Pregnancy, as most would know, comes with its fair share of aches and pains. As your body grows and changes, it puts a strain on your lower back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders, thus changing your entire center of gravity. Your hips and pelvis become sore due to the ligaments becoming loosened. Your general posture is changed, add to that the extra weight you’re carrying, and it can really become a lot to handle.
Contrary to popular belief, one can get massaged while pregnant because the most beneficial time for massage may be during this overwhelming time.
Massage is therapeutic and it can help the expecting mother to relax and manage their stress levels, which is especially essential during this tricky time.
However, always be sure to get the green light from your doctor ahead of time.
Some doctors hesitate to advise massage during pregnancy because there is a huge variation in training. There is also a lack of certification standards nationwide. This is especially true for the specialty of pregnancy massage
In the study of Health and Skincare, we learn that qualified prenatal massage therapists are available and they make use of techniques designed specifically to address pregnancy challenges. It is based on the principles behind Swedish massage techniques, and lymphatic drainage. These techniques in particular help with reducing muscle tensions and improving blood flow.
Some practitioners use a pregnancy massage table. That’s a table designed to accommodate a woman’s pregnant belly. Others use specially designed pillows called bolsters to position a woman comfortably on their side. This helps especially during the later stages of pregnancy. Lying on your side is often the most comfortable position.
Should you wish to study HEALTH AND SKINCARE, you will learn that for safety purposes, qualified pregnancy massage therapy experts do not perform deep massage and strong pressure on the legs. Using strong pressure could dislodge a blood clot. Instead, they use very light, slow strokes on the legs which is safe to have a massage during the first trimester.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine advises all pregnant women to consult with their doctor before trying massage.
Whether you get a massage from a professional, from your partner, or you self-massage, it should be relaxing, soothing, and rejuvenating.
The following are some benefits of prenatal massage:
- Encourages relaxation and reduces anxiety and depression
- Reduces high blood pressure and stretch marks
- Helps alleviate muscle and joint pain
- Improves breathing, digestion, and sleep
- Improves mom and baby’s health by reducing the negative impacts of stress such as gestational hypertension, prematurity, and low birth weight
- Helps the mom feel more at ease and in touch with herself and her baby
- Contributes to easier, shorter labors by lowering cortisol levels
- Lower Risk of Postpartum Depression
- And it helps mom feel so good about herself.
When to Avoid Pregnancy Massage
In HEALTH AND SKINCARE, you could advise your pregnant client to get clearance from their doctor before they try a massage, especially if:
- You’re experiencing nausea, vomiting, or morning sickness
- You’re at high risk of miscarriage
- You have a high-risk pregnancy such as placental abruption (where the placenta slightly detaches from the wall of the uterus) or preterm labor
- Avoid going for a massage in the first trimester, as it can increase the risk of miscarriage
- Avoid using oils such as rosemary, oregano, peppermint, thyme, and sage as they can lead to uterine contractions
- Avoid pregnancy massage on a pregnancy bed in the third trimester as the belly can hang unsupported and may cause stretching of the uterine ligaments
- History of blood cloths
- Varicose veins
- If you have open wounds, skin injury, skin infections, or eczema
Safety Precautions that should be taken by expecting mom.
- Avoid compressing your belly
- A void lying down on your stomach unless you can do so without pushing on it.
- Talk to your Healthcare provider first
- Tell your qualified massage therapist that you are pregnant
- Ask your massage therapist to perform a patch test before using certain oils on your body
- A pregnancy massage is usually an hour long but, you can shorten the time if you start to feel uncomfortable.