Essential Guide to Pregnancy Massage
Table of Contents
What is Pregnancy Massage?
With all the pain and discomfort that comes with pregnancy, it’s no surprise that moms-to-be are seeking pregnancy massages as a source of relief. In previous years, it was done only by women who prefer alternative methods to aid their pregnancy. Thanks to recent studies, massages for pregnant women are becoming more widely accepted as a means to help ease the discomfort they experience during their pregnancy.
In essence, a pregnancy massage or prenatal massage is just like any other type of massage. However, given how the physical condition of an expectant mother is more sensitive, there are certain changes and adjustments to help ensure that the experience is both relaxing and safe.
What makes a Pregnancy Massage different from other massages?
A pregnancy massage is different from other massages simply because it adjusts to the anatomical changes and other physical conditions that set pregnant women apart from the rest. For one thing, the equipment used for a prenatal massage is a little different from the standard equipment commonly used in other massages. The equipment and other materials, like special cushions, will be better suited to accommodate body positions that will ensure the comfort of pregnant women. Lying on their side during a massage is the recommended position for expectant mothers during the massage. Traditional massages will require you to lie on your belly, something that pregnant women obviously cannot do. Lying on their back for extended periods of time is also not advisable for expectant mothers. This is because it will put too much pressure on a major blood vessel that could disrupt the blood flow and make them feel dizzy.
Strokes used for pregnancy massages will also be more gentle compared to those used during traditional massages. This means that deep tissue massages are a no-no.
Is a Pregnancy Massage safe?
Getting a massage while pregnant is generally considered to be safe. However, as with anything else, there are extra precautions that need to be taken.
You need to check first with your maternity care provider if getting a prenatal massage is alright. You also need to let your registered massage therapist know that you are pregnant. It is important to look for a therapist who has had sufficient special training or specializes in the field of pregnancy massage. You can ask your gynecologist for recommendations for this or search for a qualified therapist in your area. You can also browse through Massaji’s list of qualified registered massage therapists to find one near you.
You may have heard myths about this but do keep in mind that there is no scientific evidence that links miscarriages to massages. You may have also heard that getting massages during the first trimester might trigger nausea and worsen morning sickness. However, not all pregnant women actually experience morning sickness or, for those who do, do not experience it all the time. So consult your doctor before you get a pregnancy massage to make sure that other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, that you may have won’t cause complications.
What should I expect from a Pregnancy Massage?
A pregnancy massage is essentially similar to other massages, particularly the Swedish massage. These two types of massages share similar primary benefits such as reducing stress, relieving muscle tension and improving blood circulation.
Oils and lotions will still be used as lubrication during a pregnancy massage. However, some women develop a very sensitive sense of smell during their pregnancy and might find aromatherapy oils to be too pungent. If this is the case for you, don’t hesitate to tell your therapist so they can use non-scented or mildly-scented oils. In other cases, some pregnant women may be allergic to some oils and lotions, which makes it all the more important for you to discuss this with your therapist.
You also have to take into account the level of nudity you are comfortable with when you get a prenatal massage. Some women don’t have a problem exposing a lot of skin while pregnant. However, some might not be as comfortable about it. Again, don’t hesitate to talk to your therapist about this. They would be more than ready to accommodate you on this and adjust as needed.
The main difference that separates a prenatal massage from other massages is the position of the expectant mother during the massage. You will most likely be lying on your side for most of the massage therapy sessions. Sometimes, your therapist might ask you to lie on your back but this will only be in a semi-reclined position. This is to avoid putting too much pressure on a major blood vessel that could disrupt blood flow.
What are the benefits of a Pregnancy Massage?
Research also shows that getting a massage while pregnant can provide a number of physical, mental and psychological benefits for expectant mothers.
The physical benefits of a pregnancy massage include:
- relieving common discomforts that come with pregnancy such as headaches, heartburn, sore back, heavy pelvic bones, swollen ankles, etc.
- relaxing tense muscles
- relieving joint pains
- improving blood circulation
- boosting the immune system
- helping with body posture
- making delivery easier
The mental and psychological benefits of a pregnancy massage include:
- reducing stress, depression and anxiety
- boosting mental relaxation
- stabilizing hormones
- rejuvenating one’s energy and reducing fatigue
- improving the quality of sleep
- improving one’s sense of well-being
Are there cases when I should avoid a Pregnancy Massage?
While a pregnancy massage in itself is safe, there are cases when it is not advisable for you to get a pregnancy massage:
- If your maternity care provider does not recommend it.
- If your pregnancy is high-risk or if you are susceptible to premature labour.
- If you have preeclampsia or hypertension due to your pregnancy.
- If you experience severe headaches or if getting massages triggers headaches or nausea.
- If you had a recent injury or surgery.
Any extra advice before I get a Pregnancy Massage?
Here are some tips before you go for that pregnancy massage:
Try not to feel self-conscious. A pregnancy massage is supposed to be a relaxing and pleasant experience for you and that won’t happen if you’re too worried about your physical appearance. Trust in your therapist that they will not care whether you put on a lot of weight or have not shaved your legs.
Stay hydrated. It’s important to drink plenty of water before and after your appointment, especially since additional fluid intake is normally recommended for pregnant women.
Communicate with your practitioner and therapist. Talk to your doctor to make sure that it’s safe for both you and your baby to get a prenatal massage. Also, communicate any specific need or request you have so your therapist can provide you with a better massage experience.
Where can I get a pregnancy massage near me?
Ready to get that pregnancy massage and enjoy its wonderful benefits? Book an appointment with a qualified registered massage therapist on Massaji today. You’ll be delighted to find that we have hundreds of licensed and registered professionals ready to give you an amazing prenatal massage experience!