What Postpartum Depression Looks Like

Postpartum depression, you are the thief in the night.

I'm fine. I'm not depressed.

I'm just angry and irritated at my husband all the time. 

But I'm super productive and I get out of bed, so, I'm not depressed...

I just feel trapped

and angry

and resentful of my child

(...but doesn't every first time mom feel that way, if she really told the truth?)

And all the other moms around me seem to be fine with THREE kids

So apparently I'm the only one who struggles, and being the strong woman that I am, I'd like to keep that to myself, thankyouverymuch.

I'm fine. I'll just keep going. 

I'll just keep pretending I LOVE MOTHERHOOD... when the truth is... I really liked going to work so I could feel like I accomplished something. 

My life is no longer mine. I am with a babe at my breast, all day, all night. I hardly sleep. My body is not mine. My time is not mine. My plans fail on a regular basis. My hands are never free. I am stuck. I am chained. 

But I can't tell anyone this.

HE can go skiing. But I can't even take a shower, or get to the store without barf all over me, a poop blowout up baby's back, or having to stop to nurse, or driving ten minutes with a screaming infant in the back seat. God help me. I feel so out of control. 

But... do I really have the right to complain? My planned home birth was awesome, my pregnancy was great, my child is healthy and beautiful, I have so much to be grateful for, so I shouldn't be upset, or ungrateful AT ALL.

And then, sooner than planned...

I'm pregnant again. 

Here comes our second child. His birth - all 9.5 lbs of him - passes through my body with no pain. His birth is rapid and ecstatic, and joyful. I want to do it again.

I still resent my husband most of the time

And we have no money

And I feel like I'm drowning with a not-quite-two year old and a newborn...

But then I remember that my mother - my dear mother - had SIX children at my age, and NINE children by age 38. I can do two. My sister has two children with disabilities, one requiring constant care. I can do this. 

Postpartum Depression is a label that does not fit me AT ALL.  My newborn is 5 months old, and when my husband's business collapses, I started a business of my own out of necessity (and inspiration)... and it's thriving. It's the year 2009, and I'm seeing 30 prenatal massage clients a week. I'm growing so fast I have to hire employees to help. I'm making a real difference in the community. I'm a doula now too, on call for as many as five births a month; I'm also now a paid musician, performing music on stage four nights a week; I'm super busy and my husband... well, in addition to trying to get some new work-from-home endeavors off the ground, he stays home with the kids. He sings them to sleep. He sees my baby's first steps. I barely remember my second child's babyhood. It's a blur. I don't love the burden of providing for our family.

I wish I could just be a mom. 

And then I remember, THAT was hard too.

Something feels really wrong. 

I can't breathe.  And I still resent my husband most of the time. He can never do enough. I hate where we are in life. I make sure he knows that it's his fault. We have lots of ups and downs. I'm sinking. 

Postpartum Depression... You sneaky little bitch. 

It is now 2015. My children are both in school, ages eight and six. And my husband? We've been separated for almost two years. 

It's brutal to hear my children cry themselves to sleep sometimes. One night, after their daddy moved out, my youngest (who learned American Sign Language as a baby) signed "Sad. Mom. Dad. Family"-- because the sobs that are shaking his little body prevent him from speaking. 

It has taken me EIGHT YEARS to realize my workaholism is a way of avoiding depression, that I thrive on the highs of accomplishment. I am so busy that I don't ever have to stop to feel anything. And this, in some ways is a good thing. But clearly, like any addiction, it costs me dearly. It costs me my connection with my children. It costs me my marriage. 

Last summer, I mentioned to one of my sisters that everything, and I mean e v e r t h i n g just felt SO hard. 

Like, I'm hungry, but preparing food sounds way too hard. 

Or, I'd pick that spoon up off the floor...later.

"Yeah," she says, "you know that's how my depression feels. Everything is tooooo daaaamn haaaard."

...Which doesn't make sense!  That's just... laziness and resistance.

I notice that some days I just can't handle anything. I have NO patience. NO tolerance. Lots of anger. The smallest misstep sends me into a spiral of hopelessness. Some days I fantasize about rolling my car to make my death look completely accidental.

One morning, you know, the WORST MORNING EVER - I keep my children home from school -- both crying their hearts out because of my angry interactions and frustration with them...with everything. I collapse on the couch in despair. I AM THE WORST MOM EVER AND I SHOULD NOT BE A MOTHER. I call that same sister, sobbing, not able to speak, and she knows. She knows I need help. After we hang up, she sends a text message saying, "Hang on Bec, the cavalry is coming." 

She sends mom over to get the kids. She sends over my brother who happens to be in town, to sit with me. He listens with love to the nonsense pouring out of my mind and mouth. He brings me Starbucks. He reassures me I'm okay and everything will be okay. Two more sisters call me to check on me. They know. They have struggled too. 

I realize

these might be signs of depression.

My midwife agrees, maybe I might function better with a prescription - just to TRY it. Mrs no-drugs-natural-childbirth-natural-everything agrees to manage her mental health with a prescription. I keep it in my purse for a week just to give me time to wrap my head around it. It's terrifying to me to take that step because it seems to go against everything I believe.

It changes my life.

Five days into my prescription, for the first time in over a decade, I wake up "happy" like, normal baseline happy. And it is in that moment that I realize by contrast, how I have been living - underwater gasping for air - thinking THAT'S normal.

Zero feels wonderful when you're used to -10. 

I feel like myself, a self I haven't felt in almost a decade. I can't believe I waited this long. I am so sad. I cry now, for a different reason. I cry because I am so sad that I didn't know. That I didn't get help sooner. 

Postpartum Depression, I finally open up to face you

I had no idea for eight years and maybe more...that you were running my life. 

Nothing is wrong with me... or maybe if there is, it's simply that my brain just doesn't produce enough serotonin, that's all. I am not to blame.

Nor is the father of my children. 

I was convinced HE was the reason I felt terrible all the time. Now, I'm not certain. In fact, I wonder how it would have been different had I had the resources to support HIM emotionally.

Oh Rob, I'm so sorry. Please, please forgive me. I didn't know. I'm SO sorry.

Postpartum Depression,

You took my marriage, you took my joy. You took my peace. 

I finally understand. I see you. I know what you are.

I grieve. I grieve a lot.. but I finally understand. 

And I'm healing

and dealing

with postpartum depression.

No, my baby is not sleeping through the night and the next person who asks me will get punched in the face.


Nine months of sleep deprivation (OK, ten or 11 if you count the end of pregnancy) and this is EXACTLY how I felt.

You see, I was raised in a natural-birthing, home-birthing, attachment-parenting, baby-wearing, extended breastfeeding, nursing on demand kind of  family. I have four older sisters, all of whom are VERY opinionated on this topic.

So, by the time I was expecting my first child, I was fully indoctrinated to follow every word that came out of Dr. Sears’ mouth.

Shawn was a very healthy baby. Born at home in the fall of 2006, 8.5 lbs, and was 20 lbs by his three month birthday. My sisters lovingly called him FatBaby (only they said it "Faaat Baybay" with a the same tone of voice as when you want to devour something delicious). He was an enormous butterball with that drew stares from strangers. He was so big that I actually sustained a shoulder injury while trying to lower his carseat into its base in the car! On the other hand, I was proud that my breasts seemed to produce pure milkshakes. This was my newfound superpower; I had enough milk to feed quadruplets, I’m sure of that.

Mastering breastfeeding for the first time was amazing, but as soon as I mastered the art of breastfeeding while lying on my SIDE I realized I had discovered the great secret that allowed me to sleep AND nurse instead of getting up in the middle of the night to nurse while nodding off in my rocking chair.

Shawn slept with us. I had no fears about that. We had a bassinet by the bed (he exceeded the weight limit very quickly….) but as all first time moms have a compulsion to check that the baby is still breathing, for several reasons I found it easier to just let him sleep with us.

Every time he’d so much as chirp, I’d roll over, whip the boob out, and plugged him in and nurse him back to sleep. This went on for nine months. I didn’t want to pump, I didn’t want to wake hubby to get up and feed baby…. it was just...convenient.

It solved certain problems but created more. Shawn was eating every 2-3 hours AROUND THE CLOCK. I felt like a machine. I needed a break. I needed REST. I was totally confused about this part of motherhood. I was nursing and napping all day and all night. I felt like I couldn’t do anything else or go anywhere. My Magic Boobs were Shawn’s only consolation in life. He was dependent on me obviously, but  I was dependent on nursing him to get him to do what I wanted - calm him down, stop crying, go to sleep, take a nap, stay asleep. Night and day. Did I mention this went on for nine months?!

                           4 days old... "I GOT THIS!"

                           4 days old... "I GOT THIS!"

I was totally sleep deprived after 9 months of this and I was a total, complete WRECK (especially when other moms told me they had NOOOOO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER getting their baby to nap and to sleep for the night). I asked what they did and they were like, I don't even understand your question. Clearly I had missed something. I was beginning to resent baby Shawn for not being one of those easy, sleepy babies. My chiropractor asked if Shawn was sleeping through the night and I burst into tears, feeling like a totally defective mother.

