and book your appointments ahead of time. Keeping up the focus on your self-care is a vital part of your fertility plan.

#3: What should I expect from treatment?

Your massage treatment should be individually tailored to target your specific needs. Your therapist will initially want to know where you currently are on your journey, how you are affected, stress levels and what you realistically hope to achieve. A dedicated treatment plan should be formulated to guide the therapist and you through to an agreed outcome.

This tailored massage program should centre on being nurturing, gentle, non-invasive and pain free. The focus is on relaxing you, soothing your muscles and calming your emotions with the goal to destress the body, mind and spirit. Massage for the whole body is extremely important to achieve this. 

At a minimum the treatment should involve the back, shoulders and neck. There will also be an aspect of massage on the abdominal, sacral and pelvic regions of the body. Some therapists may also include other specialities such as acupressure, reflexology, rebozo techniques and mobilisation and stretching.

#4: What physical and emotional benefits does massage have for my fertility journey?

Massage to the abdomen improves circulation to this region. As a result, this allows better blood flow to the organs and tissues within the abdominal area, including the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, as well as to the digestive system.

Massage assists in the breakdown of scar tissue. Specifically in the abdominal region, this scar tissue can build up within and around the reproductive organs and digestive system. 

Massage helps to align the structures of the pelvic region: the pelvis, sacrum and coccyx. This restores the balance between the structures – bones, soft tissues, organs and releasing trapped nerves. Massage allows this area to reposition, tone and strengthen. 

Massage aids in hormonal balance. Negative energy can affect our hormones including the reproductive hormone progesterone, converting it to cortisol, the stress hormone. Using massage as a form of relaxation we are encouraging the body to destress and produce oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine for a positive mood and to be prepared and open for fertility.

Finally, massage allows the client to find emotional healing – providing the space to release tension held within the pelvic area. Massage can be a gentle way of addressing trauma and loss experienced in the past, anxiety, stress and the tension from invasive procedures such as IVF, curette, as well as previous pregnancy loss.

#5: Is massage just for the mother-to-be or can it also be beneficial for partners? 

The journey of fertility does not involve just the mother-to-be. Your partner is also sharing the fertility journey alongside you, with the shared goal of parenthood.

Although this journey may have different effects for each person involved, the health and wellbeing of both partners is important and massage can support you both in individual ways. 

As a partnership you can work to improve your general health and wellbeing with healthy meals, exercising together, getting good sleep and eliminating bad habits. Including massage therapy for you both is another way to share the journey in a positive and relaxing way.

When IVF is involved in the fertility process, it is the woman who undergoes the physical changes. But emotionally you will both share the stress of IVF. Your partner has a very important role in supporting you on your fertility journey and they should not be forgotten.

Nurtured Birth for Fertility Massage

In Australia, certified pregnancy massage therapists receive training beyond the national standards for massage therapists. They understand the pregnant body and how to address specific needs in pregnancy. They are equipped to care for women on their journey with fertility and conception and take a special interest in women’s health and wellbeing.

At Nurtured Birth our therapists are all trained and certified in massage and pregnancy massage, as well as being registered, insured and continually training and upgrading their skills. 

We have a range of specialist practitioners to offer treatment and support with massage, osteopathy, naturopathy, doula birth and postnatal care, childbirth education, prenatal yoga, pregnancy meditation and mums & bubs yoga. If your problem is outside of our scope of treatment we will refer you to one of our recommended practitioners. 

Imagine going through your fertility journey feeling supported and relaxed, both emotionally and physically. Our massage releases tension in your body, reducing aches and pains in muscles and joints. It overall improves your mood, your sleep and general sense of well-being. 

How frequently you have a  massage will depend on you and the plan of treatment you have with your therapist. If massage is going to be an integral part of your fertility plan, our knowledgeable practitioners will suggest what would best suit you, taking into account many factors, including your cycle. We can tailor massage therapy alongside our osteopath and naturopath to ensure your body is well supported during the challenges of fertility, flowing into pregnancy and after birthing.

