Pregnancy massage is a therapy-based bodywork that focuses on the physiological, structural and emotional well being of mother and baby. It uses different techniques (deep tissue, lymph drainage, etc) to promote relaxation, reduce pain in certain areas of the body such as high blood pressure or lower back pain.
Swedish, deep tissue and neuromuscular types of massage are the most common. If pregnancy massage is something you want to do but haven’t known what type to get yet, perhaps you should consider one of these since they can be safely enjoyed by a majority of pregnant women.
How Pregnancy Massage Differs From Regular Massage
Regular massage usually entails one person (the masseuse or the person being rubbed down) rubbing down another person (the client). However, in prenatal massage, it is the expectant mother who becomes the masseuse and rubs her own belly, other parts of her body and that of her partner.
When a woman is pregnant it’s vital that her practitioner has expertise when it comes to pregnancy and anatomy. She should be knowledgeable about what tissues are involved and the positioning a client will require for a massage session, for both mother and unborn child.
The second difference is that certain parts of the body should not be massaged. Furthermore, certain cultures consider certain areas of the body to be inappropriate when massaged as they may either shock or offend others.
Pregnancy Massage – What are the Benefits?
The experience of your first pregnancy can have a profound physiological and emotional effect on any woman. Coming to terms with the changes in her body and the impending lifestyle changes will cause extreme stress for approximately 40 weeks.
Pregnant women have for many years turned towards pregnancy massage for the unwinding of mind and body both. Although all massage will help a woman relax, pregnancy massage helps to relieve some common symptoms of pregnancy such as neck and back pain while also promoting relaxation. Some benefits are:
o increased relaxation
o decreased insomnia
o lessened sciatic pain
o reduced swelling in hands and feet
o headache and sinus congestion relief
o neck and back pain relief
o stress relief on weight-bearing joints
o assistance in maintaining proper posture
o preparing the muscles used during childbirth
Pregnancy Massage – Is It Safe?
When it comes to pregnancy massages, timing is key because having one during the first trimester may not be that great for the fetus.
Massaging your body during pregnancy can help treat some of the discomforts that you are experiencing. However, it’s important to know that there are certain parts of the body which should not be massaged during pregnancy.
o The place between the ankle bone and heel is considered by reflexologists to be an area where hormones related to pregnancy are believed to connect. Direct pressure should not be applied here because it is thought this could cause women to go into labor prematurely which can be very harmful.
o Only minor pressure should be applied to the inner leg, and you should avoid massaging the leg while taking a nap or lying down in general if you are on bed rest for any complications (e.g. some complications of pregnancy can lead to a higher risk of blood clots forming in the legs).
o A flat hand should be touched only to the abdomen, but only superficially.
o If you’re female, it’s very important to stay informed about your body. As with any other medical conditions, you should always consult a doctor before starting a massage regimen if you have vaginal bleeding, diarrhea or abdominal pain.
It is not recommended that pregnant women lie on their stomach with a pillow beneath their belly as this could cause unnecessary strain on the lower back. Some therapists may provide a special cushion or table to put a belly in, but this is still ill-advised.
Pregnant women should consult their healthcare providers beforehand before receiving a massage. It is advisable that you choose a suitably qualified practitioner with whom you can discuss your health conditions in order for treatment to be modified to meet your individual needs because so much can change during pregnancy and how the body reacts to one thing or another.
Pregnancy Massage – Booking a Treatment
Pregnancy massages are great. However, it’s important to be aware of any and all qualifications that the practitioner has in regard to pregnancy massage because some individuals who aren’t specifically trained may not know the exact location of the pressure points which are key to relieving specific pregnancy symptoms.
When you’re preparing for pregnancy, there are many decisions to be made. One of them is whether you’d like to try pregnancy massage. Find a therapist that has experience and commitment to the profession and once you’ve met with one it will be easier to decide if pregnancy massage is right for you and your partner!