And, I couldn't just let him cry it out.  That was not an option for my mother heart. Nobody I asked seem to remember how they did it. It was some grand mystery of motherhood that just kind of "happens" apparently.

I got online and started doing some research about how to get babies to go the hell to sleep. I came across videos and newsclips, ebooks and websites, mommy Yahoo Groups (yes, this was pre-facebook and the internet moved a tad slower than it now does.)

I found BabyWise. I got the book from the library and read it immediately. It felt like salvation…. the idea of putting your baby on YOUR schedule and making sure your needs are met first. Then, I dug deeper and unearthed some serious controversies with that method that completely turned me off. I tossed the book. I was back to square one. My hopes had been dashed to pieces.

I found Kim West, AKA The Sleep Lady, and after watching some of her principles in action via news clips, I put Faaat Baybay in the car and drove straight to Barnes and Noble and bought her book. I read it right away. I immediately committed to implementing her advice. This was gentle, humane, not the cry-it-out method, but what she called Sleep TRAINING. This was the first time it ever occurred to me that going to sleep and staying asleep and self-soothing is a SKILL that many babies must learn. It’s not just inherently programmed.

Wow. That made a lot of sense. And, I’m not a failure of a mother, best news of the year besides "It's a Boy!".

The hardest part about implementing her program was to confront all MY bad habits. I read in her book that many babies don’t sleep well because of the parents’ training the child to become totally dependent on being rocked to sleep, driven to sleep, swung to sleep, and in my case….nursed into oblivion. Those are what she calls sleep crutches, and we rely on them for sanity but they are not a long term solution.

                                         In a milk-drunk slumber :)

                                         In a milk-drunk slumber :)

I also had to give up my idea that cosleeping was the only true way. I realized that in my case there was a lot of CO but not a whole lot of SLEEPING. I was desperate to have a night of full sleep - please just even FIVE HOURS would be amazing - all apologies to Dr. Sears and my sisters.

I set up the crib - in our room - and committed to it.

It takes about two weeks of Kim West’s program to get your baby on a good sleeping schedule. It WAS THE HARDEST TWO WEEKS OF MY LIFE. All I did was sleep train it seemed. I got nothing else done, I swear.  I asked my husband for reassurance during the moments I wanted to resort back to my old ways. We were a united front. My mental and emotional health depended on it!

The first thing I learned was “The Sleep Lady Shuffle” - which is a way of sort of weaning your baby from YOUR sleep-interrupting habits. You are, in effect, teaching your child to know that you are there, even though he/she can’t see you, and that you will respond to him/her if needed. You get them 90% asleep and then put them in the crib to do the rest on their own. First you sit right by the crib. Then, you sit halfway to the door. Then you sit AT the door. Then, finally, I had my victory lap: Shawn dozed off to sleep in his crib and I walked out of the room. He stayed alseep.  It was the perfect mix of what my mommy heart wanted for me and my baby.

Kim also taught me about baby sleep cycles and habits like this fact: baby sleep cycles change every three months! So for all you moms that think you have the hang of it and then BAM, baby pulls a fast one on you - this is normal. Go back to the Sleep Lady Shuffle.  Her book was my bible for the next several months.

Oh and also, I learned I'd been duped into thinking FatBaby had a short nap and then I went to his rescue all confused and whatnot. The Sleep Lady explains: Babies come up to the surface of sleep during their cycles. YOU think they are awake, but they aren't. I learned not to rush in every time I heard a squawk. He would soon settle and get back into REM sleep, which would usually give me just enough time to do something amazing, like, the dishes. 

Oh - and as it turns out babies CAN go several hours through the night without needing to eat. I mean, it's not like FatBaby was starving - just look at him. This meant I didn't have to nurse him between the hours of 10pm and 5am. THANK GOODNESS. This helped my milk production shift one gear lower than hyperspeed.

                                                           FAAAT BAYBAY!

                                                           FAAAT BAYBAY!

But - the point is - it WORKED. Within that first two weeks, Shawn was sleeping at least 9 hours through the night, and taking TWO 2-3 hour naps during the day. I feel like I had balance. I had sanity. And best of all, I had longer showers and time to *gasp* blow my hair dry!

I share this with you because, as a doula and a prenatal massage therapist, and of course as a Mom, I am constantly encountering women who were just like me - frustrated, discouraged, depressed, sleep deprived, resentful… it doesn’t have to be that way.

I wanted to make sure I was giving my clients the BEST resources out there, so I went to the library and checked out and read literally every book on baby sleep habits, sleep training, sleep programs. By far my favorite is Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West. It works. I can personally attest to that.

By the time I had my second baby, Ryan, I was baby wise. (See what I did there?). I went back to the book and learned how to start off on the right foot with my newborn…. how to help him sort out his days from his nights, how to get through those first days establishing breastfeeding, how to help him soothe himself. He was sleeping soundly in regular, age-appropriate increments from the get-go. It was absolutely necessary to have this kind of cohesion while parenting two kids under two.

The first time I got them to take naps at the SAME TIME I felt like the queen of the world!

So - just sharing my story and passing along this great resource to all you sleep deprived mamas. Kim West now has a training program and has released an army of trained Sleep Coaches. Not sure if we have any yet in Utah (although I seriously considered becoming the first!)

Order the book Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West, or visit http://sleeplady.com/ for more great resources, and free downloads.

Happy napping and GET SOME SLEEP!

Valentine's Day was a hit!

We are so happy that so many of you took advantage of our Valentine's Day special offerings. We had a VERY full schedule on Friday Feb 13th and Saturday Feb 14th to make Valentine's Day special with massage therapy.

We turned away many clients calling last minute to see if they could get in. (Wives, tell your husbands to plan ahead next year!)

Couples Massage was such a hit that we have decided to make it a permanent offering at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage (more on that later!)

We had all 7 of our massage therapists working to accommodate the demand for appointments on Valentine's Day. Rebecca baked cupcakes, Brianna decorated them, and in our waiting room we had a lovely spread of organic bread and butter and jams, yogurt, granola bars, hot Lemon Ginger Tea, Raspberry Lemonade, and chocolates all around the office. All clients received a Trader Joes Organic Chocolate Bar after their session. 

(And we also discovered while introducing everyone in the office to a new client, that we have a Savannah, Joanna, and Brianna on staff. Try saying that ten times fast! )

Thank you for allowing us to make your Valentine's Day 2015 super SPECIAL!


Can massage naturally and safely induce labor?

Ahh... due dates. In my experience, due dates are the number one cause of stress during a normal pregnancy... and I'm not kidding. It's right around 39 weeks...40 weeks...41 weeks that we get panicked phone calls from moms asking us "HELP ME, DO SOMETHING, RELAX ME, MASSAGE ME, ACUPRESSURE ME.... GET THIS BABY OUT!" Motives range from "I'm miserable and just DONE" to "my mother is flying in" to "my doctor is going out of town" to "my doctor won't let me go past 41 weeks."

I have news for you, my dear friends: babies don't have calendars.

They don't care what day you think they are supposed to arrive. Unless you have a good reason to interfere, babies just come when they're plain ready.

But I certainly sympathize! I used to say that pregnancy was one month too long, because by about 36 weeks, I felt just perfect, not too uncomfortable. Then it seems I started hanging on for dear life, counting down the days and minutes (as if that were even possible.) Then, I became the target for all kinds of unsolicited comments and questions like:

"Wow, when are you due?" (Ten days ago. Pick your jaw back up off the floor.)

"When are they going to induce you?" (Who is this mysterious "they" of whom you speak? Midwives don't induce for home births. But I don't want to have to explain my birth choices to you.)

"When are they going to take the baby?" (Umm... Like, an alien abduction? Sorry, nobody is going to "take" my baby.)

That's me, 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant in 2006. Puffy and forcing a smile.

That's me, 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant in 2006. Puffy and forcing a smile.

"How far are they going to let you go past your due date?" (Well... again, this is my body, my baby, my birth - so as long as my midwive says things look great, I'm going to just wait until the baby decides to come. I know, weird to make my own informed choice, huh?)

"How many more days (till the baby comes)?" (As if I know. Next time you plant a seed, please tell me the exact date the fruit will be ripe and fall from the tree.) :D

Apparently my first little guy decided to show up at 42 weeks. Completely normal for a first-time, low-risk mom. In fact, 40 weeks is pretty inaccurate for first time moms. Studies show first time moms tend to give birth around 41.5 weeks.

So, according to my holy due date, my first baby was TWO WEEKS LATE! or was he??

According to one due date calculator, he was "due" September 3rd, 2006.
According to another, September 11th, 2006.
Ultrasound at 20 weeks said September 9th, 2006.
But he arrived on September 20th, 2006.

After he was born, I found another online due date calculator that allowed for an adjustment of up to a 45-day menstrual cycle (which was my body's average at the time he was conceived. Hooray for irregular periods.) Out of curiosity, I plugged in my LMP prior to his conception and guess what it spit out? A due date of September 20th, 2006. The day he was born. My next baby coincidentally was also "due" mid-September two years later (I refused to give a 'date') - but if you must know, he was born three days after his "due date". Here's a blog entry about how I worked through the stressful belief that my baby was supposed to be born already.