Written by Sharon Clarke, Remedial Massage Therapist at Nurtured Birth


Osteopathic Treatment During Pregnancy

Women may seek osteopathic treatment during pregnancy for a variety of different reasons. 

From helping the body adjust and adapt with ease to the changes of pregnancy, managing pre-existing conditions, treatment of new aches and pains, to preparing the body to encourage positive labour and birth outcomes. 

Osteopathy is a manual treatment that embraces the link between body structure and wellness.

What to expect from your osteopathic appointment? 

It is advisable to arrive a little early for your first appointment, as you will need to fill out some paperwork. You will also be asked to sign a general consent form, but you will have the opportunity to consider and consent (or not) to specific treatment in the consultation. 

Your osteopath will initially take a comprehensive case history. This will b e followed by a full osteopathic assessment where motion tests are performed in addition to any necessary neurological or orthopedic testing.

Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to treatment, so your practitioner may look at other parts of your body, as well as the area that is troubling you during this assessment. We are also interested in what has worked for you previously, and whether you have any treatment preferences. 

Following this an osteopathic diagnosis will be made and discussed with you, allowing you to ask any questions you may have. We will explain how we would like to approach the treatment, as well as gain your consent before treatment.

You should let us know immediately, even during the treatment, if you would like to change or stop and discuss the treatment we are giving you. 

Every treatment is different and tailored to the individual’s needs and comfort levels. Osteopaths have a wide variety of manual techniques which they use to treat various complaints. Osteopathic treatment in pregnancy may include:

  • Soft tissue releases and/or massage
  • Gentle stretching
  • Gentle joint movements 
  • Muscle energy techniques (used to lengthen tight, contracted muscles)
  • Counterstain (releases tight muscles by positioning the affected muscle in a shortened position to stretch the opposing muscles)
  • Joint manipulation where appropriate and only when the patient is comfortable with the technique
  • Taping where necessary
  • At home exercise and/or stretching advice. 

Your position during treatment will vary with the technique being used as well as your stage of pregnancy.

Early in pregnancy you may be still comfortable lying on your abdomen. However as you progress through your pregnancy, most treatment is performed lying on your side, seated, or occasionally laying on your back with your right hip lifted slightly by a pillow.

At the end of the treatment, your osteopath will reassess the initial movements you performed so we can see how effective the treatment has been.

Your osteopath may organise a return consultation and may give you some stretches and exercises to do at home to help speed up your recovery or improve your body’s function. 

How many treatments will I need? 

The number of treatments needed depends on how long you have had the presenting problem, how severe it is, and how your body responds to treatment.

Through years of experience helping women through their pregnancy we have found women will often gain greater benefit from regular osteopathic treatment rather than seeking treatment with the sudden onset of pain.

This is usually every 4-6weeks during the early stages of the pregnancy and may be more frequent towards the end as your baby grows and as you start preparing your body for labour and birth. 

Is osteopathic treatment safe in pregnancy? 

Our osteopath has a passion for treating and supporting women through their pregnancy.

She combines her osteopathic skills with her knowledge and experience as a registered midwife, allowing her to compassionately and safely treat and support you through all the stages of pregnancy and the postnatal period. 

The techniques used during pregnancy are carefully selected to minimise risk. These techniques are gentle and the comfort of the mother is always taken into consideration and may be adapted to suit each patient. 

Please note, although osteopathic care is generally consider safe during pregnancy, if your pregnancy is considered high risk, we advise you check with your general practitioner, midwife or obstetrician before seeking care from any manual therapy modality.  

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

Comfortable clothes. Depending on the area of your body requiring examination some disrobing may be required, but at all times you will be draped with towels.

It is essential you feel comfortable, so you may want to bring or wear a pair of leggings or stretching gym shorts to the session. 

Medicare referral if applicable, private health insurance and any relevant imaging results (x-rays etc). 

