WHAT IS PREGNANCY MASSAGE?
A pregnancy massage is called prenatal massage which is a full body massage performed by a certified prenatal massage therapist that is similar to a Swedish massage (like what you might experience at a spa) except for a few modifications with body positioning that can ensure the safety and comfort for both mother and baby.
During pregnancy, the body undergoes many physical changes which can cause stress, back pain, and discomfort. Pregnancy massage is one type of massage that is adapted to suit expectant moms. Apply pregnancy massage can help to eliminate and relieve some symptoms and reduce stress hormones. This let the mom-to-be enjoy the positive sides of pregnancy.
What does a pregnancy massage involve?
Pregnancy can put a lot of stress on your back, shoulders, neck and abdominal muscles. Pregnancy massage is designed to relieve some of the aches and pains that are common during pregnancy. A qualified therapist will understand the areas to target and which to avoid.
Before the massage begins, your therapist will talk to you about your health and lifestyle. They will ask you to lie on a specially-designed massage table and will cover you with towels to protect your privacy and to keep you warm. They will probably use creams or oils to help them to massage your skin smoothly.
They will help you to get comfortable with pillows. Remember it is not a good idea to lie flat on your back while you are in the second half of your pregnancy since this puts too much pressure on the vein that runs from your legs to your heart.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
While every pregnancy is unique, the changes to the body as a baby grows often cause discomfort. A pregnancy massage can help relieve some of these symptoms along with other benefits for the parent-to-be.
As the abdomen grows outward, posture changes to realign the center of gravity over the hips. For some people, the stress on the joints and muscles results in low back, pelvic, neck, shoulder, or sciatic nerve pain
Professional prenatal massage therapy can relieve these aches. Research shows it is effective for leg and back pain during pregnancy
Some swelling, or edema, is also normal during pregnancy. The fluid buildup tends to be more pronounced in the legs, ankles, and feet because the growing uterus puts pressure on the veins in the legs. Massage may help to reduce fluid buildup.
Difficulty sleeping is common during all stages of pregnancy, thanks to physical discomfort as well as stress and anxiety. Massage may help improve sleep quality and insomnia during pregnancy.
Relaxation and Stress Reduction
Prenatal massage is also used to boost mood and enhance overall well-being. For example, in one study that measured pregnant women’s stress and immune system function, women who received a series of prenatal massages showed significant decreases in stress hormone levels and enhanced immune function.
When to Avoid Pregnancy Massage
As with any new therapy, consult your doctor or midwife before booking a pregnancy massage treatment. Use extra caution if you have a high-risk or complicated pregnancy including:
- Increased risk of pre-term labor
- Preeclampsia or high blood pressure
- Blood clots or a clotting disorder
- Problems with your placenta, such as placenta previa
Is pregnancy massage safe?
It is important to make sure your massage therapist is properly trained in pregnancy massage. They should avoid pressing certain pressure points and should only use gentle movements on your abdomen (tummy).
Heated beds or electric blankets are not recommended in pregnancy. You may also need help to get on and off the table safely.
Always talk to your doctor before you have a pregnancy massage, especially if:
- you are in the first trimester
- you have nausea, vomiting, or morning sickness
- you are at high risk of miscarriage
- you have a high-risk pregnancy (such as due to preeclampsia or high blood pressure)
- you have a blood clot, for example deep vein thrombosis
- you have abdominal pain or bleeding
- you have swelling of one or both legs
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