When to Use Effleurage During Labor

This gentle, slow, long, and unbroken stroke using the tips of the fingers aims to provide comfort and ease tension for the laboring mother. By employing effleurage, the gate of pain can be closed, allowing for a reduction in the perception of pain. Additionally, this massage technique stimulates the production of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving hormones, providing a sense of relief and promoting a more positive birthing experience. Knowing when to use effleurage during labor can greatly contribute to a smoother and more manageable journey for both the mother and her support team.

When Is Effleurage Used in Pregnancy?

When is effleurage used in pregnancy? This approach is effective, has no side effects, and can lessen contraction-related labor discomfort for mothers in active phase 1 of labor. It’s thought that effleurage massage can alleviate labor discomfort during the initial portion of the active phase.

Effleurage is typically used when a woman starts experiencing regular and intense contractions during the active phase of labor. This is usually when the cervix has dilated to around 4 to 7 centimeters. Effleurage involves gentle, rhythmic strokes on the lower back, belly, and hips using the palms of the hands. It’s believed that this technique helps to soothe the nervous system and relax the muscles, thereby reducing pain and discomfort.

These endorphins help to reduce the perception of pain and promote a sense of relaxation.

It’s important to note that effleurage isn’t appropriate for all women during labor. It should be avoided if the woman has certain medical conditions or complications, such as a high-risk pregnancy, placenta previa, or a previous history of preterm labor. Each womans labor experience is unique, and what works for one woman may not work for another.

Other Massage Techniques That Can Be Used During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, in addition to effleurage, there are several other massage techniques that can be used to provide relief and relaxation. One such technique is petrissage, which involves kneading and compressing the muscles. This can help to reduce tension and promote blood circulation.

Another technique is Tapotement, which uses quick, rhythmic movements such as tapping or slapping to stimulate the muscles. This technique can be particularly useful for relieving stiffness and increasing energy levels.

Friction is another massage technique that can be beneficial during pregnancy. It involves using circular movements or deep pressure to target specific areas of tension or discomfort. Friction can help to loosen tight muscles and alleviate pain.

It’s important to note that when receiving a prenatal massage, it’s essential to consult with a certified prenatal massage therapist who’s experience and training in working with pregnant women. They’ll be able to assess your specific needs and tailor the treatment accordingly.

Remember, always consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating any new techniques into your pregnancy journey.


In conclusion, effleurage massage during labor can be a beneficial technique to provide comfort and relaxation to the mother. This gentle, slow, and unbroken stroke using the fingertips can effectively close the gate of pain and promote the production of endorphin hormones. By utilizing effleurage during the latent phase of stage I labor, women can experience reduced pain and increased feelings of calmness and well-being. This technique can be a valuable tool for healthcare providers to offer their patients, providing them with a sense of control and comfort during the challenging process of labor.

Scroll to Top