With pregnancy, there are a lot of things you might not be able to do. However, getting a massage isn’t one of those things. In fact, most experts in the field agree wholeheartedly that there are many benefits both physical and psychological when it comes to prenatal massage. And it’s the perfect recommendation for newly expectant mothers. There are some exceptions and potential risks, so fully understanding the process and its potential health benefits and risks is a very important step.
What Is a Prenatal Massage?
A prenatal massage is a type of massage that a pregnant woman can receive without too many risks or intense soreness afterward. The massage is not performed directly on the stomach, but on the many other parts of the body that are affected by pregnancy. Being pregnant can be extremely uncomfortable, painful in some instances, create soreness and more, so receiving a relaxing massage of the back, neck, shoulders, or legs can be extremely beneficial. Prenatal massage includes a wide variety of massage types and levels of intensity, and won’t necessarily be the exact same every time. The only defining characteristic is that they are performed on a woman while she is pregnant.
It’s true. There are a great many massage schools offering courses in prenatal massage, but as a general rule, it is far better to seek out massage therapists who are specifically certified to perform a prenatal massage. Going about receiving your massage in this way ensures a variety of options for your massage, as well as the safety of a competent and well-informed practitioner.
Is Prenatal Massage Safe?
There are lots of people who are constantly asking whether or not it is safe for a pregnant woman to get a massage. The answer is YES! For thousands of years, massage therapy has been used on all sorts of people with positive effects. This includes even pregnant women. The basic principles of massage; when performed safely are beneficial for anyone and the effects apply to a wide range of physical discomforts and conditions. There are some cases in which prenatal massage is not recommended, however. And there are also some implied though not explained risks that should be considered. What are these risks? Well, if a woman has a history of blood clots, the kneading and rubbing of a massage can help to increase circulation and help the areas where blood clots may have formed in certain parts of the body. This also can lead to cardiovascular complications such as strokes and heart attacks. If you have heart problems or history of blood clots, speak to your doctor before receiving a prenatal massage.
Additionally, If you have experienced consistent pain or chronic bleeding during your pregnancy, getting a massage may exacerbate this condition. Why? Because like we mentioned before, massage boosts circulation and bleeding may increase as a result. Consult your doctor and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions beforehand.
Choosing the Best Oils
As you probably know, many massage therapists use essential oils to enhance the experience of the massage. However, the use of most essential oils is widely prohibited during pregnancy, so it is always best to request that essential oils not be used during your massage. Not only for your own benefit, but also for the benefit of the baby.
Consider Your Comfort
It is essential that your therapist be prepared with many different bolsters, pillows, and other As for the actual massage itself the client will be on her side and she will be fully supported by bolsters and pillows to ensure safety. There will be no direct pressure on the stomach area.
Can I Get a Massage in My First Trimester?
Prenatal massages are not recommended as the rate of miscarriages is much higher in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. While there is not an increased risk of miscarriages as a result of prenatal massage, according to research, this is still a point of contention for most mothers and even massage therapists. Massage is there to relieve strain on pressure points, however, some pressure points are directly tied to the nerves of the uterus and cervix, so only get massage therapists who are certified in prenatal massage.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
One of the most important benefits of a prenatal massage includes reducing anxiety and stress, relieving back pain and inflammation, keeping fluid retention minimal, improving sleep quality, boosting your overall mood and even strengthening the immune system. Sleep massages have been proven to improve sleep quality in those who regularly receive them. This is due to the release of feel-good hormones during a massage for frequently sleep-deprived pregnant women. This is, in reality, one of the best reasons for a prenatal massage. Pain and inflammation aid in carrying around extra weight and the physical changes in your body can lead to pain and inflammation in your back, legs, neck, shoulders, and hips. A massage can help ease this discomfort and make life during your pregnancy much more enjoyable.
The release of certain hormones like serotonin and dopamine during a massage can help to improve mood and fight off the nasty symptoms of depression during pregnancy that all pregnant women are prone to having. This also makes a massage an ideal way of handling and encountering symptoms of stress and anxiety, which are also quite common in expecting mothers.
Immune System Benefits
Massage therapy is intended to detoxify the body flush it of unwanted buildups and inflammation that weakens the immune system over time and leads to unbearable stress which can be eliminated with prenatal massage. Many pregnant women will find that in addition to weight gain, they also retain water. Luckily, massage therapy can help reduce the amount of water you are holding and redistribute it more evenly throughout the body.
During the first and third trimesters, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, you may want to pursue different types or intensities of prenatal massage.
During the first trimester, any massage should be gentle and minimal. However, there is a common belief that prenatal massage can be bad for pregnancy, but early pregnancy massage can actually be very helpful. And the same in true through the third trimester!
If you’d like, you can undergo a more intense prenatal massage later on in your pregnancy, even including a deep tissue Swedish massage style without risking anything. Furthermore, many certified prenatal massage therapists have customized massage beds that allow you to lay on your stomach, which is something that some pregnant women want so much but isn’t able to do on their own. Wonderful, right?
There are so many benefits to prenatal massage that are rarely considered but can be super helpful. Why not look into it?