One of the most wonderfully indulging things you can do for your pregnant body is to get a prenatal massage. An even better idea is to get regular prenatal massages especially for those who suffer from lots of leg, neck, and or back pain. Pregnancy involves lots of stretching of the skin and muscles, growing, weight, and pain – all of which can be helped and eased with prenatal massages. This article will go into the details of what is involved in a prenatal massage, the techniques, as well as the many benefits for your body.
What is a Prenatal Massage?
Prenatal massage – in other words a massage for those who are pregnant. A prenatal massage focuses on your pregnant body’s special needs as you go through the many physical changes associated with pregnancy. The best benefit is that it relieves stress and fatigue mentally as well as physically. According to babycenter.com, “Carrying a baby inside you changes your center of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders… A trained prenatal massage therapist knows where a pregnant woman’s sore and swollen spots are likely to be and may be able to provide some relief. She’ll also know which techniques and areas to avoid.”
What Does a Prenatal Massage Entail?
After you fill out the forms and let your massage therapist know which areas you would like him or her to focus on he or she will leave you to change. You may change into your underwear, loose clothing, or you can choose to wear nothing.
Next, you can climb on the table under the sheet and lie on your side.
A prenatal massage starts with your position if you are close to or beyond your second half of pregnancy you should lay on your side, not your back. Lying on your back can reduce circulation to the placenta and make you dizzy as well. Always tell your massage therapist about your pregnancy so they can help keep you safe and comfortable. You will be instructed to lie on your side with a special pillow between your knees for support.
Usually, a massage of any kind involves dim lighting, soft peaceful music, and smells like essential oils and lotions.
A gentle pressure will be used
Some areas you can request more attention to (these become more sore and tight during pregnancy) include:
- Back (especially the lower back as it is usually a source of pain during pregnancy)
- Legs (calves)
- Feet (Make sure your massage therapist avoids your ankles, pressure points near your ankles can cause your uterus to contract.)
Like any massage, a good prenatal massage requires communication between you and your massage therapist. If the pressure is too much or not enough or you would like more attention in a certain area, make those wishes known with communication. Don’t be shy, even if you prefer different music or the oils being used just communicate those preferences; this is supposed to be about you after all.
What are the Benefits of a Prenatal Massage?
The benefits of a prenatal massage scan a wide distance over your physical and mental well-being. Some of the mental benefits include:
- Lower levels of stress (the hormone cortisol)
- Higher levels of feel-good hormones (serotonin and dopamine)
- Relieves anxiety and depression
- Causes relaxation (this helps with sleep)
Some of the physical benefits include:
- Relieves stress on weight-bearing joints
- Relieves lower back pain
- Helps with headaches
- Alleviates leg cramps and stiffness
- Reduces fatigue
- Neck pain help
- Increases blood circulation
- Stabilizes hormones
According to massagemag.com “(prenatal massage) Supports the return of blood to the heart and increases blood flow to the uterus and placenta. With the enormous demands placed on the circulatory system during pregnancy, blood volume may increase up to 60 percent compared to pre-pregnancy levels.”
- Promotes better sleep
- Faster and or easier labor
- Reduces Edema
- Reduces muscle tension
- Improves soft tissue and muscle oxygenation
What Should I Do to Prepare for a Prenatal Massage?
- Set an appointment
- Drink lots of water
- Prepare any questions you may have for your massage therapist
- Wear your hair down – holding your hair up in a ponytail can actually cause tension for your head and you want to be completely relaxed
- You can also call your doctor if you have any concerns about prenatal massages
During the Prenatal Massage
During your prenatal massage, you may feel uncomfortable about certain things. Here are some common things people feel uncomfortable about:
- Falling asleep (It’s your session, your ‘me’ time, totally doesn’t matter.)
- Flatulence (It is a natural response, don’t worry about it.)
- Body Hair (Your massage therapist is focusing on your muscles and working to help you feel good, he or she doesn’t care that your legs are not shaved.)
What Should I Do After My Massage?
- Drink even more water
- Set up another appointment
Should I Come Back After I Deliver?
Yes! According to pregnancyandbaby.com, “Massage for pregnancy isn’t just for those nine months of gestation, it’s also for that painful “fourth trimester” of healing after birth. Booking a massage in the postpartum weeks can help you heal faster, cleanse your body and rebalance your muscles.”
This helps bring you back to your own body for a little bit, gives you some ‘me’ time and allows you to indulge in some self-pampering after giving birth and taking care of a brand new baby. So, yes! come back again.