Due date calculators mostly assume you have a 28-day cycle and that you ovulate on day 14 of that cycle. Not so. Not for many women, and certainly not for me. It's a complete guess, an estimate, an average. If you want to see how accurate "averages" are for YOU, just go to the shoe store and purchase for yourself anything in the "average" shoe size for women - don't bother trying it on. Or the average pant size, or hat size, or ring size. It's guaranteed to fit you. :D

I'd like to rent a billboard that says "Your Baby's Due Dates is a GUESS, not a scheduled departure!"

Hang on - isn't this supposed to be an article about massage to naturally induce labor?

Right! My rant is over.

First and foremost, when we get phone calls at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage requesting "natural labor stimulation massage" I urge my pregnant friends to think about what their motive is for wanting to do something to "get this baby out."

'Cause here's the thing: Just about every woman starts getting antsy around 38 weeks. Why? Because you know your baby's birth is certainly coming, and knowing that, suddenly the joy in the present moment is robbed by the future looming above your head. You stop being "here" and your mind is out there in the future somewhere. THAT is what creates most of the stress and anxiety at the end of pregnancy and makes women say "I'm DONE." ('cept your not, 'cause if there is a baby in there, your pregnancy is not over. Facts are facts, regardless of your opinion.)

Aches and pains and extreme discomfort can make you want to jump the gun. But that's what Salt Lake Prenatal Massage is here for. You really don't have to be in pain. We can help make you as comfortable as humanly possible.

SO - my philosophy is that women are mammals, and just like any mammal, we won't go into labor when we are watched, threatened, chased, and pressured. So if any of those adjectives apply to you, you've got to stop and think about shifting your perspective.

When you are experiencing stress, your body releases hormones into your bloodstream that trigger other hormones and messages that govern physiological processes. These hormones can interfere with the normal process of labor.

(For example, a friend of mine was expecting her third child. She and her husband were in the process of a divorce and she did NOT want him at the birth. He showed up anyway. Within moments of his arrival, her intense labor came to a screeeeching halt and the midwife had to ask the dad to leave. As soon as she felt safe again, labor picked up and baby was born. Point: How you feel emotionally can affect your body's ability to labor.)

Therefore, I say, if you are stressed - even just about your due date - your body is going to have a harder time going into labor. If you feel like you have to give birth on someone else's timeline, and it's creating stress for you, you might want to reconsider your choices and ask questions or make changes so that YOU feel safe and supported. A watched pot never boils!

SO! Can Massage naturally induce labor?

Well, be clear, there is no magic point to rub that will start the process. You can't think of labor stimulation massage like getting a pitocin IV (And - realize that there are times when even pitocin fails to induce labor. p.s. you can read all about the risks of Pitocin/Elective Induction here.) Your body has to be ready. Your mind has to be ready. Your BABY has to be ready! Your life will not be easier with baby on the outside, ask any mother!

How can massage help induce labor? Well, massage will help lower the stress hormones in the bloodstream. It will also help raise the output of the feel-good hormones in the bloodstream. It is my strong belief and theory that lowering stress hormones can help in the natural labor process.

Acupressure has also been shown to significantly impact the body's ability to go into labor. I've read studies, and I teach my staff about it. So we work certain acupressure points during a labor stimulation massage and teach our clients how to do it themselves. Acupressure needs to be repeated several times daily.

Certain essential oils (extracts from plants and flowers) have chemical properties that can help stimulate uterine activity. We use a special combination of essential oils during a labor stimulation massage. Can't hurt - and sure smells good!

There's more to it, but we can't let all of our secrets out!

If you would like to make an appointment for a labor stimulation massage, we recommend you schedule your first session for 75 minutes so that we can do a full massage PLUS acupressure. (If you schedule 60 mins, we have to leave some of the massage out so that we have time for acupressure.)

We also recommend you come back daily, or as often as possible, for repeat sessions (only $58 each when you are coming daily for labor stim!) until you have the baby. Natural processes take time, and our approach is gentle and is more effective when repeated.

We have clients who SWEAR that we put them in labor. Maybe... but the thing is, that baby is going to come out one way or the other, so we can't take total credit for "putting a woman in labor with massage". It could be coincidence, or not, we just don't know. Sometimes women feel great relief from doing anything they feel helps them along in a gentle, natural, non-intrusive way.

We offer labor stimulation massage sessions to women who are 39 weeks and beyond, for whom no medical condition exists tht would make labor stimulation inadvisable. If we can help make your final days of pregnancy a little easier, please give us a call at 801-784-6511

Efficacy aside, I certainly can state unequivocally that having repeat massage sessions at the final stretch of your pregnancy will work wonders for your body, mind and soul.

Here's what our clients have to say:

I love Salt Lake Prenatal Massage. It's nice to go somewhere that has the facilities and tools to give you a quality prenatal massage. I know from experience that other places will offer prenatal massages but they don't even have the education or tools to do a good job. As a side note: I came in at 41 weeks pregnant for a labor stimulation massage from Rebecca Overson and it put me into labor. Thanks! If you are planning a natural birth be sure to schedule a massage here as you near labor. It will help you relax and prepare you for the birth. Not only it is SO relaxing, but Rebecca is incredibly supportive and makes you feel like you can accomplish anything in the world. I left feeling like a rockstar! - Mom of One, Salt Lake City, Utah


My baby was born the day after I last saw you!! Thanks again for the awesome massage!! I swear you have magic hands! My labor was fast and intense. I was having mild contractions that night, not unlike what I had all week, I got into bed and all of a sudden my water broke and I felt like i was in transition! 45 min later our daughter was born. We barely made it to the hospital in time. She is littlle, 5lb 11oz but healthy and happy. I am also feeling good.

Thanks again for fitting me in on such short notice. It was so nice meeting you. Take care!

RS, North Salt Lake, Utah
Mother of two

“I went to Salt Lake Prenatal Massage for a natural labor stimulation massage when I was 41 weeks along. It was incredible and absolutely worth it. I was lucky to have the owner, Rebecca Overson, as my massage therapist. Rebecca spent a lot of time working pressure points and relieving the tension in my body. She used an amazing blend of aromatherapy oils that she created herself.

I loved being able to relax and focus on my body and baby during the massage. Oh and being able to lay on my stomach was pure bliss!

Rebecca was a joy to visit with because we have very similar views on pregnancy and childbirth. Besides being a LMT she is also a trained birth doula. She knew exactly how to make a pregnant girl feel supported, empowered, and beautiful.

Rebecca went two weeks overdue with her first baby, so she could definitely empathize with me and also encourage me. Like me, Rebecca didn’t want to be induced and wanted to let the baby come on his own. It was so refreshing that when I walked in the door and she asked how far along I was that she didn’t say “Oh you poor thing!” Instead she said, “That’s normal!”

…follow up email received from the same woman only 7 hours later:

“Hey Heidi,

I was planning to schedule another natural labor stimulation appointment for next week but I am in labor now!  Please let Rebecca know I really appreciated the massage and I know it helped set things in motion.

Thanks, H.B.”




This is a follow up to the posts Top Ten Signs You are about to get a BAD Pregnancy Massage, and also, Basic Questions You Should Ask before Scheduling a prenatal massage ANYWHERE!

We are, to our knowledge, the only massage therapy clinic in UTAH that specializes in offering skilled massage therapy to childbearing women.

While there are many independent massage therapists who specialize in or offer pregnancy massage, we are the only location you can go with many options under one roof, and only one phone number to call for booking.

1. Approximately 90% of our clients are pregnant women.

2. We have worked on thousands of pregnant women since we opened in 2009.

3. All our massage therapists are licensed and insured.

4. All our massage therapists have completed a 25 hour training, developed by Rebecca Overson LMT, founder of Salt Lake Prenatal Massage. This training is currently only offered to employees. They are required to memorize and understand approximately 100 terms related to pregnancy and birth, watch dozens of training videos, and work hands-on with Rebecca and our staff trainer Kristen Tesch LMT, to demonstrate proficiency with positioning of clients during all three trimesters and postpartum massage. They are required to pass off skills for easing low back, pelvic, and neck pain during pregnancy. They are trained in the handling of basic emergencies that theoretically could arise (but rarely do). They are also trained to see birth and pregnancy as normal, to empower our clients in their choices, to promote prenatal education and it's importance in maternal and fetal health, and to love the heck out of clients and care deeply about them and their families.

PREGNANCY AND BIRTH IS OUR LIFE AND OUR PASSION... not just our "career". It's who we ARE, not what we do.

5. Our massage therapists, after completing training, are also required to complete an internship consisting of  4 to 25 practice sessions under supervision, on low-risk or high-risk women at various stages of pregnancy and/or postpartum. We select current clients that know what to expect from us, and we get their rigorous and honest feedback.

6. We teach them communication skills and offer sensitivity training to be aware of and nurturing of the emotional and physical needs of expectant women.

7. All our massage therapists practice on each other, rotating through the whole staff, before they ever work on a single paying client.