Should I have a postnatal osteopathic treatment after the birth of my baby?

The weeks after birth can be challenging as you embrace your new normal and connect with the amazing changes pregnancy and birth have gifted you.

Osteopathic treatment can also help with pain and discomfort associated with breastfeeding posture, lifting car capsules and prams, carrying and settling your baby, and bending over the bassinet or cot.

Osteopathy helps restore balance, posture and release tension, improving your health, recovery and mindset as you look after your new baby. A happy and healthy mother is the centre of a functioning family.

This is the perfect time to seek treatment to restore alignment and prevent ongoing issues, such as back problems, stress incontinence, constipation and menstruation issues. Abdominal muscle separation and pelvic floor weakness are also common problems after pregnancy and birth.

Many women are unsure if they are able to have treatment before their six week postnatal check up with their doctor.

Unless you have any significant postnatal complications we consider treatment before this time safe, even after a caesarean section, and will tailor all treatments to suit the women and the presenting condition.

Written by Katie Wood, Osteopath at Nurtured Birth

Top 9 Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

Newly pregnant and heard the buzz about pregnancy massage benefits? Congratulations on your brilliant news – we’re excited for you!

Pregnancy is a special and exciting time. Nine months may seem a long time to wait to meet your little one, but we all know how quickly time flies – you will be holding your precious bubba in your arms before you know it.

So what’s next? What foods should you avoid? What kinds of tests will you and your baby need? Can you still exercise? How do you choose a doctor or hospital? What are your options? Is what you’re feeling normal? 

The amount of information is overwhelming. And all of it feels vital. Pregnancy is a wonderful time but can also be the source of much apprehension and stress.

How do we deal with all of these essential questions and the many preparations that need to be made? How do we cope with the pressure we place on ourselves to already be the best parent possible for our unborn child?

Breathe…and just let our body do its thing. Be kind to yourself. One thing that is essential to put on your to-do-list is pregnancy massage. Read on to see how pregnancy massage benefits and nourishes your physical body and emotional wellbeing throughout the whole nine months of pregnancy.

What’s happening to your pregnant body?

Pregnancy affects the body in a variety of ways: physically, hormonally, emotionally, mentally. It has an impact on every system of the body. 


During the first trimester your body undergoes many changes. Hormonal changes affect almost every organ system in your body. These changes can trigger symptoms even in the very first weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnancy massage is safe in the first trimester but only with a specially trained therapist. Pregnancy massage can help relieve some of the common symptoms such as: 

  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Heartburn.

Pregnancy massage will also assist in relieving pre-pregnancy aches and pains.   

2nd trimester

Most women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first. Often you have a renewed source of energy. You might notice symptoms like nausea and fatigue go away.

But other new, more noticeable changes to your body are now happening. Your abdomen expands as the baby continues to grow. And before this trimester is over, you will feel your baby beginning to move!

As your body changes to make room for your growing baby, pregnancy massage benefits include alleviating discomfort from aches and pains associated with: Back, hip, glute, abdomen, groin, sciatic, Carpal tunnel syndrome, oedema.

3rd trimester

You’re in the home stretch! Some of the discomforts you had in your second trimester will continue. Many women find breathing difficult and notice they have to go to the bathroom even more often. This is because the baby is getting bigger and is putting more pressure on your organs. Don’t worry, these problems will lessen once you give birth. Get excited — the final countdown has begun!

Pregnancy massage will help ease the discomfort and pain caused by:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heartburn
  • Oedema
  • Insomnia
  • Back/hip/glute/sciatic pain
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Pelvic instability.

How does pregnancy massage assist?

Pregnancy massage has a long history in many cultures around the world. In countries such as Japan and Mexico, massage during pregnancy and even labour is deeply embodied in the normal care of pregnant women.

Pregnancy is an amazing state of being for your body, constantly changing and growing and challenging you. Regular pregnancy massage benefits and nourishes your physical and emotional wellbeing through all of these changes.

