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Is Prenatal Massage Good for You?

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Pregnancy and childbirth are life-changing events for every woman. It is mostly associated with positive emotions, but it is always not the case. Stress and anxiety can kick in at any time during your pregnancy. Considering the physical stress the body is experiencing, more pregnant women are looking for relief during this time.

There are many changes a woman’s body will go through throughout the pregnancy. Some may experience it better than most women, but some can have it worse. Prenatal massage is a massage therapy specifically intended to relieve the pain and discomfort of pregnant women.

Is there a difference between a prenatal and a regular massage?

The answer to this is a big yes. There are certain adjustments required to make the therapy session safer and more comfortable for mommies. Swedish massage is a common method used because it is effective in relieving skeletal and joint discomforts. The techniques used are based on the changes in pregnant women’s body structure.

What are these adjustments?

The biggest adjustment is on the positioning. Expect your therapist to put you in a side-lying position with support from pillows and cushions. The therapist will never ask the mom to lay flat on her back. Even outside massage therapies, laying flat on your back is dangerous as it can compress your aorta and put pressure on your vena cava, which can reduce the baby’s blood supply.

Essential oils like rosemary, clary sage, and cinnamon should be avoided as they can cause contractions. Certain parts around your body, for instance, the ankle that will not be massaged because it can trigger reactions in your pregnancy.

When can I start getting my prenatal massage?

Prenatal massages are usually conducted not earlier than 12 weeks of pregnancy. Most therapists would refuse during this period because it is believed that there is a higher risk of miscarriage. If you want to start it at an early period, consult with your obstetrician first.

prenatal massage

Is it good for me?

Massages have always been good for the mind and the body as long as it is done properly. Prenatal massages come with many benefits that can make your pregnancy easier and more bearable. Remember, it is important to talk with your doctor before making decisions because pregnancy varies from one woman to another.

Here are some of the major benefits prenatal massage can give you:

1. Relieves pain and discomfort naturally

As the baby in your womb develops, your body adjusts to keep you in balance. This adjustment can provide stress on your joints and muscles. Lower back pain is one of the most common issues pregnant women deal with. Prenatal massage can help relax the tight muscles and release tension by increasing blood flow in the affected area.

Pregnant women can only take limited medications during their entire pregnancy. Most discomfort and pain can be addressed by a therapeutic massage that does not involve any drug or medication.

2. Eases sciatic nerve pain

Most women can mistake their lower back pain with sciatica nerve pain. Sciatic pain comes from your lower spine and can be felt starting from your buttocks to your legs. During pregnancy, your uterus expands as your baby develops. This expansion puts pressure on your sciatic nerves and will likely continue as your baby gets bigger. The inflammation and discomfort can be helped through prenatal massage.

3. Lessens swelling of joints

Swelling (edema) for pregnant women is mainly caused by poor blood circulation. The body tends to hold more water during pregnancy, and these extra fluids stay in the lowest part of your body. Prenatal massage can lessen the buildup of excess fluids while stimulating the soft tissues.

4. Stress and anxiety relief

Stress and anxiety are inevitable during pregnancy. While it is normal, prolonged stress can negatively affect your pregnancy, like increasing the risk of having a premature baby. Prenatal massage can drastically reduce the level of stress hormones of the mother and the baby. As the pregnancy progresses, moms may have a hard time getting good sleep. Massage therapy may help promote better sleep quality.

5. Easier labor and childbirth

Aside from the nine months of carrying a child, the actual labor process and childbirth are what mothers can remember the most. According to a study, women who have had a prenatal massage experienced less labor pain and shorter hospitalization. This massage therapy can help your body get ready for the excruciating process of childbirth by relaxing your muscles, reducing tension, and lowering your stress hormones.

On a final note,

More and more healthcare facilities are starting to offer prenatal massage to the public. It’s important to know that not every massage therapist is knowledgeable in prenatal care. Before scheduling an appointment, make sure that they have extensive knowledge in prenatal massage therapy.

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