8. We have found that the vast majority of pregnant women PREFER to lie face down for a massage, if they know they can do so safely and comfortably. We can also lie her on her side if she wants, or for various other reasons (like being 38 weeks pregnant with twins - belly too large for our cushions to accomodate.) So yes... we do "let" our clients lie face down. Or on their side. We don't "require" either way - we let them choose.

9. We have invested in over $3500 in orthopedic body support cushions, wedges, and pillow for our massage therapists to use. We are experts in pregnancy comfort and positioning for massage.

10. Our office is fully equipped with everything pregnant women need to be comfortable. this includes but is not limited to snacks, fans, heaters, blankets, socks, water, bathrooms nearby, LARGE massage rooms with couches and armchairs (not tiny closet-size rooms), a robe in case you have to visit the restroom mid-massage... etc.

11. Many of our massage therapists are also  Doulas, which are trained, skilled, experienced labor and birth facilitators/coaches/support people, who offer guidance and true support to expectant women. Which means, not only do we offer amazing prenatal massage, we also help our clients through the whole process of giving birth.

12. We are confident with high risk pregnancies, low risk pregnancies, twins, triplets, c-sections, natural birth....miscarriage, loss,  infertility.... postpartum bleeding, leaky boobs, leaky fluids, giant maxi pads, swollen/large/tender breasts...

We are confident and qualified to work with you in any stage of pregnancy and motherhood. We love you and we are here for you no matter what.

13. Some of us are also childbirth educators and other birth specialists. The vast majority of us have also given birth ourselves. Not like that's required, but, it's embodied knowledge.

Meet our Staff HERE! Located in Salt Lake City at 4568 S Highland Drive Suite 245.

Hope that helps. Comments and questions welcome.

What is Placenta Encapsulation?

What is Placenta Encapsulation?

Article by Tiffany Hickenlooper

Placentophagy: the consuming of one’s own placenta after the delivery of the baby. Nearly all mammals consume their placenta after birth for numerous reasons. As humans it is believed that we used to consume our placentas when nourishment was an issue. The placenta contains hormones made by you, it also contains iron, minerals, and vitamins like B6. As an independent placenta encapsulation specialist I process the placenta using the Traditional Chinese Method which involves steaming the placenta (with lemon and ginger: yin/yang principle) after the steaming it is sliced thinly and put into a dehydrator, after it is completely dried it is put into a powerful blender to pulse into powder and finally put into empty capsules. I use gloves the entire process and follow all sanitization standards of practice. I use bleach and DisCide to cleanse my equipment. It takes approximately 24 hours for the process to be completed and I only process one placenta at a time to avoid cross contamination. All the equipment I use is only used for encapsulating placentas. The benefits of consuming the placenta from my client’s personal experiences are: *lessens bleeding *contracts the uterus *provides greater energy *lessens baby blues *increases milk production. You can read a few testimonials on my website at:www.UtahBirthDoula.com. Contact: Tiffanyom@hotmail.com For further information on placenta benefits visit: www.placentabenefits.info

How HypnoBabies differs from other Childbirth Hypnosis Programs

We are asked many times what is the difference between Hypnobabies and other natural childbirth or birth hypnosis programs, and here we answer that question by telling you what we do well without disparaging any other particular group. Other natural childbirth courses have excellent programs and benefits that have helped many women have better, more relaxed births. We recognize that and celebrate them and what they do every day for birthing women!

In Hypnobabies, our objectives are to help our pregnant couples bond with their baby in utero, teach you how to stay healthy and low-risk and be an excellent consumer, trust in your body, mind and baby, as well as become self-reliant and confident about birthing your own way; unmedicated, safely and in comfort. We overcome negative belief systems and programming, get you in touch with your own beautiful pregnant body, guide you through your own excellent birth experience and give you skills that you will use for the rest of your life. Birth Partners are brought into the preparation process and have their own hypnotic relaxation cues, as well as a special role to play as they await the birth of the precious newborn with our Hypno-mom. Since we use real medical hypnosis techniques, addressing the mind, body, and spirit of both Mother and Baby, our success rate is wonderful and very gratifying!

We are not a regular birth hypnosis class. Hypnobabies is very detailed and successful, uses medical hypnotic anesthesia techniques, from Gerald Kein's amazing Painless Childbirth program, as opposed to simple visualization and imagery, and contains the same kinds of hypnotic scripts used by people who undergo surgery successfully with hypnosis as their only anesthetic.

We also *fully* train our Birth Partners by giving them their own Birth Partner’s hypnosis CD for a calm and confident attitude towards pregnancy and childbirth, and their own detailed Birth Partner's Guide booklet for labor, which allows them to fully grasp their role in the preparation for baby’s birth as well as easily helping the Hypno-Mom during birthing. This is unique to Hypnobabies and we are very proud of this feature.

Hypnobabies can also be very successfully used by Single Mothers or those whose partners will not be participating in their birth preparation process. All of our hypno-anesthesia techniques can be easily learned, practiced and used alone, or with a Birth Partner or doula. We have specific CD sets and help for single Hypno-Moms, to make their Hypnobabies journey easier and more fulfilling.

Hypnobabies classes also provide excellent and Complete Childbirth Education, and we are the only birth hypnosis program that does so. Providing our *Complete Childbirth Education* ensures that our wonderful students will not have to take other natural childbirth classes whose philosophy is so different that it negates what they have learned in our birth hypnosis class. "Pain management and coping skills" are actually opposite of what is learned in Hypnobabies; we teach Pain Elimination by using real hypno-anesthesia.

Long before they ever step foot in their first Hypnobabies class, our Hypno-moms get to meet their baby and bond with him/her in a CD called Your Special Place, and the second track is Painless Childbirth, which helps teach you how childbirth can easily be so comfortable. (de-programming them from the usual childbirth horror stories, and written by Gerald Kein.) Each Hypno-Mom is able to learn deep relaxation and hypnosis skills for several weeks (or months!) before Hypnobabies Class even starts. This makes it much easier to learn her Hypnobabies Hypno-anesthesia Techniques in each class, bringing the Birth Partner into the preparation, (if they have one) and also how to use hypnosis for many other things: nausea elimination, back and hip pain, insomnia, pre-term labor, pre-term bleeding, perineal massage, internal exams, turning a breech, etc.

One main difference is that our students participate in a hypnosis script each week in class and then have that *same script to work with* for reinforcement during the next week, which makes a huge difference when programming the inner mind for success. It is called "compounding" in the world of hypnosis, is necessary for hypnotic suggestions to be retained by the woman's subconscious, and is unique to Hypnobabies classes.

Hypnobabies also has "Eyes Open Childbirth Hypnosis", which allows each wonderful Hypno-mom to walk and talk and move around freely yet remain very relaxed, fully present, aware and in touch with her body and baby and *completely comfortable while doing so*. Other programs rely on immobility for focus and concentration, which can severely impede the progress of labor and the descent and positioning of the baby. An upright, "Eyes Open Childbirth Hypnosis mommy means a faster and easier birthing!

We also do Birthing Rehearsals in class # 6 so that our Hypno-moms can experience using their actual Hypnobabies techniques and many different labor positions *while in hypnosis in class* which is invaluable, and also shows the Birth Partner hands-on exactly how to use his/her cues and assistance. What a confidence builder, and has made a huge difference in success rates here at Hypnobabies!

Also unique to Hypnobabies is our very successful Hypnobabies Birth Visualization, in which you can mentally and emotionally practice entering labor, experience your comfortable birthing techniques and give birth easily and in a very detailed and personal way. This “mental birthing rehearsal” is very important to the process of easy and comfortable birthing and is done many times until your Hypno-baby is born, helping program the subconscious mind to produce exactly the kind of birthing you want. Athletes like Tiger Woods and public speakers of all kinds do this to prepare with great success, and so do our Hypno-moms!

Our students also never have to guess how to make a cohesive *plan for birthing* using their Hypnobabies techniques; our program is very clear and concise and includes a Quick Reference Guide for each birthing couple to use during their labor. We also include our wonderful Birth Guide CD which keeps our Hypno-mom deeply in hypnosis with constant hypnotic relaxation and anesthesia suggestions for both the first stage of labor, and the pushing phase (NO “Ring of Fire”) as well as “positive birth team” hypnosis throughout. Birth Professionals are shocked at how completely relaxed and physically comfortable our Hypno-moms are, how easily they are able to move around and communicate and still be deeply hypnotized, and how “in control” they are of their bodies, minds and emotions. Our Hypnobabies students tell us that our Birth Guide CD is "Pure Gold!"

Unique to Hypnobabies: We require that our Certified Hypnobabies Instructors have a trained background in Childbirth and 50 hours of Hypnosis training before becoming trained as a Hypnobabies Instructor, so that *all* childbirth questions and concerns from each Hypno-couple can be addressed, hypnotic depth can be assessed, and problems such as resistance and abreaction can easily be dealt with.

Our Hypnobabies Instructors are always available for help before, during and after your Hypno-baby is born, and we also have a free Hypnobabies Yahoo e-mail group for our Hypno-moms to join for support and encouragement after your Hypnobabies class has ended, so that you can enjoy a community where others are using Hypnosis for Childbirth as well. We have daily tips and suggestions, childbirth hypnosis birth stories and a great deal of camaraderie.