Massage during pregnancy is modified to accommodate and support your changing body, to ensure you reap the benefits of massage safely.

Top 9 benefits of pregnancy massage


During your pregnancy massage we can use visualisations and breathing techniques to promote and grow your connection with your baby. We can also use massage directly on the belly for a physical connection, to help blood circulation in the abdomen and promote that pregnancy glow. 


Pregnancy massage can assist in reducing anxiety and stress in two ways – physically and emotionally.

Physically pregnancy massage is applying treatment to the muscles and tissues of the body to soften them, encourage healing and reduce pain levels. This brings about a feeling of increased relaxation and calmness.

Emotionally a pregnancy massage allows space for the mother to be calm and focused, remove herself from her busy day-to-day life, close down her thoughts and just be in the moment.


Pregnancy massage acts on the nervous system, helping to soothe and relax nervous tension. 

When muscular pain and discomfort is reduced through pregnancy massage, the mother will be more comfortable in bed and will be able to sleep more easily and more deeply,


Pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on your upper and lower limbs. Swelling can occur in the feet, ankles, calves, hands and forearms. Massage can help relieve this pain and swelling by aiding the lymphatic system and flushing this excess fluid from the body. Removing the lactic acid and other cellular waste products from your system also reduces muscle cramping and muscle fatigue.


Muscular conditions common in pregnancy involve the back, shoulders, neck, joints, buttocks, legs and arms – just about the whole body. Pregnancy massage will reduce musculoskeletal pain, cramping, tension and stiffness. It can alleviate headaches, oedema, leg cramps, sciatica.

Pregnancy massage can treat complex conditions and presentations such as carpal tunnel syndrome, pelvic girdle pain and pelvic instability. 


Pregnancy massage is a wonderfully natural way to aid circulation and the extra work of the heart during pregnancy. In turn this keeps the blood pressure in check.

Pregnancy massage works to eliminate waste products through the lymphatic and circulatory systems which combats fatigue so you feel more energetic. By improving the condition of the smooth muscles this normalises venous function and outflow. Better outflow, greater vitality; less fatigue, better nourishment for baby.

Pregnancy hormones cause many changes to the mother’s body, including depression and anxiety. Pregnancy massage benefits include relief from these negative effects and promote a more positive outlook for the pregnancy.


As your baby grows and takes up more room in your abdomen, there is less room for your diaphragm and lungs. This can cause shortness of breath and even pain in the ribs. Pregnancy massage treats directly into the intercostal muscles of the rib cage and uses deep breathing techniques.


During pregnancy your body is constantly changing and needs to be supported throughout each trimester and during labour.

Pregnancy massage promotes overall body awareness. With regular treatments you will develop an understanding of your body, the origins of your pain and ways to self help.

Pregnancy massage benefits not only include tension release in muscles, it helps to realign your posture, improve your range of motion and increase your flexibility. This is especially important during the third trimester and in preparation for labour.


Be proactive about preparing for labour by tapping into your inner resources of strength and mindfulness. Regular meditative breathing brings calmness and control, accessing your energy and focus; excellent skills to have in your labour toolkit. Pregnancy massage promotes visualisation and breathing techniques that you can use in preparation for labour.

Pregnancy massage helps your awareness and understanding of your pelvic space which helps prepare for healthy birthing. By working on your posture, strength and flexibility, your baby can find the best position for birth.

During labour, massage reduces the stress hormones and tension that interfere with the normal process of birth. You can improve your chance for a shorter and positive labour with less need for interventions and medications.

Pregnancy massage is a lush and lovely way to help your body ripen and prepare for birth.


In Australia, certified pregnancy massage therapists receive training beyond the national standards for massage therapists. They understand the pregnant body and how to address specific needs in pregnancy.

Our therapists are all trained and certified in massage and pregnancy massage, registered, insured and have a special interest in caring for women from fertility and conception, through pregnancy, during labour and postnatally. 

