Ok, so I have loads of pregnant clients who see me for prenatal massage services. They all feel the benefits of the therapy, and they come back every week, same time, until they give birth.
So what about after the baby is born? Obviously there is recovery time. But new mothers tend to fall into this pattern of letting their own care go completely by the wayside after the baby is born. I did it myself. It's difficult not to. We have a new little one to take care of day and night. But meanwhile, your abs are weakened(or torn open, if you had a c-section). Your relaxin hormone has begun to fade, so your muscles are starting to get tighter. Your upper back hurts from holding the baby, compromising good posture. Your hips are realigning, most likely unevenly, causing problems with your low back. Your breasts hurt from both engorgement and chest muscles tightening from holding the baby all the time. And, of course, you are absolutely exhausted because, well, you're a new mom.
Solution: yes...massage can actually help most of these issues. Postpartum massage requires special training to understand the physiological changes you are going through and how to help your body return to normal. Abdominal massage helps to strengthen your abs back up(who doesn't want that??), and in the case of C-sections, can reduce the overall appearance of the scar and return feeling to your abdomen's skin(yes, you can lose feeling with the surgery). More importantly it can break up the internal scar tissue which have potentially negative effects on subsequent pregnancies. Massage will sooth those tense muscles in your lower back, and help strengthen the ones in your upper back that are probably too lengthened now.
There is even breast tissue massage for clogged milk ducts, and loosening your pec muscles(besides it's application for mastectomy and breast reduction recovery). There is currently no one in Seattle who offers breast tissue massage, but I'm working on getting that certification by the year's end.
Massaging you cannot make your baby sleep longer through the night, but it may help you get a bit of relaxation and recovery time, so you just might have enough energy to help you get on with that wonderful and terrifying new task of being mommy!