Other programs have shorter and simpler childbirth hypnosis classes (8 - 10 hours of instruction as opposed to our 18) and may contain some excellent hypno-tools for birthing, but none contain the amount of information, in depth hypno-anesthesia, training, practice and support of Hypnobabies. All elements have been carefully designed to work together and the results are amazing even to ME. Not all of our Hypno-moms will have a completely pain-free birthing, yet for most it will be very close to it, and this makes all the difference in the world to so many women. Very gratifying!

Hypnobabies is an excellent choice for any woman wanting Hypnosis for Childbirth that works easily and beautifully!

Written By: Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI

Marinda Lloyd The Doula House L.L.C.

www.thedoulahouse.com 801-548-2917


A No-Frills Approach to Infant Massage

by Rebecca Overson, LMT
Founder/Director, Salt Lake Prenatal Massage

Many of you have asked about the Infant Massage classes at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage, so I thought I'd post a little something about it here.

Consider the following:

-Touch is natural. It's the first form of communication, long before words or gestures.

-Most people, unfortunately, associate touch with either punishment or sex. It is critical that children grow up with positive, safe, nurturing touch.

-Infant massage is not really about "relaxation" like it is for adults. For me, infant massage is about helping that child get used to their body and develop a healthy physical self-image. It's also useful for calming and soothing physical and emotional discomforts.

As children grow, so much of their experience revolves around physical development and discovering what their body can do. Massage for infants and children can be an important part of their physical and personal development.

Touch is a vital nutrient! Studies on Romanian orphanages in the 80s showed that while the children received adequate physical nutrition, they exhibited signs of merasmus (wasting away)/starvation. These children spent their time lying on their backs in a crib, staring at a ceiling or a wall and received little to no physical contact. Nurturing, physical touch is MORE IMPORTANT THAN FOOD and children suffer without it.

Premature infants who receive regular nurturing touch (massage) as part of their care tend to grow faster and leave the hospital earlier.

Alright, that being said, please know that there are many organizations out there that teach extensive courses on infant massage. Some charge $60-$100, include multiple sessions, and charge for a textbook. I personally don't think it has to be that complicated.

Our classes are $20, 90 minutes in length (mostly to accommodate unpredictable baby schedules!) and are straight-to-the-point. You'll learn a short but comprehensive repertoire of massage moves and baby activities that you can easily incorporate into your daily care routine. No books needed - just one handout and a demonstration, plus time for practice and Q&A.

Fun, straight, simple.

I have massaged and moved my children since birth. My boys are currently approaching their 3rd and 5th birthdays, and they ask for massage all the time. It's wonderful and amazing to see how they have developed the skill of delivering and receiving nurturing touch. My 3-year-old will lie in bed with me at naptime and stroke MY cheek. ADORABLE! One of his first words at 15 months was " 'ssage?" (as in 'Massage') and he'd stretch out his limbs and hold real still. Amazing.

Email info@SLCPrenatalMassage.com to register for our next infant massage class!

BREATHING for Pain Relief - in labor... and in life

by Mindy Bigler, LMT

Maternity Massage Specialist/Childbirth Educator, Salt Lake Prenatal Massage

Did you know that how you breathe can have a big impact on how well you cope with and feel pain?

Deep abdominal breathing can help reduce the amount of pain you feel during labor, help relax the muscles during a massage, and help you calm down during stressful events.

Abdominal breathing helps increase the amount of oxygen to the muscles to help them relax and also releases endorphin's that are natures pain relievers.

Abdominal breathing means breathing fully from your abdomen or from the bottom of your lungs.

It is exactly the reverse of the way you breathe when you’re anxious or tense, which is typically shallow and high in your chest. If you’re breathing from your abdomen, you can place your hand on your abdomen and see it actually rise each time you inhale. You’ll find that abdominal breathing will help you relax any time you are feeling anxious.

Let’s try an exercise together. Begin by closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing.

Are you:

breathing rapidly or slowly?

taking deep breaths or shallow breaths?

feeling the breath in the center of your chest, or down around your abdomen?

Most people tend to breathe in a slightly abnormal way, they tend to hold in their stomachs, make little use of their diaphragm, and breathe using the muscles of their upper chest, neck and shoulders. This is not the most effective way to get the needed oxygen to our brain and muscles.

If you watch babies or animals breathe, you will notice that they breathe with their whole bodies, their bellies rise and fall with each breath.

Cleansing breaths: deep abdominal breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Good to help calm and make rational decisions, ease fears, reduce anxiety, beneficial for both partner and mom to learn when working as a team during labor, and increases oxygen to the brain.

1. Place one hand on your abdomen right beneath your rib cage.

2. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose into the bottom of your lungs. Your chest should move only slightly, while your stomach rises, pushing your hand up.

3. When you have inhaled fully, pause for a moment and then exhale fully through your mouth. Purse your lips and imagine that you are blowing on a hot spoonful of soup. As you exhale, just let yourself go and imagine your entire body going loose and limp. It should take you twice as long to exhale as it did to inhale.

4. In order to fully relax, take and release ten abdominal breaths. Try to keep your breathing smooth and regular throughout, without gulping in a big breath or exhaling suddenly.

Learning how to do abdominal breathing and cleansing breaths can make your massages more productive, labor more effective and less painful, and is even good to teach your children to help them calm down.


Milady’s Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Massage by Mark F. Beck

Top Ten Signs You are about to get a bad "Pregnancy Massage"

by Rebecca Overson, LMT, Maternity & Fertility Massage Specialist, Birth Doula, Founder & Director of Salt Lake Prenatal Massage

Just because you CAN get a massage during pregnancy from any licensed massage therapist does not mean you SHOULD.

Think first for a minute about what your reasons are for wanting a massage.

Do you just want to be "pampered" and "relax"? Do you just want a short, 15 minute spot-treatment? If so, you're probably fine to go anywhere for a massage. If your expectations are very low, you probably won't be disappointed.

However, our experience tells us that most pregnant women really DO need SO much more than "pampering"! They are emotional. They aren't sleeping well. They are constantly uncomfortable. Some are actually under a lot of stress. Some are anxious about birth. Some are nervous or shy about their changing, unfamiliar body. They need so much more than a "gentle massage."

There is a vast difference between a massage therapist who "will" work on pregnant women, and a massage therapist who has worked on HUNDREDS of pregnant women.

You should know that most massage schools do NOT cover massage during pregnancy except a brief, maybe 1-2 hour overview of basic precautions.

You should also know that there is no "real" certification for prenatal massage. Here in Utah, to practice massage, you have to hold a license issued by the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. You get this after going to an accredited massage school, graduating, and passing a couple of tests, applying for a license and paying a fee every two years to keep your license current.

So, regarding pregnancy massage specifically - there are a handful of national pregnancy massage experts out there who offer continuing education to licensed massage therapists and massage therapy students on the topic of maternity massage. Those classes might be online only, or they might be as many as 50 hours or more of instruction time, and anywhere in between. There is no "authority" in other words, that determines that a person is qualified and expert and experienced in massage therapy for pregnancy and beyond. Someone who takes such a course receives a certificate of completion. They may or may not have to pass a test. They may or may not have to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. But they will call themselves "Certified in Pregnancy Massage."

Are you with me? 

It is therefore up to YOU, the CONSUMER, to understand what you are purchasing when you schedule an appointment for a prenatal massage. At worst - it can be downright dangerous to you and your baby if you go to a massage therapist who does not have a clue. At a minimum, more often than not it is a disappointing experience with someone untrained. Even if the therapist took a class on pregnancy massage, you might be the first pregnant woman they have touched. Experience counts.

We offer this article as a way to help you to understand that there is a difference - many times, a VERY BIG DIFFERENCE - between a massage therapist who will work on a pregnant woman, and a massage therapist who SPECIALIZES in it.

Here are the top ten signs you are about to get a bad Pregnancy Massage: 

1. You booked it at a spa, or at a massage chain, or with a massage therapist that does not specifically do prenatal massage. Trust me... you are probably only the  fifth pregnant client they've ever worked on. Pretty good chance they will rub lotion on you gently and if you are at a spa, you will pay way more than you need to for that kind of favor. ;) (Keep in mind that Prenatal Massage at a spa is likely to be more of a novelty - definitely not a specialty.)

2. They tell you that prenatal massage is a very light-touch massage, that they have to be very gentle with you, and no deep pressure work is allowed anywhere on your body. (This is simply not true.)

3. They are scrambling around looking for piles of towels and pillows with which to prop you up on your side. (This is a sign that they are NOT prepared, experienced, or equipped for this job.)

4. They insist you lie on your side, even though you are only 12 weeks along, or aren't even showing. (This is a sign that they don't really know much about pregnancy.)

5. They tell you that foot massage can cause a miscarriage, and explain that they can't massage your feet... or your hands.... or your lower back for that matter. (This is a sign they are not savvy  about pregnancy, are confused, misinformed, lack experience, and are afraid of hurting you.)

6. They won't let you book an appointment in your first trimester, nor will they book you too late in pregnancy in case you go into labor. (This is a sign that they don't know pregnancy, and are informed more by liability issues than by what is factual. You can totally have a massage WHENEVER YOU WANT in your pregnancy.)

