Are you tired of being pregnant? Or, more specifically, are you tired of the side effects of pregnancy such as backache, leg pain insomnia and anxiety? Although welcoming a baby into the world is usually a happy time, moms-to-be often suffer both during and after the birth physically and emotionally, as hormones rage and the body adapts to carrying a baby and birthing.
So, how does a massage sound round about now? Yes, even in pregnancy, moms-to-be can benefit from the many advantages of having a massage. There are a few accommodations made for pregnancy but relief from some of these problems is closer than you think. Here’s how.
What is a Prenatal Massage?
First, let’s look at the subtle differences between a regular massage and a prenatal massage. A prenatal massage differs from a regular massage by:
- Lighter pressure and kneading techniques applied on legs during the massage: A prenatal massage consists of light pressure on the legs during pregnancy, although deep tissue massage can be used on the rest of the body.
- Position for a Prenatal Massage: Often, cushions and pillows, bolsters or the Prego Pillow mentioned below, are used in prenatal massage to ensure both mom’s and baby’s comfort and safety during the massage. Often, cushions and pillows, such as the Prego Pillow mentioned below, are used in prenatal massage to ensure both mom’s and baby’s comfort and safety during the massage.
- Specialized Massage Therapist: A massage therapist who is qualified in prenatal massage makes sure that your comfort and well-being during the massage is taken care of safely and effectively. Have a specific swollen spot or nagging ache? Your prenatal massage therapist knows how to take care of you!
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
So, why should you get a massage in pregnancy? How will it benefit you and baby? These are a few ways in which you’ll feel different after a massage in pregnancy:
- Massage helps to move lymph through the body, increase blood circulation, and reduce water retention in places that have added strain through pregnancy (like your ankles and legs). As such, swelling is reduced, blood becomes more oxygenated as it circulates, and your body restores itself to optimum functioning.
- Pain relief. Carrying the extra weight of a baby around can lead to sore muscles and achy limbs. Massage helps to relieve tight muscles and reduce inflammation in the nerves.
- Relaxation leads to better sleep. Massage helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in your body during pregnancy. In turn, this helps you get a better night’s sleep, as long as baby is relaxed, too!
- Regulation of oxytocin and serotonin: These two hormones help you to feel happier and relax, so stimulating their release through massage helps to manage anxiety and stress both during and after baby’s birth (if you continue with your post-pregnancy massages).
Using a Prego Pillow in Prenatal Massage
With baby on board, getting a massage in pregnancy can be challenging! How do you lie comfortably and keep baby safe? Fortunately, the use of bolsters and cushions can help you (with the guidance of your specially trained massage therapist) to lie on your side and benefit from the massage, without discomfort. These are the most often used type pf supports during a prenatal massage.
In addition, the use of a Prego Pillow allows full term moms to lay on their stomach a part of the massage. This is because there is an inbuilt hole in the Prego Pillow. The Prego Pillow isn’t a bolster. It’s a stand-alone massage tool with one main function as mentioned. Mom-to-bes love having the ability to lay flat face down for the first time in nine months! The Prego Pillow is only used at the very end of the pregnancy.
Aromatherapy and Prenatal Massage
Prenatal massage can also help in labor, if you make sure that your massage therapist is experienced in giving one. Sometimes this can be enhanced with the use of aromatherapy. Studies have shown that the use of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil during labor decreased the labor pain levels perceived by the women in the study (1).
Cautions for Prenatal Massage
Although there are many benefits of prenatal massage, you need to be aware of:
- Discuss frequency and the length of massage with your therapist to figure out what is best for your situation.
- Make sure that you let your therapist know of your individual health issues and any complications that you might have endured in the past (including miscarriage and/or blood clots).
- Avoid getting a massage if you have open wounds or any skin infections which could be worsened by massage movements.
Prenatal Massage at Your Body Needs
Ready to get your first prenatal massage? Simply book online with us or give us a call if you have any questions. We look forward to helping you and your baby experience a happy and healthy pregnancy!
- Karatopuk S, Yarıcı F. Determining the effect of inhalation and lavender essential oil massage therapy on the severity of perceived labor pain in primiparous women: A randomized controlled trial. Explore (NY). 2023 Jan-Feb;19(1):107-114. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2022.08.006. Epub 2022 Aug 11. PMID: 35987683.