Prenatal Massage, Easing the Changes
What better way to show you are dedicated to giving this new life every advantage in the world than to arrange for a pregnancy massage from a specially certified therapist. Each session is designed to focus on the special needs of a mother-to-be as her body goes through the dramatic changes of the child-bearing year, which includes pregnancy, birth, and post-delivery. Massage provides a nurturing touch, which in turn, nurtures the life of your unborn child.
A woman’s body changes a great deal over nine months. Her weight increases, her breasts change, her blood pressure elevates, organs are compressed and pushed up, and the muscles in her abdomen become stretched and strained. Massage can help relieve pressure and tensions created by these changes.
Benefits of a Pregnancy Massage Include:
- An opportunity for much-needed rest and relaxation
- Balances hormones (relieving moodiness and nausea)
- Increases fetal circulation
- Reduces swelling
- Relieves back and neck pain
- Improves skin tone elasticity
- Deepens maternal bonding
- Enhances body awareness (making delivery easier)
Benefits of massage after Birth
- Post-delivery/Postpartum massage addresses the mother’s stress of carrying and caring for a newborn, speeds recovery and relieves sore muscles.
- The childbearing year includes not only the three trimesters of pregnancy, but also during labor, and three months after delivery.
- After delivery, a new mother must gradually regain her postural strength and pre-pregnancy state of of fitness. Your therapist will give you stretches and exercise you can do at home to help your body get back to normal.
How is pregnancy massage special?
The mother-to-be is always carefully supported in several positions. When lying face-up, she is supported with the back lifted, to provide comfort and maximum circulation to the legs and the fetus. While in a side-lying position, special pregnancy pillows support the stomach, which allows the therapists to massage the back and hips. The belly is NEVER compressed by lying face down, nor is the belly left hanging through a hole in the massage table. These methods are less than ideal for the mother’s body and for fetal circulation.
Pregnancy massage addresses the profound changes a woman’s body experiences during the entire childbearing year. During the first months, massage can help her body balance changing hormones, which often cause morning sickness. During the Second Trimester, pregnancy massage addresses the upper and lower back pain that develops from the weight of the new baby. At the end of pregnancy, massage can relieve swollen feet and hands, numbness, hip, low back and sciatic pain. Pregnancy massage is also intended for the three months after the delivery to help the new mother regain abdominal strength, reduce soreness and relax muscle tension, and to offer a brief respite from the new duties of motherhood and caring for an infant
If you are in a “High Risk Maternity” category, or having any complications, you may still be able to have a massage, but you should definitely get medical clearance first. You should also call your therapist before your appointment to make sure they have a good understanding of what it takes to keep you safe and comfortable. Most Certified or Licensed massage therapists get instruction on working with Pregnant Mothers as part of their entry level massage education. However, there are additional classes available, and each therapist has varying levels of awareness and experience. We recommend finding a therapist that has an additional certification in Pregnancy or Prenatal Massage. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the therapist qualifications, and what they’re going to do during the massage. While you’re receiving massage, continue to ask questions as they come up. If at any time during the massage it feels worse than a “hurts good” sensation, then it’s too much, and you should speak up. Your therapist should never encourage you to suffer through anything you don’t like during a session.
The Medical Fitness Network can help you find a reliable, educated massage practitioner in your area to help you ease your pain, improve range of motion and reduce muscle tension. Let massage touch your life and add to your health and well-being!
- Field, T. (1999). Pregnant Women Benefit From Massage Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mar;20(1):31-8.
- Field, T. (2004). Massage Therapy Effects on Depressed Pregnant Women. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jun;25(2):115-22.