By Carol Gray, LMT, CST, RPYT, ERYT-200
In my other life I’m a bodyworker and bodywork teacher. When I taught in-person prenatal yoga classes, my students often asked me about the benefits of bodywork during pregnancy. They wanted to know more about Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and how it can help. Today I’ll explain it.
Why Should People Get Bodywork During Pregnancy and Postpartum?
Studies show that people who receive loving touch during their pregnancies are better able to provide loving touch to their newborn infants. Touch is necessary for a newborn’s survival. It also enhances infant-parental bonding. When infants truly bond with their parents they are healthier in all ways. This is the foundation for healthier communities and a saner world.
What’s Different About My Practice?
All perinatal bodywork should help those who are pregnant and recovering from birth cope with discomforts in their changing bodies. Mine does too. In addition to that I have specific structural goals for my pregnant and postpartum clients.
I have spent years developing techniques to enhance the mobility in pregnant bodies including the bony pelvis, the abdominal organs, the support structures and lower segment of the uterus. Babies who have more room to grow and move during gestation are less likely to develop conditions like torticollis (and the resultant positional plagiocephaly), hip dysplasia and scoliosis. They are less likely to lodge in the maternal pelvis in a less than ideal birth position such as occiput posterior, military or asynclitic. This means that they are more inclined to be born normally – without surgery, forceps or vacuum extractors. Their labors have a better chance of beginning on time and progressing efficiently.
The attention we receive during pregnancy is often withdrawn and transferred to the baby after the birth. It is critically important to continue nurturing parents when most of their energy is spent nurturing a new baby. It is beneficial for the whole family when a newly postpartum parent receives focused attention just for them.
A postpartum treatment focuses on structural realignment of the spine and pelvis and rehabilitation of the muscles and other structures overworked or weakened during pregnancy. It facilitates healing, especially for people who have had cesarean births. I give my clients instruction on how best to help themselves recover strength and balance in their bodies.
Postpartum CST also addresses the new body discomforts associated with the carrying and care of a newborn infant. It includes instruction in the proper use of body mechanics for these new activities.
A person who has experienced a complicated birth may feel traumatized. They may grieve the loss of the birth experience they had planned for themselves. Postpartum CST helps the new parent process and integrate the birth experience in a way that is physically and emotionally healthy.
Preconception and Fertility CST
Why wait until pregnancy? People who are planning to conceive and those who are working toward fertility or undergoing fertility treatments are also ideal candidates for for CST. Remember, structure and function are interrelated. We can help.
About Carol Gray
Carol is the founder and owner of MamaSpace Yoga. She has been a therapeutic bodyworker in private practice for over 31 years. She specializes in Craniosacral Therapy for pregnant and postpartum people and infants. Carol has spent years developing hands-on techniques to enhance the mobility in pregnant bodies including the bony pelvis, the abdominal organs, the support structures and lower segment of the uterus. She is proud to have pioneered the integration of this gentle manual therapy into prenatal care, the birth place and postpartum care for birthing parents and babies. The goal is to give babies more room to develop, grow and get born. Her specially-designed yoga classes have grown naturally from the roots of bodywork and yoga.
Carol has dedicated her professional life to supporting expectant and new families by promoting gentle aware birth. She attended births for over 35 years – at first as a doula and from 2000 to 2012 as a midwife. She has since retired from attending births in order to focus on practicing and teaching CST and prenatal yoga. Her many years as a birth worker have forever changed her and her worldview. Those experiences remain an integral part of who she is as a therapist and teacher.
Carol is the founder and director of the The Carol Gray Center for CST Studies®. She teaches high-quality, small group classes that are appropriate for bodyworkers, birth attendants and other health professionals. She is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education approved provider.