Relief for Hands and Feet
Once your back is feeling better and your legs more relaxed, your partner can use massage to reduce swelling in your hands and feet. As with leg massage, your partner's goal should be to get your blood circulating, moving fluid away from your toes, fingers, hands, and ankles. Again, your partner should always begin massaging at the end of the fingers and toes and work toward the center of your body, or the heart. "This can definitely help ease swelling," says Condon. "For those sore legs, use circular motions to push fluids out of the feet and back into the body."
Drink plenty of water after your massage, advises MacInnis. Hydrating your body will also help reduce swelling.
TV-Watching Massage Techniques
Your massage doesn't have to be an event. Keep your partner interested in massage by making it easy and convenient. This simple technique can be done while watching TV, with you sitting on a hardback chair against the wall. Your partner sits on the floor in front of you leaning his back against your knees. According to Howell, this brings comfort to your lower back and pelvis.
Karen Sprung, director of the Red Lane Spa at the Royal Plantation resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, suggests the 10-for-10 rule: Tell your partner that you'll give him 10 minutes of massage for every 10 that he gives you. While you're watching TV, have your partner gently rub your back, knead your shoulders, or simply brush your hair.
Alternatives to Massage
If you're nauseated or feeling uncomfortable, wait until you're feeling better for your massage. Instead, try cuddling with your partner. "Holding [your pregnant partner] and doing something simple like stroking her scalp can make a huge difference," says Condon. "There is a healing power in touch."
Another alternative might be taking a walk together. "Walking is probably the best activity to keep circulation going, while still being able to have some quality time together and just chat," says Sprung. "Top off the walk with a nice warm bath and a cool, refreshing fruit drink served in a candlelit bathroom, with music to soothe both the mother and the baby, and that can be just as beneficial."