We have a range of specialist practitioners and supports to help with any particular issue that may arise during your pregnancy. Apart from pregnancy massage we also offer osteopathy, naturopathy, doula care, childbirth education, prenatal yoga, mums & bubs yoga. If your problem is outside of our scope of treatment we will refer you to one of our recommended practitioners. 

Imagine going through pregnancy feeling relaxed emotionally and physically. Pregnancy massage relaxes tension in your body, reducing aches and pains in muscles and joints. This improves your mood and comfort. You sleep better and your skin glows.

How frequently you have a pregnancy massage depends on you, as each woman and pregnancy is unique. If you want massage to be a central part of your pregnancy care, we suggest you talk to one of our knowledgeable practitioners to find out what would best suit you. We can tailor massage therapy with our osteopath to ensure your body is well supported during the challenges of pregnancy.

Put yourself into the hands of experienced therapists with extensive knowledge of pregnancy and labour. Your treatment will be tailored especially for you.








Nurtured Birth offers pregnancy massage at The Mother Baby Centre at Cabrini Hospital in Malvern and our clinic in Windsor.

To begin nourishing your body and mind, please contact us or book your appointment online today.

Massage In Times Of Coronavirus (Covid-19)

We at Nurtured Birth are happy to announce that after six weeks of no massage in the time of coronavirus (Covid-19) we’re reopening for limited massage sessions. 

As Covid-19 became a new reality within our community, we made the difficult decision to close our doors temporarily. This move was to keep our clients, staff and families safe.

It has been over six weeks of self-isolation and social distancing and no massaging.

All of us at Nurtured Birth miss our clients, especially our pregnant and postnatal mums. We know how daunting pregnancy and early motherhood can be, with the physical and emotional changes both bring. 

Massage therapy provides support for the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy and to provide the best care possible for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Massage In Times Of Coronavirus (Covid-19)

We are sure all our pregnant and postnatal clients are in need of a massage treatment, with the special care, support and expertise that only Nurtured Birth can provide.

Nurtured Birth will reopen for limited massage sessions at the Windsor rooms, beginning Thursday 7th May 2020. 

Reopening our clinic for massage therapy is exciting news, but massage during Covid-19 times means extra protocols and precautions to keep us all safe and healthy.

Protocols For Massage & Covid-19

Nurtured Birth will reopen as per the Victorian Government legislation and following the advice of our association, Massage and Myotherapy Australia (MMA).

In Victoria, as of 17th April 2020, MMA confirmed remedial massage and myotherapy members are permitted to provide professional services at this time.

We have enlisted the following protocols for our clinic:

  1. Appointment times are spread out to provide time for thorough cleaning and disinfecting between clients.
  2. Only one client in the clinic at a time.
  3. Clients must wait in their car until the therapist contacts them to enter the clinic for their treatment.
  4. Hand sanitizer provided on entry and exit of clinic.
  5. All clients asked screening questions prior to their treatment. 

Precautions for Massage During Covid-19

Dr Norman Swan, Australian physician, journalist and broadcaster has provided guidelines for massage therapists through MMA.

The following precautions are important for massage therapists to use as a guide to massage during Covid-19, to protect clients and keep themselves and their families safe.

  1. Screening questions need to be asked at the time of booking and/or at presentation to the clinic at the beginning of the appointment.
  • Do you feel well? Do you have any symptoms of cough or cold, fever, difficulty breathing?
  • Have you travelled overseas in the last 14 days?
  • Have you had contact with anybody who has tested positive for Covid-19?

Any positive results from this screening process would be reason to postpone the appointment.

  1. Washing hands with soap and water thoroughly for 20 seconds.

Covid-19 is a virus with a fatty outer layer. Soap dissolves this layer of fat and makes the virus inactive. This stops the spread of the covid-19 virus. 

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer works the same way but you need to use more  liquid to cover all areas of your hands.  Gloves are optional but generally do not provide protection from infection unless in a sterile environment.