7. They confidently claim the ability to INDUCE or PUT YOU INTO labor with acupressure at the end of your pregnancy.  (There's SO much more to it than that... sorry, there is no magic eject button that puts women in labor.)

8. They seem nervous about working on you. Or - clearly overly confident to make up for their true lack of experience. (This is a sign that they are not experienced.)

9. They have a "pregnancy massage table" - a table with a hole in it for your belly. (This is a sign that they haven't done their homework.)

10. They advertise pregnancy massage in a way that seems like pure fluff and "pampering". (This is a sign that they think you are fragile just because you are pregnant.)

Bonus: if anyone has you lie flat on your back after 16-18 weeks of pregnancy, they also lack pure common sense. :)

This article is likely to leave you with a lot of questions.... stay tuned for a follow up article. Comments and Questions Welcome!

BASIC Questions you should ask BEFORE you schedule a prenatal massage appointment ANYWHERE!

This is a follow up to the previous post "Top Ten Signs You Are About to Get a Bad Pregnancy Massage."

We realize that for practical reasons, we won't be able to accommodate every pregnant woman in the Salt Lake Valley for massage... although we sure try!

If for any reason you go anywhere else for prenatal massage, these are the questions you should get answered BEFORE YOU SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT.

If the therapist/staff cannot answer these questions, or don't answer them satisfactorily, be warned: You are about to get a bad pregnancy massage.

(At Salt Lake Prenatal Massage, you don't have to worry about any of this. :) Read about Salt Lake Prenatal Massage Staff qualifications here.


1. Has the massage therapist completed at least 16 hours in prenatal massage training? (Most schools do not offer more than 2 hours of "prenatal massage" training.)

2. How many pregnant women has this therapist actually worked on? (I would hope the answer is 15 or more).

3. What percentage of the therapist's clientele are expectant mothers? (I would hope the answer is 25% or more.)

4. What kind of positioning and equipment do you use during a prenatal massage, so that she is comfortable and safe?

THIS QUESTION IS VERY IMPORTANT for your safety and satisfaction, and warrants a bit of education here.

This what I mean by
Side-Lying position for massage. (Although this is a physical therapist - for massage she would be undressed and covered with sheets and towels. )

Please understand that the vast majority of massage therapists offering prenatal massage or pregnancy massage will only perform a massage while you lie on your side, or some variation of the following:

  1. starting on one side first, then flip you over half way to the other side
  2. starting on one side first, then turning you face up, reclined on a stack of pillows or foam wedges
  3. have you lie face up while reclining on a stack of pillows or foam wedges
  4. have you sitting up in a chair, leaning forward against pillows stacked on the massage table

Please know that giving a massage in these modified positions is not likely the therapist's "A" game; massage therapists have hundreds of hours of practice working on people face-down....not on their side or sitting up. Only the therapists who do a LOT of side-lying massage - and there are some out there - are likely to be quite skilled at it!

Regardless...if you are told you must lie on your side, the facility should have support cushions specifically for this purpose, OR they should be ready and skilled with 5-8 pillows (read on).

This shows the basic setup of BodyCushions for good side-lying support. You still need to add a few more pillows to get it right, but this is the basic setup.

We use "BodyCushions" which work very well as side-lying positioners, but there is an "Oakworks" side-lying positioner that is ONLY for side-lying massage as well. So if the answer to "how do you accomodate a pregnant body for massage is: "We lie you on your side with BodyCushions" or "We lie you on your side with special positioning cushions"  or "we lie you on your side with several pillows for support" you are probably OK ....

...as long as you are OK getting a massage while lying on your side the whole time, and as long as the therapist has done at least 20 massages on clients lying on their side. (Some women find that dreadfully uncomfortable on their hips and shoulders.)

It is also possible the therapist could have a bunch of bed pillows ready to support you on your side, instead of fancy cushions. But they should be READY and SKILLED with those pillows. (We've heard tales of pregnant women in spas watching the therapist scramble for stacks of towels and pillows. Ugh.) For side-lying massage using pillows as support, in our experience you need 5-8 pillows to do this right, not 2-3. Watch how I demonstrate this here... which is also a great demonstration of how you should be sleeping at night!

  • LIKE! LIKE! This is a clothed pregnant woman lying face down on BodyCushions. This is a fantastic option for face-down positioning for a pregnancy massage.

    NOTE: The BodyCushions are also useable for face-down position during pregnancy, which is what we do here at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage 99% of the time. Many prenatal massage teachers or therapists say this is "dangerous" or "risky." It is not. We know how to do it right. Our client base consists of pregnant midwives, pregnant physical therapists, pregnant obstetricians, pregnant perinatologists, pregnant labor and delivery nurses... they can not see one single safety issue with the proper use of bodyCushions. 

  • Besides, most of our clients DREAM of lying face down and are so excited to do so! NOTE: If you go elsewhere and they do in fact have BodyCushions, this will work, but ONLY if the massage therapist has the FULL pregnancy set with extenders, not the basic 4-piece set. If they only have the basic 4-piece set, you can not lie face down safely, beyond approximately 20 weeks. This is a video that demonstrates the pregnancy setup for BodyCushions.

JUST SAY NO to "Pregnancy Massage Tables".

If they DO offer a face-down option, make SURE it is NOT a table with a hole in it or any other gadget for "face down" other than the full pregnancy set of BodyCushions! Tables with holes do not adjust for tall or short or heavy or skinny women or belly size or breast size. They strain and cramp the lower back, and they also create pressure on the breasts - even worse, some "pregnancy belly hole" tables have removable plugs in the chest area for breasts. Come on.... cookie cutter? Not adaptable to your body at all. A Google Images search for "pregnancy massage table" yields all of these not-so good options that you can see here.   



So to recap, acceptable answers to question #4: What kind of positioning and equipment do you use during a prenatal massage, so that she is comfortable and safe?

a. On your side. We use special side-lying support cushions to support her body. Our therapists are very skilled at this and have many hours of practice.

b. On your side. We use several pillows and wedges. Our therapists are very good at this and skilled at this.

c. Face down using orthopedic Body Support Cushions called "BodyCushions," and face up in a reclined, supported position past 16 weeks of pregnancy. Yes, we have the FULL BodyCushion setup for pregnancy.

d. In a reclined, supported position. We use several pillows and wedges.

e. Any combination of the above.

Less-than-acceptable answers to question #4: What kind of positioning and equipment do you use during a prenatal massage, so that she is comfortable and safe?

a. Nothing. Pregnancy massage is the same as any other massage and doesn't require any special considerations.

b. We have special pregnancy tables with holes in them for your belly and breasts.

c. We have special cushions that let you lie face down during pregnancy. No, they aren't called BodyCushions.

d. Flat on your back. or Flat on your belly.

e. What do you even mean by that question?

f. We sit you up in a chair.

g. On your side with a couple of pillows. I think.

h. We just use some towels and pillows to prop her up here and there.

(And if, after reading this, YOU are the one explaining this to your massage therapist because you know more about pregnancy massage positioning than THEY do, it's a pretty good clue that you really should go elsewhere.)

Comments and Questions Welcome! Have a lovely and SAFE massage!

What makes Salt Lake Prenatal Massage awesome... and different than your "average" massage facility?


  1. 60 minute standard appointment - not 50 minutes like most places.

  2. Longer or shorter appointments are also available - 15 minutes all the way up to two hours.

  3. Our rates are incredibly reasonable, given that we are specialists in our field.

  4. Pregnancy and childbirth is our SPECIALTY. We are BONKERS about it.

  5. Most massage therapists have less than 2 hours education in pregnancy massage. They are scared to work on you.

  6. We have NINE massage therapists on staff that have completed advanced education as Maternity Massage Specialists.

  7. Advance training ….PLUS an internship…. in Prenatal & Postpartum Massage.  You aren’t the first pregnant woman they have ever worked on.

  8. Many of our massage therapists are ALSO birth doulas, childbirth educators, or other birth professionals.

  9. Many of us have been pregnant ourselves.

  10. Our staff is all female. (That matters to some people.)

  11. Doctors regularly refer their patients to us for massage and doula services.

  12. Midwives regularly refer their patients to us for massage and doula services.

  13. Doctors and Midwives and Nurses and Doulas and Childbirth Educators regularly come to US for massage - whether they are pregnant or not.

  14. Childbirth educators regularly tell their students about us.

  15. Doulas regularly refer their clients to us.

  16. Our staff is trusted and respected in the birthing community.

  17. We offer a discount to any Birth Professionals: only $40 for a 60-minute massage.

  18. We are a unique resource for expectant and new moms.

  19. We ROCK at Natural Labor Stimulation techniques.

  20. We have TWO locations - Salt Lake and Ogden - to serve you.

  21. We do not rush you in and out of your appointment. We leave 15 minutes downtime between appointments so that we have time to spend with you.

  22. Open Monday thru Saturday. Day time and Evening appointments available.

  23. You can lie face down. Safely. Comfortably.

  24. We run our appointments on time and we are not flaky. We respect your time.

  25. We can bill your insurance if your insurance covers massage therapy.

  26. We don’t treat you like you are fragile.

  27. We will work on whatever you want us to work on. You will get the massage YOU wanted, not the one routine we learned how to give in school.

