Pregnancy & Childbirth

Pregnancy & ChildbirthPre & Peri-natal, Postpartum & Infant Massage

Pregnancy, or pre-natal massage, is specifically tailored for the expectant mother’s needs, and can reduce pregnancy discomforts and concerns and enhance the physiological and emotional well-being of both mother and fetus.   It helps prepare the mother’s body to cope with the demands of labor and delivery.

The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® are very supportive of the physical changes experienced by women during pregnancy.  As the baby and uterus grow, additional strain is put on the uterine ligaments, pelvic floor muscles and pelvic ligaments.  With regular Arvigo prenatal massage, the uterus stays well-positioned, receives good blood supply, and grows strong and resilient.  Arvigo prenatal massage helps normalize pelvic alignment which guides the uterus into a more neutral position – helping to relieve pregnancy discomforts for the mother-to-be and to allow for optimal fetal positioning of baby before labor.  Digestion is also improved.  Pregnant women are also taught how to do a special self care abdominal massage routine so that they can continue their therapy at home while relaxing and connecting deeper with their body and growing baby.  The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® can safely be performed on pregnant women starting at 20 weeks gestation.

Massage can be a great tool to help a mother during labor. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor times and easing pain and anxiety.  During labor, many women experience intense lower back pain. Massage which focuses on the lower back, and counterpressure are extremely helpful in providing pain relief, allowing the mother to focus on maintaining her composure and ability to utilize breathing techniques.

Postpartum massage helps to realign the spine, restore the abdomen, soothe sore muscles and relax the new mother – all which help her to bond with and care for her infant.  Many doctors and midwives are recommending prenatal, labor and postpartum massage as part of a well-rounded prenatal regimen.

The benefits of massage during pregnancy are well documented and researched — women who receive regular massage by a certified pre-natal massage therapist are typically more relaxed with less depression and anxiety, have less swelling, less muscle tension, and less leg, back and hip pain.  Women who received massage experienced significantly less pain during labor, and their labors were shown to be on average 3 hours shorter with less need for medication.

Most  new parents are sleep deprived. Did you know one of the best benefits for regular infant massage with your baby is deeper more restful sleep?  The other great benefit is to help smooth out those fussy and gassy episodes as your baby’s digestive system gets used to life on the outside.   Infant massage is particularly good for fussy or gassy babies, even those with colic, because it can help with digestion and forces gas out of the stomach. What’s more, researchers are finding that babies who receive regular massage often have better muscle tone, coordination and cognition thanks to stimulation of the nervous system. Circulation is improved, and sleep is more restful. A baby’s immune function may also get a boost from the stimulation of the skin. And finally, most importantly, parents and their baby get a unique chance to bond.

Infant massage is simple, easy to learn, and fun.   Instructive in-home sessions are available and can be scheduled by request.

Read more on the supportive research documenting the benefits of pre and peri natal, postpartum and infant massage at  Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010.

Birth Doula Services

The word doula  originates from the Ancient Greek word δούλη meaning women’s servant. Women have been serving other women in childbirth for many centuries and have proven that support from another woman has a positive impact on the labor process.

A doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical and informational support to the mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. The doula’s purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable and empowering birthing experience.

Given my background in scientific research, I am always compelled to share research studies with my clients.  If you would like to know more about the role of a birth doula and what the research states about the birth doula’s contribution towards the modern birthing experience, read this position paper published by DONA International (the Doula certifying organization).

What I offer as a DONA certified birth doula:

  • An initial complimentary consultation and interview
  • 2 Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® prenatal massage sessions including prenatal consultation  –  I will teach you the Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy pregnancy self care massage routine which will help you maintain a balanced uterus as your baby grows.
  • Unlimited pre and peri natal/postpartum email and phone support
  • Resource lending library of books, cds and dvds
  • A prenatal visit in your home that includes a “Massage for the Expecting Couple” hands-on instruction session
  • Assistance with preparing your “Birth Preferences & Newborn Care Plan”
  • Available to you 24/7 on call from 38 weeks until your birth
  • Backup support if needed, in the event of my illness or injury
  • Support for home, Women’s Birth & Wellness Center, and hospital births
  • Initial lactation support
  • Newborn CranioSacral therapy session
  • A postpartum at home visit including your postpartum massage and instruction on infant massage

 

My birth doula services are integrated with pregnancy and postpartum massage and I do not offer standalone doula services without therapeutic massage.  Kindly contact me directly for pricing specifics.


When I came to Donna for prenatal massages at the beginning of my third trimester, I was waking up most nights with horrible leg cramps (sometimes so bad that I had to get out of bed and stretch my calves because flexing my foot wasn’t working) and tight hips which made my lower back muscles ache.  I would also occasionally wake up with numb arms.

Since working with Donna, I have had significantly less trouble with my leg cramps. They are much less frequent and I am now able to sleep more soundly. My hips have also really opened up – this has relieved much of the pressure in my low back and is also helping prepare my body for childbirth. I never wake up with numb arms anymore. The foot reflexology that Donna incorporates into the massage has even helped alleviate my constipation and sinus issues.

As a teacher, I am very conscientious about how I spend my limited funds. However, one of the best investments and most important things I have done for my pregnancy has been getting regular prenatal massages. It has been as important as exercise and eating well. The prenatal massages are a time to focus on my body and how each new phase affects my body as my baby grows and develops.

The massages are one of the highlights of my week. I am at such peace and feel so connected to my body; I feel stronger and more in control. The relaxation translates directly to my growing baby. During each session, I feel her gently rolling peacefully around. I can feel absolute contentedness emanating from her.

Prenatal massage has served as a perfect complement to my Bradley Method childbirth preparations. Donna has taught me many techniques to pass on to my husband-coach to help me relax and ease my tension. The work she has done to help open my hips allows me to practice squatting for deeper, longer periods of time more comfortably.

Most importantly, Donna has brought awareness to where I hold tension in my body during times of stress. She has shown me how I can manage that stress during labor and for the rest of my life. I have a clearer understanding and awareness of my body. I know why and where my body is holding tension and what I can do to relax rather than leaving it up to trial and error. Prenatal massage with Donna is one of the best decisions I have made and well worth every penny. 

Lesley Jane Mace Fisher

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My name is Donna Zubrod and I look forward to hearing from you!


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