MotherTouch: Touch Techniques for Birth
Produced and directed by Leslie Piper and Leslie Stager

[2009, Portland, Oregon: MotherTouch Films; $55.00, 78 minutes, DVD.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 92, Winter 2009/2010, © 2009, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Teri Myers.]

Also including scenes of nurturing touch and massage in practice in a variety of labors and births and comments from the new mamas and their birth attendants, this companion film to Nurturing Touch for Birth starts up where the previous film left off.

“Touch is a language that arises before words and is understood beyond words….It is a nourishment so necessary that it can actually supersede a newborn’s need for food.”

Featuring narration by licensed massage therapist and registered nurse Leslie Stager, Touch Techniques for Birth takes on more of a “how-to” role than its predecessor. Part 1 focuses on introductory topics such as “Assessing Touch Effectiveness,” “Creating a Birth Massage Kit,” and “Remembering Self-Care.” Part 2 delves into the nitty-gritty: specific touch techniques for supporting a birthing woman, including detailed instruction on general massage strokes and acupressure points for use during labor, as well as particular techniques for pain relief, reducing anxiety and encouraging a stalled labor, among others. Each section covers a different part of the body, complete with appropriate techniques, benefits and contraindications; each one ends with a review of the key points covered. One outstanding feature of this film is the lack of staged (or staged-appearing) visuals. Almost all techniques described by the narrator are accompanied by footage of the technique in use in what appears to be an actual labor or birth.

Once again, the two women of MotherTouch Films have created a must-have video for anyone who works with birthing women, especially doulas and massage therapists, but also including midwives and nurses. While some parts may be more technical than what is desired by the layperson, this film also makes a great instructional video for partners, companions and family members planning to attend a loved one’s birth.

Reviewer Teri Myers is a budding farmer, holistic health counselor and licensed massage therapist, as well as the acting managing editor for Midwifery Today magazine.