What you Need to Know About Prenatal Massage

prenatal massage

There are many aches and pains that your body may experience while pregnant. Your body is changing, and you may find yourself sore and uncomfortable. It can be hard to find relief. 
Taking good care of yourself is never more important than while you are pregnant. Prenatal massage can be a great way to provide the relief and comfort you need while also benefitting your baby by reducing your stress and anxiety.

It is possible to have a prenatal massage at any time during your pregnancy. There are some facilities and women who prefer to wait until after the first trimester. This is because there is an increased risk of miscarriage during that time. It's best to check with both your doctor and the individual massage therapist you're working with to make sure that you're a good fit for prenatal massage before moving forward. Certain massage techniques should be avoided during pregnancy.

 

Benefits of prenatal massage
Adding massage as part of your prenatal care can have great benefits.

 

  • It can help to regulate hormones that fluctuate in pregnancy. The hormone levels that are associated with both relaxation and stress are changed through massage. By altering these levels for the better, you may improve your cardiovascular health and be better able to regulate your mood.
  • This was proven in studies over the past 10 years. Women who had two massages per week for just five weeks saw a reduction in hormones associated with stress. They also had their levels of dopamine and serotonin rise, which can help avoid depression. These hormonal changes led to both fewer birth complications and fewer newborn complications.
  • Massage can reduce swelling. Swelling is a common problem during pregnancy that can be hard to reduce. Many times, it's caused by reduced circulation and pressure on your blood vessels. Massage can be a great help. It helps to reduce the fluids collected around your joints by stimulating the soft tissue. 
  • It can reduce nerve pain. In late pregnancy, many women can experience sciatic nerve pain. This is caused by the uterus resting on the lower back and pelvic floor muscles. The pressure leads to tension and swelling in the leg muscles which puts pressure on the nerves as well. Massage helps to relieve this tension.
  • Massage reduces anxiety and stress. Pregnancy can be a wonderful time, but it can also be fraught with aches and worries. Things that you experience can be a great cause of stress. This stress can be caused by hormone changes, physical discomfort and worry over the future. Stress can cause trouble sleeping, headaches and a high pulse rate. Prolonged and high-level stress may also negatively affect your baby. Reducing it is good for both of you!

Prenatal massage is a great opportunity for you to step away from your problems and take some time to yourself before the baby comes. It can help you recharge and help ease some of your physical symptoms as well.

 

Why Swedish massage is best 
Not all massage techniques are appropriate for pregnant women. Swedish massage is a great choice.

 

  • Technique. It involves long strokes with mild pressure. The goal of Swedish massage is to ease muscle tension and increase joint mobility. Hormone shifts cause many of the discomforts of pregnancy by creating changes in almost every system of your body – circulatory, soft tissue, and even your bones are affected. Swedish massage addresses many of these discomforts. By applying mild pressure to the different muscle groups, it relaxes the body so it can be more naturally aligned
  • Improved circulation. Swedish massage can improve lymphatic and blood circulation. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases and blood flow to the legs can often be sluggish. These changes in the circulatory system can lead to the formation of blood clots in the legs. The gentle pressure of Swedish massage can help prevent this from happening.  If clots do form, strong pressure from other massage techniques like deep tissue, percussive tapping, cross-fiber friction or shiatsu could dislodge the clots and cause a health crisis. The very light strokes of Swedish massage can still be beneficial and do not have the same risks.

 

What to expect during a prenatal massage 

If you've had massages in the past, you know most therapists have you lay on your stomach or your back. Things will be a bit different when you go in for a prenatal massage. Some places do have tables with space for your belly, but most places will have you lay on your side instead. This is often the most comfortable for the pregnant woman. Your massage therapist will use bolsters to help you get into the right position. 

Prenatal massage can be any duration that you are comfortable with. Make sure to communicate with your massage therapist about how you’re feeling during the massage. This way you can make sure to get the most out of it. 

Prenatal massage can be great for you to relieve the pain and discomfort of pregnancy. Thinking about trying massage therapy? Schedule a massage therapy session with Ann here: Schedule