Pregnancy massage or prenatal massage is a therapeutic bodywork that focuses on the physiological, structural and emotional well being of mother and baby.
It may include Swedish, deep tissue or neuromuscular, and after the first trimester, pregnancy massage can be safely enjoyed by most pregnant women.
The human touch conveys love and comfort. Throughout pregnancy and during labour, pregnancy massage can be especially beneficial to alleviate aches and pains reduce stress and help you to relax.
How Pregnancy Massage Differs From Regular Massage
The major difference between pregnancy massage and regular massage is that the person receiving the massage is pregnant. An obvious point to state perhaps, but nevertheless very important.
When massage a pregnant woman it is very important that the practitioner have knowledge of pregnancy and the anatomy, as positioning during a massage is a critical factor to the safety of both mother and baby.
The second difference is that certain parts of the body should not be massaged.
Pregnancy Massage – What are The Benefits?
The experience of pregnancy can have a profound physiological and emotional effect on a woman. Coming to terms with the changes in her body, and the impending lifestyle changes can be quite stressful.
Pregnancy massage has been used for many years in many cultures to provide a nurturing touch and emotional support to expectant mothers, other benefits include:
olessened sciatic pain
oreduced swelling in hands and feet
oheadache and sinus congestion relief
oneck and back pain relief
ostress relief on weight-bearing joints
oassistance in maintaining proper posture
orelief from muscle cramps, spasms, and myofascial pain, especially in the lower back, neck, hips, and legs.
oincrease in blood and lymph circulation, which can reduce swelling
opreparing the muscles used during childbirth
Pregnancy Massage – Is It Safe?
Pregnancy massage is not recommended during the first trimester because of the hormonal changes occurring in the body during this period.
During the second and third trimester, and even during labour, massage is considered safe and even beneficial. However, while massage is considered safe during these periods, there are certain parts of the body that should not be massaged.
o The area between the ankle bone and the heel is considered by reflexologists to relate to the vagina and uterus. Direct pressure should not be applied here as it is thought this could induce early labour.
o Only superficial pressure should be applied to the inner leg and massage of the leg should be avoided completely if on bed rest for any complications as this can put you at a higher risk for blood clots forming in the legs.
o A flat gentle hand should be touched only superficially to the abdomen.
o Massage should be avoided if you have vaginal bleeding, diarrhoea or abdominal pain.
It is not recommended that pregnant women lie on the abdomen as this can place unnecessary strain on the lower back. Some therapists may provide a couch or table with a hole cut out for the abdomen but this is still ill advised.
It is advisable that you consult your health care provider before receiving massage during pregnancy and ensure you choose a suitably qualified practitioner with whom you can discuss your health conditions beforehand, in order for treatment to be modified to meet your individual needs.
Pregnancy Massage – Booking a Treatment
When booking a pregnancy massage ensure that the practitioner has been trained specifically in pregnancy massage and doesn’t just cite this on their information leaflet.
Once you have found a suitable therapist you can begin to enjoy the benefits of pregnancy massage for the duration of your pregnancy and beyond. The benefits of massage at any time are great – so go on, what are you waiting for?