Women are sometimes terrified of the pain related to childbirth and that’s exactly where pregnancy massage comes in handy. There are various kinds of pregnancy massages that are specialized for reducing stress and anxiety in pregnant women and improving their psychological health. Here we will discuss in detail everything you need to know about pregnancy massages.
Quick Facts on Pregnancy Massage
Here are some things you need to know about pregnancy massage:
Difference between Pregnancy Massage and Regular Massage
A pregnancy massage is not your regular massage. It is inherently different from a regular massage in many ways due to the nature and vulnerability of the receivers—pregnant women. The person offering the massage must have a thorough understanding of not only pregnancy but also of the anatomy of a pregnant body. The massager should have a clear idea about the areas that should not be massaged during pregnancy and should also know how to safely position the pregnant woman so that her child remains unharmed. Usually, the pregnant women are positioned in a semi-recline, which is sometimes uncomfortable, but undoubtedly the safest for the baby.
The ambiance of the massage room plays an important role in the process as it helps to make pregnant women feel comfortable and relaxed. Ideally, the room where the massage is offered has low lighting that will help your senses to calm down. Another important element is the pregnancy massage table that is usually extra padded to make the women comfortable. It is recommended to not go for the tables that come with the hole for the pregnant belly, as this position puts a lot of pressure on the lower back. It is advised to provide ample amounts of pillows instead, on which the women can recline and relax their bellies.
Who is it for?
It is clear to us that a pregnancy massage is obviously for pregnant women, but who does need the massage the most? It is especially the women who have inherent troubles of anxiety, depression, phobia or stress. Pregnancy causes a significant amount of stress for most pregnant women, especially the new ones. Apart from that, the massage is highly recommendable for women who are carrying multiple babies. However, some conditions do not allow you to take a pregnancy massage, for example—women who have blood clot issues or ones who might risk preterm labor, should not sign up for a pregnancy massage therapy.
Does it Help Labor Process?
Yes, pregnancy massages do help in the labor process and are responsible for reducing a lot of pain and stress for the women. Various massage techniques come handy during the labor process and you should be accustomed to them even before you go into labor. Similarly, certain techniques strictly should not be used during the final days and it is advisable for you and your partner (if you have one) to have a thorough understanding of the techniques that can comfort you during cramps or can help you during your labor process.
This is one of the ancient techniques that were practiced on pregnant women during her pregnancy, to strengthen the birth canal and prevent it from tearing during the labor process. It involves gentle, manual stretches on the tissues that shape the birth canal so that you can deliver a baby vaginally without succumbing to any damage in the perineum. Women who receive perineal massage regularly during the last four-five weeks of pregnancy have a lesser chance of going through episiotomy or having a vaginal tear during the process of vaginal delivery.
Postpartum massage therapy is extremely important for the recovery of the new mother. It helps in relieving sore muscles so that the body can go back to the condition before pregnancy. Carrying a baby in the belly for nine months can be stressful and the postpartum massage helps to slowly vent out that stress. Along with that, catering for a newborn baby 24X7 can make one sick, nervous and exhausted; the postpartum massage is also good for new mothers, who are yet to be accustomed to the experience.
Pregnancy Massage Benefits
The benefits of pregnancy massage therapy are many. If you or your loved one is struggling with pregnancy and its side effects, consider these benefits to ease your lives.
- It will help your muscles and nerves to relax so that you can finally feel at peace. It will play a major role in reducing your stress and help your body remain strong during the process of pregnancy and labor.
- A good pregnancy massageis bound to relieve your cramps and aches throughout the body. During pregnancy, most women are troubled by pain in the lower back, hips, and legs. A pregnancy massage therapy will help you forget about this pain temporarily and give you the strength to survive the process.
- Pregnancy massage will definitely improve your blood circulation throughout the body and prevent any swelling or inflammation. Swellings are common during pregnancy, which is mainly caused due to fatigue and exhaustion. A pregnancy massage therapy will help you significantly in keeping these troubles away.
- It is natural for pregnant women to experience pain in the weight-bearing joints for carrying the weight of a baby in the belly. Pregnancy massages are specially designed to provide comfort and relaxation to these weight-bearing joints.
- The perineal massage helps significantly in decreasing the labor pain and easing the labor process. It is observed that most women who receive regular pregnancy massages experience a healthy delivery and usually take much lesser time to recover than others. It also keeps away further complications in the delivery process.
Pregnancy Massage Contraindications
Pregnancy can bring many changes in a woman’s body. As the baby grows and develops, the mother starts to gain weight. This causes many aches and pain in different parts of the body. While most pregnant women think they can indulge in a massage, a lot of contraindications should be considered first.