  1. Masks for the therapist are not essential but make sense as a precaution due to massage putting the client and therapist in close personal proximity.
  2. Waiting area – limit and organise appointments to only one person at a time and/or allow for 1.5m distance in waiting areas; remove all reading material; clean regularly with alcohol wipes/disinfectant.
  3. Creams and oils used in massage are for single use only. Washing hands with soap and water after treatment is important to remove all products from the skin.

General Facts About Covid-19

Every day we’re learning more about Covid-19 and how it is spreading around the world. There is also much research going into treatment for those who are infected and also prevention of the virus.  

Covid-19 has some things in common with influenza but they’re caused by different viruses. We do know Covid-19 is mutating slowly. Influenza has a shorter incubation rate but Covid-19 is more contagious and has a higher mortality rate. Covid-19 has a more devastating effect on older people and those with chronic health issues.

The common symptoms of Covid-19 can be similar to a cold or flu:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Breathlessness.

Other symptoms have emerged that not everyone experiences but may indicate cover-19 infection:

  • Aches and chills
  • Nasal congestion
  • Loss of taste and smell.

The major risk factors are contact with an infected person and overseas travel. 

Self isolation and social distancing are important to reduce the spread of contact transmission. Australia is doing well in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and the health system is prepared well to deal with any patients.

For more information, news, advice and support about Covid-19:

Massage Appointments During Covid-19

We are happy to be able to massage again and would love to see you in Nurtured Birth’s clinic space as soon as possible. Our healing hands are ready and waiting for you to arrive.

Please make a booking for a well deserved massage at Nurtured Birth:

Author: Sharon Clarke, Remedial Massage Therapist at Nurtured Birth

Labour Induction – What Are My Options?

You’re nearing the end of your pregnancy and perhaps you’re hearing the words ‘labour induction’. 

Perhaps at your last appointment your midwife or obstetrician mentioned induction of labour as an option if you haven’t had your baby in the next few weeks. They may have offered to perform a stretch and sweep to ‘help’ things along. 

Or you’re experiencing some complications and induction of labour has been recommended as a safer option for you and your baby. 

Whatever the reason, thinking about having an induction can be challenging. You may have heard induction is more painful than natural labour, or that it doesn’t always work and ends in a c-section. 

The best way to deal with your concerns and fears is to be informed about induction of labour and empower yourself to be prepared for labour. 

How is labour induction done?

In Australia, around 25% of women are induced. How induction is performed depends on several things. 

If it’s decided an induction is necessary, you doctor or midwife will do an internal examination to see if your cervix is ready for labour. This can help your doctor decide what method of induction is best for you. 

When your cervix is softening and ripening, you have a much better chance of induction being successful.

Membrane sweep

This involves your midwife or doctor inserting two fingers into your cervix and making a circular motion. This encourages a hormone called prostaglandin to be released. 

Artificial rupture of membranes 

This can only be done when your waters don’t naturally break. A small hook-like instrument is inserted through your vagina to make a hole in the amniotic sac. This brings your baby’s head down onto the cervix to encourage labour to begin; although most women also need medical induction as well. 

Synthetic oxytocin (Syntocinon)

This is an artificial version of the hormone responsible for contractions. You are given this through a drip in your arm. When contractions begin, the amount of Syntocinon is adjusted to make sure you have regular contractions. 

Prostaglandin (Prostin)

Another synthetic version of a hormone that softens the cervix to prepare for labour. It is inserted into the vagina as a gel or pessary. Quite often the gel is used when the cervix isn’t ready yet, before having your waters broken or Syntocinon to bring on contractions.

Balloon catheter

This is a small tube attached to a balloon which is inserted into the cervix, then inflated with saline. The balloon catheter puts pressure on your cervix to encourage it to open. You may also need to have your waters broken or Syntocinon to bring on contractions.  

Why is labour induced?

Most of the time, healthy women have healthy pregnancies and go into labour without any need for intervention. 

