During pregnancy the body undergoes amazing changes, which can be joy to experience. But as your body works hard at growing and protecting your baby, you may find yourself struggling with posture changes, sore or aching muscles, and hip pain or back pain. A pregnancy massage is specifically designed to help relieve those symptoms and improve your feelings of relaxation and wellbeing.
Before we get into how having a prenatal massage can help you feel healthier and more relaxed during pregnancy, let’s first point out that massages are considered safe after the first trimester. This is, of course, after you get the green light from your doctor or medical practitioner. But during the first three months of pregnancy, having a massage should be avoided as it could lead to dizziness and add to your morning sickness.
What does a pregnancy massage involve?
All massages for pregnant women take into account the anatomical changes to your body. While a traditional swedish massage may have you lying face down, this is not possible with a baby belly. Lying face-up is also not recommended as it can put pressure on major blood vessels by disrupting their flow and leave you feeling nauseous.
Trained massage therapists will consider all this and use a unique cushioning system or specially designed massage table for pregnant women. Alternatively, it is also possible to lie on your side for a pregnancy massage as this will accommodate your growing belly and breasts with the support of cushions. The important thing is to communicate with your therapist about what feels suitable for you.
Once you enter the second half of your pregnancy, deep tissue massages to your legs will be avoided as this can lead to blood clots due to the increased blood volume in pregnancy. Instead gentle, light massage strokes can be used to assist circulation. A gentle massage during pregnancy can feel amazingly soothing!
*Massage should be avoided if you have morning sickness, diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, fever, or any other kind of illness.
The benefits of having a prenatal massage
Scientific research has proven that having a massage while pregnant can help to reduce stress and relax your muscles. A massage can also increase blood flow and keep your lymphatic system working more efficiently. It is also relaxing, and comforting at the same time.
While a prenatal massage will help alleviate stress and make you feel good, it also has the following benefits:
- It can help with those sleepless nights by curing insomnia
- It can help relieve joint pain
- It can soothe neck pain
- It can reduce back pain strain
- It can help prevent getting leg cramps.
- It can help prevent or relieve sciatica
- It can help to reduce swelling in the feet and hands so long as it is not related to preeclampsia
- It can help relieve numbness, tingling, and pain brought about by carpal tunnel syndrome
- It can help to relieve sinus congestion and headaches.
Prenatal massage treatments you can do at home while waiting to see a professional
For feet and ankles:
Get your partner or a friend to rub your feet with lotion using a smooth stroke with gentle pressure from the top of the foot to the toes. And then reverse from the toes to your ankles, where you will want them to make small circular motions. Then get them to make small circular motions on the soles of your feet just below the toes and your heel. * Avoid using too much pressure on the ankles near the joint with the heel.
A back rub:
Have the person giving you a message use both hands to gently rub your back while either sitting up or lying on your side. Again applying lotion, they need to gently focus on the muscles on either side of the spine. Once relaxed the stroking can transition to gently kneading the muscles while moving up and down.
With the base of their hands or the fingertips gently apply pressure to the sides of the neck. Glide between the top of the shoulders and the base of the skull. Start on one side first and then switch to the other.
Massage the scalp:
Moving from the base of the skull to the hairline, have the person performing the massage use both hands while gently applying pressure. They can also gently stroke you face helping you relax even more.
Provided your doctor or medical practitioner says it is alright for you to visit a massage therapist, it could become the highlight of your week! A pregnancy body massage can go beyond just helping your body relax, but also by providing holistic maternity care and guidance. Pregnancy massage is available at our Walsall and Sutton Coldfield Clinics.