Many things need to be kept in mind like high-risk pregnancy, Acupressure, and reflexology techniques. Pregnancy prevents normal blood circulation. When taking a massage, there is a high risk of displacing a blood clot. Therefore, gentle pressure should be applied when massaging. Consult your physician and know more in detail about what is best for your healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Shoulder Massage during Pregnancy
Shoulder pain is very common among pregnant women. The more weight you gain as your baby develops; you may start to experience many kinds of pain in your body. Shoulder pain starts from an unbalanced sleeping posture. Kindly maintain a proper sleeping posture to reduce the pain. Shoulder massage during pregnancy can be beneficial and relaxing.
The pain increases as you reach your third trimester and there is an uneven weight inside your abdomen which stresses your neck muscles. You should always direct for a gentle massage that relieves the stress and relaxes your muscles. Always be careful not to stimulate the acupressure points near the neck and back area, as these points, if stimulated can harm your pregnancy.
Leg Massage during Pregnancy
Leg massages during pregnancy can sound very relaxing. You would love to relax your calf muscles and stretch them even for a minute. However, there are many contraindications here as well. Many women have stated that they felt their left calf muscle stiffer and tensed than their right calf muscle.
If you are having similar pain you may want to think twice before taking any massages. Our leg muscles, especially the calf muscles are an active acupressure pressure release points. A traditional Swedish massage can even dislodge blood clots and harm the pregnancy. It is best to recommend your doctor before going for any leg massages during pregnancy.
Belly Massage during Pregnancy
You can massage your belly by yourself when pregnant. Always keep in mind to not exert too much pressure. If you are feeling relieved and think that you can put a bit more pressure, do not do it. This can again dislodge blood clots and harm your baby’s development.
A simple herbal oil massage with the gentlest pressure can help regulate the right temperature and make you feel less anxious. The more slowly and gently you massage your belly, the more relaxed you will feel. It is safe to exert an as little bit of pressure as you can, to maintain the safety of your pregnancy. If your belly hurts while massaging stop immediately and seek help from your doctor.
Foot Massage during Pregnancy
Almost every pregnant woman wants a foot massage. However, our toes are filled with acupressure points that connect all over the body. Once these points are stimulated they interfere with the natural blood and gas flow during pregnancy. This causes serious complications like experiencing pain near the uterus area.
Always approach an expert who has tons of experience in this profession. Get foot massage only by rfeputed practitioners. They will know the exact amount of pressure to exert while massaging that gives you relief and keeps your baby unharmed.
Massage at 4 Weeks Pregnant
Getting a massage when you are four weeks pregnant will not harm your baby in any way. In four weeks your baby develops into an embryo and nothing else. How can massage harm you then? Most masseuses won’t even agree to give a massage to a one-week pregnant woman. This is because they think it may lead to miscarriage.
This happens because they fear it will be their liability if a pregnant woman gets a miscarriage after taking a massage. So if you are four weeks pregnant and want a massage, make sure to convince your masseuse to not exert too much pressure.
Massage during Pregnancy 1st Trimester
While half the world disagrees about the benefits of pregnancy massage, the other half appreciates and educates others. According to the American Pregnancy Association, massages can bring many health benefits for pregnant women. Massages relieve stress, produce good sleep and reduce labor and pain throughout the body.
However, many therapists and doctors recommend not getting pregnancy massages during the first trimester. This is because they fear the increased blood circulation during the first trimester may be harmful to the baby’s development. They encourage women to take massages after their first trimester. Prenatal massage therapists are ideal to consult as they receive further education and require a different license for practicing. They receive education about pregnancy-related pressure points and the dos and don’ts.
Prenatal Massage Do’s and Don’ts
With the rise of pregnancy massages, prenatal therapists have are available everywhere. However, you must always check the health agency’s background and its professionals before buying a massage. Many of these facilities hire inexperienced therapists.
Therefore, it is important to speak up and ask questions and everything you can relate to your pregnancy and its safekeeping. The first step is to ensure that your therapist is qualified for the job. Most inexperienced therapists and facilities ask for a doctor’s recommendation before taking a massage. Immediately omit that facility and look for a more professional facility.
Always choose a comfortable position for yourself. Never lie on your stomach because that would strain your fetus and the uterus area. Always communicate with your therapist for a relaxing experience. A qualified and verified therapist won’t even say no to a massage during your first trimester. If a facility refuses, know that they are inexperienced and untrained.
Many facilities also provide post prenatal massage treatments for full body and spa. You may want to choose these services and examine very substance that is used for these services will not harm your pregnancy. Speak up about your general health and your state of mind.
Consult with your therapist if you encounter any discomfort during the massages and always try to keep calm. The more excited and agitated you get, the more stress and pain will befall on your body and mind.