The benefits of massage are well-known... stress reduction, improved circulation, pain relief for achy muscles, and so much more.
But many people aren't aware that massage carries those benefits and many others for pregnant people as well! In fact, several studies have shown that there are decreased rates of premature labor and depression in pregnant and postpartum women, for a start. Massage can be wonderful after birth as well - postpartum massage can help ease the tension from the shoulders of new parents doing a lot of baby-holding in those early weeks!
Many of our clients aren't aware that it's generally safe to receive massage during pregnancy or shortly after birth. And by extension, there is even less awareness that some massage therapists actually SPECIALIZE in this population!
We're lucky to have MiMi Lopez-Steele in our community. She is a massage therapist here in Orange County who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum massage, and she graciously shared her story and her passion for offering massage to those who are pregnant or who have recently given birth. We hope you'll enjoy getting to know her!
Tell us about your background, your work as a massage therapist, and how you came to work with women during the childbearing year.
I was led to birth work after the birth of my second child. With a traumatic first birth, I desired a very different experience. I birthed my second child at home with the guidance and support of a lay midwife. My life was forever changed by the sacred journey of birth.
By the time my third son came, I knew I wanted to dive deeper into supporting women in birth; therefore, I was led by spirit to massage school.
After graduating from Capelli School of Massage in Atlanta Georgia in '99, I continued with a specialty certification in Pregnancy Massage with Carole Osbourne-Sheets. This path opened many doors and insights to assist women to go deeper within as they prepare for their sacred journey into motherhood.
How can massage help women throughout the journey of fertility, pregnancy, and the postpartum period?
I believe that when a woman is in tune, she is able to connect to her inner voice, to listen and honor what feels right for her. When she comes from this space of knowingness she is honoring HER truth.
Massage offers an abundance of benefits on many different levels, both physically and emotionally. As it relates to fertility, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, massage provides us the opportunity to slow down and breathe into the present moment. Once in the moment, we truly begin to feel our body, listening to what it is saying and the guidance it is giving us. I strongly believe this is such an important part of the journey of fertility, pregnancy, birth and beyond.
In pregnancy, when a woman is able to slow down and tune in, she knows her body’s cravings of food, when the body needs to rest, and honors each step of her sacred journey.
As labor begins, she feels one with her body and baby. To listen and TRUST is where the journey of self-empowerment begins. When a woman claims her power by listening to her body and her baby, she is able to step into motherhood with a stronger sense of confidence.
After birth, as you are getting to know your new baby and adjust to motherhood, this SACRED journey can feel a bit overwhelming. I do believe that when a woman feels connected to herself and grounded, it can assist greatly in alleviating many unnecessary stressers and create a deeper sense of confidence in her mothering.
Massage provides us the opportunity to slow down and breathe into the present moment.
Is massage something people should turn to when they are having a pressing issue, or is it more valuable to receive regular care?
I believe that massage is beneficial at ANY time. When we are able to slow down, be it regularly or randomly, it benefits the body as a whole.
Are there any common misconceptions about getting massages during pregnancy or after giving birth that you want to clear up?
I have heard many times that women have been told NOT to get massage during the first trimester. But if you have no contraindications and are working with a therapist who is certified in pregnancy massage, it can be very beneficial during this time.
Are there any times during pregnancy or after birth when massage is not recommended?
Yes, there are and can be contraindications for massage during pregnancy and as well per trimester. An experienced pregnancy massage therapist will be aware of such issues and guide their clients accordingly.
I believe a woman should first and foremost follow her intuition as to whether massage speaks to her. When someone is in doubt or question, they should ALWAYS consult their midwife or doctor.
What can a new massage client expect from their first visit with you?
I do an intake on her pregnancy and prior pregnancies and births to date. This gives me a deeper understanding of any possible physical or emotional traumas that may need healing. I also want to be sure that there are no physical contraindications.
I want to know where she is emotionally and how she feels about her pregnancy and birth. This gives a better understanding of how I may be of the most assistance along the journey.
My desire is to assist women in self-empowerment, creating a space where they feel safe to tune deeply in preparation for her birth.
What do you feel are your particular strengths as a massage therapist?
I believe that my strength is the art of connecting to a women and providing her the space to relax and tune in deeply to herself.
What is your favorite part of working with parents during the childbearing year?
I would say that guiding a woman to SELF empower is what I enjoy most. SHE knows best!
What are your massage rates?
Massages are $85 for a 60 minute massage
MiMi's contact information
MiMi sees clients in her home in Ladera Ranch by appointment only.