Massage is one of the best ways to relax and unwind after a busy occasion and brings a range of health and wellness benefits.
But is it safe during pregnancy? Which massage therapy should an expectant mother opt for?
Find out the answers in this post.
Prenatal/Pregnancy Massage Overview
Pregnancy massage is a term that helps explain all types of massages that an expecting mother can get during pregnancy and postpartum.
Typically a pregnancy massage lasts for up to 60 minutes and have been used since ages to improve overall wellbeing for expecting mothers. A typical pregnancy massage reduces stress and muscle tension and aids in managing common pregnancy symptoms like muscle and joint ache, fatigue and mood swings leaving the expecting mother feeling good about herself and her body.
Some practitioners who specialize in pregnancy massage accommodate pregnant women on a designated pregnancy massage table that allows women with pregnant bellies to settle onto their massage table conveniently. They also rely on the use of specially designed pillows called bolsters that allow expecting mothers to position comfortably on their side which is particularly the most comfortable position especially during the later stages of pregnancy.
Possible Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
While there’s limited research on the benefits of massage during pregnancy, several studies recommend that massage therapy can bring a range of positive effects on expecting mothers including
- Reduced fatigue,
- Decreased backache and leg pain,
- Lowered anxiety,
- Decreased level of stress hormones, and
- Improved sleep.
Few other studies suggest that massage helps release the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin that improve the mood of expecting mothers. Moreover, it also leads to a decrease in the release of a stress hormone called cortisol. Hence, pregnancy massage is one of the most effective ways to improve the overall mood and wellbeing of expecting mothers.
Massage Therapies Suitable for Expecting Mothers
There are over 80 different types of massages however, not all types of massages are suitable for pregnant women.
Some of the common types of massages that are most suitable for expecting mothers include the following.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep-tissue massage involves the use of firm pressure that is accompanied with slow strokes which help stimulate the deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues. Deep tissue massage is particularly helpful for expecting mothers who frequently experience leg cramps.
Swedish massage is another great massage therapy that involves relaxing muscles and improves blood circulation using mild pressure. It makes a great choice for pregnant women as it addresses various physical concerns experienced by expecting mothers such as muscle and joint ache and fatigue.
Shiatsu involves the use of acupuncture points to stimulate the body’s natural energy flow and makes a great choice of massage for pregnant women. However, it should only be performed by a reliable pregnancy massage therapist.
Is Pregnancy Massage Safe?
It is common for healthcare practitioners to advise against pregnancy massage especially during the first trimester as there is a lack of nationwide certification standards that can ensure a standard massage practice. And since there is a huge variation in training, there’s always a risk of malpractice that can cause any potential health risk to expecting mothers.
While most massage therapists receive 500 hours of education, that education may or may not include specific training in pregnancy massage. Yet there are national associations that train and certify massage therapists like the American Massage Therapy Association.
However, you can choose a safe pregnancy massage by scheduling an appointment with a reliable and experienced pregnancy massage therapist at a renowned massage facility like Eden Massage in Fayetteville, NC,. When you choose Eden Massage, you can be rest assured that an expecting mother will get the comfort and care she deserves while minimizing any risks associated with pregnancy massage.
Precautions During Pregnancy Massage
Pregnancy massage experts modify their massage techniques slightly to adapt to the changing needs of a woman during pregnancy as the volume of blood increases during pregnancy whereas the blood flow, particularly to the legs, is compromised. Moreover, the levels of anticoagulants in the blood rise naturally putting women at a higher risk of blood clots especially in the lower legs.
It’s therefore critical that the pregnancy massage expert avoid strong pressure especially on the legs as it can dislodge a blood clot. Instead, it’s best to rely on light strokes throughout the body especially with very light pressure on the abdomen.
When to Avoid Pregnancy Massage?
While pregnancy massage is relatively safe for pregnant women, it’s best to avoid it or get a clearance from your ob/gyn before you try a massage in the following instances.
- You have a high-risk of miscarriage,
- You have a high-risk pregnancy with conditions like preeclampsia, and pregnancy-induced hypertension,
- You experience swelling, or sudden headaches or had a previous pre-term labor,
- You experience morning sickness or frequent nausea and vomiting, or
- Are in your first trimester.
Pregnancy Massage as Part of Prenatal Care
There are numerous benefits of pregnancy massage as part of prenatal care for pregnant women. If you do not have any pregnancy-related complications, you can get a pregnancy massage and enjoy benefits like a relaxed mind and body with improved blood circulation and better mood.
It’s always best to consult with your healthcare practitioner before you incorporate a pregnancy massage into your routine prenatal care so you can weigh the potential risks against the benefits you get with a pregnancy massage.
Connect with Eden Massage in Fayetteville, NC and learn more about pregnancy massage for you so you can achieve a state of relaxation that you deserve.
Get in touch today to start your journey to tranquility with us.