  28. Our therapists are STRONG or GENTLE … or whatever you need. They know how to listen, how to communicate with you to make sure you get what you came for.

  29. We also have comfort options for large-breasted women. No pressure on the boobs… amazing.

  30. Lactating women welcome. No pressure on your boobs while lying face down either. We even provide disposable nursing pads so that you don’t leak on the sheets and have a cold, wet spot when you turn over.

  31. Postpartum women welcome. You can waddle in here with your giant maxi pads and mesh undies for your postpartum bleeding… heck, you might even leak on our sheets….and we will love you all the same.

  32. Water broke during the massage? We can handle that.

  33. Need to bring your newborn to your massage appointment? Not a problem.

  34. Need to nurse your newborn during the massage? Not a problem.

  35. Need some help going into labor naturally? We have that one figured out.

  36. Way better than your hubby’s backrub.

  37. Not afraid to massage your feet. It won’t put you in labor.

  38. Not afraid to massage you deeply where you need/want it. You aren’t fragile.

  39. We are EXPERTS at bringing relief to pregnancy-aching hips...most massage therapists SUCK at working on the glutes/hips. We excel at it. You will love it.

  40. Looking for info on helping breech babies turn naturally? We have that too.

  41. Trying to GET pregnant? We can help with that as well. We have three Certified Fertility Massage therapists on staff - you won’t find that service/skill anywhere else in Utah.

  42. Male clients and non-childbearing female clients are also welcome here. We take care of everyone.

  43. Our staff is trained to NOT say the things you should NEVER SAY to a pregnant woman… you know, those things that most people say, such as, “Wow, you are huge!”

  44. We can come to your home or hospital room for an additional charge, if it’s more convenient to you.

  45. We also offer prenatal & postpartum yoga in our classroom at our Salt Lake Location.

  46. We can teach you how to massage your baby or toddler.

  47. We guarantee your satisfaction 100%. You will LOVE your experience, or you won’t pay for it… or you’ll get a killer discount.

  48. We can help you give birth. Our Doulas are amazing.

What other reasons can YOU add? :)

Yoga for a Better Birth: 3 Week Series


Salt Lake Prenatal Massage presents Yoga for a Better Birth
A special 3 week series starting Monday August 12, 2013

Learn how yoga can help prepare you mentally and physically
for the kind of birth you want to have! The 3 part workshop will cover meditation, breath, and movement techniques that you can use before, during and after birth. With preparation and planning you can have a positive and peaceful birth experience.

Class dates are Monday Aug 12, 19th, and 26th from 6-8 pm at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage, 4568 S Highland Drive, Suite 245, Salt Lake City, UT 84117.

Space is limited and preregistration is required. Call 801-706-7680 or email Alicia@slcprenatalmassage.com for more information.

Cost: $75 pre-registered or $90 first day of class.
Please fill out this WAIVER and information form.

Join Rebecca Overson on the Utah EVOLVE Talk Radio Show November 6th 2012

HERE is the link to listen to the show's recording!

"Becoming a mom and giving birth is a rite of passage, a spiritual transition, an initiation into a new realm. A woman must put her blood, sweat, and tears on the line for the child she is birthing – to demonstrate that she has the strength to be a mother.


This is not a time to avoid pain, because motherhood is painful at times. This is not a time to seek comfort, because motherhood is not comfortable. This is not a time to shrink back, because motherhood requires that a woman reach deep inside her soul and show what she really stands for. It is in birth, that a woman must stand up, show her trust in herself,  her trust in God, and be consciously involved in a deliberate act of creation by giving her heart, might, mind, and strength to what is before her."


- Rebecca Overson


Join us for “EMPOWERED BIRTH” on the local Utah EVOLVE TALK RADIO SHOW today with host Sandi Elizabeth (www.sandielizabeth.com/category/radio-shows). Rebecca Overson, a Birth Doula, Maternity Massage Therapist, Clarity Coach and the owner of Salt Lake Prenatal Massage will be on the show to help prepare you to harness your incredible feminine power of co-creation to experience a peaceful birth.


HERE is the link to listen to the show's recording!

Is Motherhood Killing Your Back?! Pregnancy/Postpartum Back Pain

by Jen Larsen, Maternity Fitness Expert

Today's topic: BACK PAIN! Whether you're pregnant or postpartum, being a mother takes a mega toll on your back. So in this post we will discuss the aches and pains, the whys, the hows and some things to help you get some relief.

We'll start with pregnancy first. Well, let me back up. If at all possible, it's best to start working on core, pelvic, and all-over strength before your baby is conceived. So if you're reading this and trying to get pregnant or thinking about it, start strengthening your core, pelvis, upper back, shoulder muscles & leg muscles now! If you are pregnant already - do not worry! You can never start too late. Before I offer up some advice and techniques, we need to talk about why your back hurts so much.

  1. Your new belly weight from a growing baby, expanding uterus, amniotic fluids and such creates a forward "pull" around your midsection. Most abdominal muscles are not prepared for pregnancy and your growing uterus weakens your abdominal muscles (which definitely happens if your abs start to separate - aka a diastasis recti) which then leaves your spine and back to do all the work of supporting this new weight.
  2. Your added breast weight. This plays into upper back pain soreness from supporting your growing breasts in preparation for birth. I'm going to hold off on addressing this for the postpartum section since breastfeeding and holding a new infant in your arms is when this upper back pain worsens for most moms. (Rebecca Overson calls it "Nursing Neck")
  3. Changes in your center of gravity.  While pregnant, your growing belly changes your center of gravity and throws your posture off. This takes some adjusting and often when we are not prepared for this change in center of gravity, our back and spine again take the brunt of the work.
  4. A hormone called Relaxin. This hormone has so many great functions (like allowing your pelvis to shift so you can give birth) but can also loosen things up so much that you can lose some stability - specifically pelvic stability. Because your uterine ligaments are relaxing, other muscles have to take over the job of supporting your growing belly. Again, here comes the back muscles and spine to the rescue!
  5. Posture is another factor. If you are uneasy and unsure of your changing body your posture may get more and more hunched over as you progress in your pregnancy. Don't be ashamed - stand up straight and be proud of your belly!

Now let's chat about the cause of postpartum backache:

  1. Added breast weight. I added this into the list above but will now explain a little more. As your breasts become heavier and more full, often women start to hunch over. This could be because of posture issues and not being comfortable with your new growing and changing body. It can also be because of a lack of strength in your chest and upper back muscles to support the new weight of your breasts, so your spine comes in to take the load off your potentially weak and tired muscles.
  2. Breastfeeding. The added weight of your breasts plus your posture while breastfeeding can attribute to a lot of upper and lower back pain. Posture and sufficient support for the weight of your baby are crucial in this aspect.
  3. Carrying around your baby. Whether trying to soothe your baby, picking him/her up, carrying a car seat or any kind of front baby carrier etc. is just adding more weight to the front of your body, which compounds the stress on your upper back & shoulders and lower back.

Phew! Now that we have gone over all the reasons WHY your back hurts so darn much, we need to talk about ways to relieve this pain. You thought I'd never get to the point, huh? :)

Without over-complicating the answers, below are some easy tips and methods to lessen back pain. Some of these may be more or less relevant whether you are pregnant or postpartum (so email me if you have questions) and like always, check with your doctor or midwife before starting any kind of new fitness program.

  • Strengthen your muscles! The most important for upper & lower back pain are abdominal strengthening including lower back muscles - aka work those TRANSVERSE ABDOMINALS. (If you don't know what those are, come to an Ab Rehab Class or schedule a session with me. I'll teach you all about it.) Second, strengthen your upper back and posterior (back) shoulder muscles. Third, your glutes, quads and hamstrings. If you can use your legs to pick up your baby (and anything else for that matter) instead of your back, you will save yourself from a lot of lower back pain. By all means don't stop there if you have time. Getting a full body workout to strengthen the majority of your major muscle groups will help immensely. These are just the main ones to start with to help ease back pain.
  • Stretch gently! Lengthen the muscles that are tightened. The most important are your chest muscles, lower back and hips to relieve tension.
  • Be aware of good posture. Belly up, chest out ladies! Don't be ashamed of your changing body. It's beautiful and the fact that you are carrying a baby or just gave birth is something to empower and boost your self esteem not the other way around.
  • Meditate, breathe! and get some YOU time. Work on deep breathing and meditation exercises to relax you and help center you back to what is important. This gives you time worry about YOU (for a change) and if pregnant connect with your baby. Once you give birth, it is important to bond with your baby so involve them in your relaxation sometimes...but make sure you have alone time to regroup and center without any little ones around too. This is important because a lot of us hold stress in our backs. I didn't mention this on the list but it is also a major contributor to back pain.
  • Come in for a massage! Your body needs support through all the changes.  Our therapists here at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage especially will be able to target exactly what you need since they are masterful working on pregnant and postpartum women.
  • See a chiropractor. Pregnancy & Family Chiropractors are able to skillfully support a pregnant woman's spine. Dr. Reynolds, our chiropractor at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage, does an excellent job of easing all kinds of back, neck, and hip pain.
  • Sleep properly supported. Check out Rebecca's videos on How to Sleep Comfortably During Pregnancy.

