Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension. Pregnant women have often received ambivalent responses from the health community regarding the safety and purpose of massage during pregnancy. Research is proving that prenatal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and should be given consideration.
Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy – during the first, second, or third trimester. As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider.
Swedish Massage is the recommended prenatal massage method during pregnancy because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy.
Prenatal massage has also been shown to improve physical discomforts by encouraging circulation and by stretching the muscles and joints to their full range of motion to improve skin elasticity and body tone. Studies show that pregnant women who receive regular prenatal massages are more at ease, furthermore relaxing the fetus inside their womb.
Pre and Post Natal Massage can help with:
Muscle soreness, tension and strain
Overwhelming emotions caused by hormonal changes in the bloodstream
Sciatic and lower back pain
Reducing back pain
Reduced joint pain
Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
Relief from muscle cramps, spasms, and myofascial pain, especially in the lower back, neck, hips, and legs.
Increase in blood and lymph circulation, which can reduce swelling.
Reduces stress on weight-bearing joints.
Improves outcome of labor and eases labor pain.
Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues.
Provides support for the new mother with physical and emotional strains of mothering.
Decreased levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine
Many professionals consider the best position for a pregnant woman during massage is side-lying. During your session, the massage table will be set up so you will lie in a semi-reclining position. This is not only really comfortable, but safe for baby. Also you will turn from side to side (side ~ lying position) to do your back and hips, there are body pillows, wedge pillows and extra padding to make you comfortable.
In studies of pregnancy massage in depressed women, researchers found:
Increased levels of the "feel-good" hormones serotonin and dopamine Decreased levels of cortical, an indicator of stress An overall improvement in mood
A questions I am often asked about massage is about the level of clothing one will wear. That is really between you and your therapist. Many moms choose to remove all of their clothing, though they are never uncovered, as they are always covered by the sheets. Some choose to wear their underwear or their bra and underwear. Whatever you choose to wear or remove is completely up to you and your comfort level.
Very light pressure massage on the abdomen can be done if you prefer your abdomen massaged. It will be up to the client if they prefer it or not.
What precautions should be taken when seeking prenatal massage?
As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider.
Women with the following conditions should speak with a health care provider prior to receiving a massage or to avoid a massage:
High risk pregnancy
Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
Previous pre-term labor
Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
Recently gave birth
Any regular contradictions of receiving a massage for non pregnant individuals
In all cases, a pregnant or post-pregnant woman should always ask their doctor if massage therapy is recommended before seeking a massage therapist. In most cases, massage therapists require a physician's referral. Also, be sure to ask if your massage therapist has specialized, advanced training in prenatal massage.
Please advice me prior to your appointment so that I will have proper table & massage supplies available for you.