Sometimes, there are complications that mean the well-being of you or your baby is at risk. In these situations, it might be decided it’s better for your baby to be born sooner rather than later. 

Medical reasons to be induced are:

  • Preterm or pre-labour rupture of the membranes
  • Health complications for the mother, such as preeclampsia, high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney problems.
  • Concerns about the baby’s health, including poor growth, heart rate changes, or fewer movements. 

There is also an increasing number of care providers who recommend induction for women aged 35 years and older, to reduce the risk of stillbirth. It’s important to know maternal age alone isn’t an isolated risk factor. 

Being overdue is a very common reason for induction, but it isn’t considered a clinical reason unless you are over 41 weeks pregnant. Often, care providers will start talking about induction when you reach 39 weeks even if there’s no medical urgency for birth. 

Induction is also commonly recommended for mamas who are 35 years or older. This is because there’s evidence showing a higher risk of stillbirth at the end of pregnancy in women of this age group. It’s important to know the risk is still very small and has gotten lower in the past few decades. It’s also lower in healthy women and those who have already given birth before.  

Being overdue or considered an older mum can be stressful, particularly if you’re hoping for a natural and positive birth experience. 

It’s impossible to predict when a baby will be born. At best we guess with a due date, based on pregnancy lasting an average of 280 days or 40 weeks. Many women are also choosing to have babies later in life, or experience fertility issues which delay pregnancy until their late thirties. 

How long is labour after induction?

Labour induction is as unique as your pregnancy experience and the truth is there’s no way to know exactly how long labour will take after induction.

It depends on a number of factors all working together to answer the question of how long your induction will take, starting with the method used for induction and how ready your body is for labour to begin.

The consistency, dilation and position of your cervix is the most reliable way to get an idea of how long labour induction will take. This is why before you’re induced, your care provider will assess your cervix.

If your cervix has already begun to dilate before you’re induced, there’s a good chance labour will go faster than if you weren’t dilated at all. In the same way, how thin or ‘effaced’ your cervix is can indicate how successful induction will be. A thin cervix is considered to be ‘ripe’ or ready for labour.

If this is a second or subsequent birth, then chances are your induction is more likely to go quicker than if it is a first baby. Our bodies are marvellous things and seem to recognise what to do after having already birthed.

Is induced labour more painful?

Again, this depends a great deal on each woman but generally induced labour is harder to manage, and the use of epidural pain relief is higher than labour that has begun on its own.

This is because medically inducing labour overrides the natural process of hormone production that allows your body to produce its own painkillers. Induced contractions are also harder and faster much more quickly.

Natural labour induction preparation

Some care providers will offer to perform one or more stretch and sweeps in the week of your due date to ‘encourage’ things along and avoid a medical induction later. 

However you have other options to naturally prepare your body for labour. 

One of these is something known as labour induction massage. Massage is a safe and beautiful way to bring your mind-body awareness into play. Labour induction massage can encourage your body and baby into labour. 

Labour requires several things before it will begin. Your baby needs to be ready for life outside the womb, and positioned optimally for birth. Massage encourages your muscles to release tension that may be preventing your baby from moving into an ideal position.

By stimulating certain acupressure points on your body, labour induction massage can encourage your baby to apply pressure to the cervix and strengthen contractions. 

Your body is also a key part of the process, and that also involves your mental and emotional state. Massage encourages you to let go of fears and inner tension, to work on a positive mindset and open up to the incredible power within your body as it moves into the final stage of pregnancy – labour. 

Natural labour induction massage may encompass many therapies, such as osteotherapy, meditation, stretching, body movements and Rebezo. Ideally you will begin induction massage treatment close to or after your due date.

However, priming your mind and body for labour can begin earlier, as these therapies encourage an open and relaxed state of mind and body and can only benefit you and your baby. 

If you are pregnant and would like to know more about how natural labour induction massage may benefit you, contact Nurtured Birth here

Author: Sam McCulloch, Wordsmith at Nurtured Birth