I hope this post helps those of you reading that are struggling with back pain. There is hope to enjoy your pregnancy and motherhood with less pain!

As always, if you have questions about anything health/fitness/wellness related or if you'd like to schedule a free Maternity Fitness Evaluation, please email me at  jen(at)slcprenatalmassage.com


Client Testimonial: Thanks for the Natural Labor Stimulation Massage Session

Here's a sweet testimonial we just received from H.B. in Salt Lake City, Utah. She came in for a massage on Friday, July 8, 2011...

"I went to Salt Lake Prenatal Massage for a natural labor stimulation massage when I was 41 weeks along. It was incredible and absolutely worth it. I was lucky to have the owner, Rebecca Overson, as my massage therapist. Rebecca spent a lot of time working pressure points and relieving the tension in my body. She used an amazing blend of aromatherapy oils that she created herself.

I loved being able to relax and focus on my body and baby during the massage. Oh and being able to lay on my stomach was pure bliss!

Rebecca was a joy to visit with because we have very similar views on pregnancy and childbirth. Besides being a LMT she is also a trained birth doula. She knew exactly how to make a pregnant girl feel supported, empowered, and beautiful.

Rebecca went two weeks overdue with her first baby, so she could definitely empathize with me and also encourage me. Like me, Rebecca didn't want to be induced and wanted to let the baby come on his own. It was so refreshing that when I walked in the door and she asked how far along I was that she didn't say "Oh you poor thing!" Instead she said, "That's normal!"

...and we received THIS email from her, only 7 hours later:

"Hey Heidi,

I was planning to schedule another natural labor stimulation appointment for next week but I am in labor now! :) Please let Rebecca know I really appreciated the massage and I know it helped set things in motion.



You're most definitely welcome, H.B.! We LOVE supporting our clients!

Diastasis Recti: Help for the post-pregnant belly

by Jennifer Holland, BS, Pre-/Post Natal Fitness Specialist

A diastasis recti (say "dye-AS-sta-SIS rect-eye"), or abdominal separation, happens in a large percentage of pregnancies, usually occurring sometime in the latter half of pregnancy. A diastasis is when the left half and right half of the rectus abdominus (the "six pack" abs that run up and down) migrate apart because of the widening and thinning of the connective tissue that joins both sides. This separation occurs because of the force of the growing uterus against the abdominal wall, and also because of hormones ("relaxin" - the hormone that softens connective tissue) and weight gain. (If you haven't seen Rebecca's Diastasis Self-Check video, click HERE to watch it and perform the self test. Or watch video below - if it doesn't show, hit Refresh!)


A diastasis is typically measured in finger widths - how many of your own fingers fit into the gap. One finger is pretty normal, two to three finger widths is a diastasis, and if it's four or more finger widths, it's super-critical that you work on rehabilitating your abs.

Before we dive in more, let's debunk some major myths about diastasis recti.

MYTH 1: Abdominal separation causes permanent damage to core muscles that cannot be repaired
MYTH 2: Abdominal separation can only be fixed with surgery
MYTH 3: Abdominal separation leaves women with a bulgy "jelly belly" that will not go away
MYTH 4: Abdominal separation causes pain and will leave your abs weaker forever

These are ALL untrue! FALSE!

Only in serious cases would surgery be required, but for most of us, there IS HELP! :) I've read about women closing a 6-7 finger-width diastasis on their own.

In some cases, a diastasis will correct itself and close naturally after birth. However for most post-partum women, specific techniques and exercises, and in some cases, short-term use of a therapeutic abdominal support garment is needed to close this gap and regain abdominal integrity. (We have some belly support options for ya here at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage).

There are several reasons to repair your postpartum belly. First of all, diastasis recti reduces the integrity and functional strength of the abdominal wall which can lead to lower back pain, pelvic instability (hyper mobile joints), inadequate protection to your internal organs, and core instability. Second, diastasis causes a bulging of the tummy which is a cosmetic negative drawback for many.

But have no fear! There are several techniques and easy exercises you can do every day to regain your abdominal integrity, close your abdominal separation and actually increase your abdominal strength to decrease your chances of separation in future pregnancies.

To delve into these techniques and learn more on what NOT to do (crunches and situps worsen the condition) and what to DO to close the separation, register for our new Ab Solution Seminar by emailing info@SLCPrenatalMassage.com.

Our next 90 minute Ab Solution Seminar is Saturday, December 4th 2013, from 4-6pm.

The cost is $40.

Five person minimum required to hold class. Preregistration is required. 

To register or ask questions, call 801-706-7680 or email info@slcprenatalmassage.com

Join us for Infant Massage & Movement Classes

Hi Friends, we have two upcoming Infant Massage & Movement Classes!

Thursday, April 20th 9:30-11am

Sunday, May 1st, 3-4:30pm

The cost is $20 and registration is required. Ideally for babies who are not yet crawling (but that's not a requirement!) Newborns are OK too as long as their umbilical cord stump has fallen off, and also as long as you are OK with them being around a small group of other babies.

You'll learn the basics of infant massage so you can start delivering focused, nurturing touch right away. This class is simple and straight-to-the-point, based on the idea that loving touch is a natural instinct for parents. With a little guidance, you'll learn how to best incorporate infant massage into your baby care routine.

For parent(s) and baby. We just roll with it... babies are unpredictable... so just come prepared for anything but MOSTLY to have a GREAT TIME!

Bring an extra blanket and a large soft towel. All other materials provided.

Call 801-706-7680 to register, or email info@SLCPrenatalMassage.com. Space is limited.

More classes in May and June coming up, including an Introduction to Baby Signing Time. Ask to be added to our list for more info!



A Mother's Day Gift She'll REALLY Appreciate!

Holy Mackerel, we have two super-cool gift certificate packages for Mother's Day.

Man, she is really gonna love this.

Check this out.

From now through Saturday, May 7th, 2011:

1) Purchase a $100 gift certificate for massage therapy services for Mother's Day,  and you'll also get the following fabulous goodies:

2) Purchase a $199 Gift Certificate and you'll get all this, PLUS your choice of ONE of the following items, FREE!

Quantities are limited! First come, first serve.

Call us at 801-706-7680 to purchase, or email info@SLCPrenatalMassage.com so we can assist you!

P.S. if your spouse/partner needs a little nudge, feel free to email their contact info to us and we'll happily give them a call to make sure you get what you want, mama!


Can the Webster Technique help turn breech babies?

by Rebecca Overson, LMT
Clinic Owner/Director/Maternity Massage Specialist

I asked this question to our resident Prenatal Chiropractor, Dr. Shaun Reynolds, who is now offering pregnancy and family chiropractic at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage. Dr. Reynolds is certified in the Webster Technique, which is a chiropractic method specifically designed for the treatment of pregnant women.


Dr. G. Shaun Reynolds, DC

Here’s the official explanation:

"The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nerve system and balances maternal pelvic muscles and ligaments. This in turn reduces torsion in the uterus, a cause of intra-uterine constraint of the baby and allows for optimal fetal positioning in preparation for birth."

In other words, if the baby is in a less-than-optimal position for birth, one thing to consider is the balance of the uterine ligaments. (I have a poster in our office illustrating a pregnant uterus and the uterine ligaments – they are amazing!)

The uterus is suspended and supported by

    • "Round ligaments" in the front that attach the uterus to the pubic bone
    • "Broad ligaments", like a wide sheet extending outward from the uterus, attaching to the inside of the wide pelvic bones
    • The "utero-sacral ligament" which extends from the uterus and attaches just above the tailbone.

Ever-increasing tension on the ligaments as the uterus grows can create all kinds of crazy hip/pelvic/tailbone pain.

The Webster technique, simply put, focuses on balancing these uterine ligaments and their bony attachments.

Sometimes, if the pelvis and ligaments aren’t balanced, the baby has less room to move, and they’ll favor one position over another.

Ideally, you want the baby head down, facing the back of your pelvis, when it’s time to give birth. (By the way, I read somewhere that many babies remain in a breech position until about 38 weeks and then turn head-down.)

Although the Webster technique does not claim to treat breech births, it has been shown to be approximately 85% successful in helping to prevent breech birth presentations by reducing intrauterine constraint.

This is why chiropractic care during pregnancy can make a big difference! Dr. Reynolds is proficient in the Webster Technique and a variety of gentle, safe chiropractic techniques to provide all necessary therapies to assist expecting mothers during pregnancy and throughout motherhood.

And here’s a plus: Dr. Reynolds is offering complimentary consultations to any of our clients (past, present, and future!) who are interested in how the Webster Technique can improve your wellness and the well-being of your baby throughout pregnancy and during labor and delivery. Call Dr. Reynolds directly at 801-810-4144 to schedule an appointment. Also, feel free to ask Dr. Reynolds any questions by replying to this post or or on our Facebook page.

We're so excited to have Dr. Reynolds on our team, providing quality chiropractic care!