June 24, 2021
Massage for pregnant women, commonly referred to as pregnancy massage, is a universal term for any hands-on massage during or after pregnancy. It can be a prenatal massage or a postnatal massage. Pregnant women can begin massage therapy during the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd trimester. As with any treatment or therapy approach to pregnancy wellness, pregnant women should discuss massage options and their possible benefits with the prenatal care providers.
Below is everything you should know about massage for pregnant, including possible benefits and safe techniques for pregnancy massage therapy.
Most women constantly want to know if it is safe to get a massage while pregnant. Pregnancy often comes with a sore back, a heavy bell, and an emotional rollercoaster. It makes sense that a pregnant woman would want to relieve stress and soreness. However, is it safe?
Pregnancy massage therapy provides several pluses, including better sleep, improved relaxation, and a sense of wellness. However, certain techniques and body trigger points can induce contractions and premature labor. As such, it is advisable to seek medical expertise before engaging in any pregnancy massage.
Prenatal massage is a specialized certification. Therefore, therapists who practice prenatal massage receive advanced training and education in safe massage style for pregnant women. There are a couple of instances where a pregnant woman is advised to think critically before opting for a massage. These include;
According to the American Pregnancy Association, women can begin massage at any point during the pregnancy. Unfortunately, most prenatal massage therapists do not accept clients until they clock their second trimesters. The first trimester often carries a high risk of miscarriages. Some therapists tend to worry that the increased blood flow caused by a massage can be harmful.
If you have any of the following conditions, consult your healthcare provider before getting a prenatal massage at any point during the pregnancy;
It is safe to get a massage while pregnant, provided you consult with your prenatal care provider. Also, ensure your massage therapist is licensed to perform prenatal massage to avoid complications.
There have only been a handful of medical research and studies on pregnancy massage, meaning less established definite benefits. However, one study at the University of Miami School of Medicine claims that pregnancy massage therapy might have possible benefits. These include;
1. Overall mood improvement. Generally, is a stress reliever since it helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
2. Reduced anxiety. Pregnancy is an overwhelming period where a woman is sometimes emotionally unstable. A pregnancy massage helps to relieve anxiety and provide a sense of calm
3. Reduced back and leg pain. Massage helps to reduce muscle tension, often caused by exerting weight and pressure on joints and muscles
4. Improved sleep. Getting a pregnancy massage helps pregnant individuals suffering long sleepless nights
5. Massage therapy for depressed women has been shown to increase the production of dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good hormones.
Only skilled individuals should perform massage for pregnant individuals. There are over 80 massage types taught in over 1,300 massage therapy programs in the US alone. However, not all these techniques are recommended for a pregnant woman.
Generally, you can visit a massage therapist to perform the common massage techniques, or you can perform self-massage techniques at home. What types of massages are safe and appropriate for women? Experts recommend the following therapeutic prenatal massage styles;
It is the most recommended massage technique for pregnant. This is because it addresses the most common discomforts associated with the circulatory and skeletal changes brought on by hormone shifts.
Swedish massage relaxes muscle tension while improving lymphatic and blood circulation via the application of mild pressure to the body muscle groups. This technique uses long strokes of medium to light pressure. It is medically advised not to begin Swedish massage therapy during the first trimester. According to different studies, a Swedish massage during pregnancy has the following pluses;
Expert massage therapists argue whether deep tissue massage is advisable during pregnancy or not. Some believe it is absolutely safe as long as the massage therapist understands the different body areas to avoid. It is advisable to avoid DT massage, especially on the legs, to avoid possible blood clots during pregnancy.
Massage therapists often require a note from the obstetrician stating that DT massage for pregnant is safe. This note assures the therapist that there are no medical contraindications that could lead to complications. Deep tissue massage uses strong, applied pressure to the muscles, carefully avoiding certain areas.
Shiatsu is derived from the Japanese for finger pressure. This technique has its origin in traditional Chinese medicine. However, it was primarily developed by Japanese massage therapy practitioners. The massage technique involves using the fingers, heels of the hands, palm, and thumb to apply stimulation and pressure to different body points. Shiatsu massage simply works on the muscle knots and different sore spots to relieve any discomfort and pain.
Shiatsu massage technique may also involve more traditional motions such as light tapping, stroking, kneading, and muscle stretching. It has a great deal in common with acupuncture and acupressure. It loosens the tight muscles and makes the pregnant lady feel relaxed.
Some self-massage styles you can perform at home include;
This unlike the above therapeutic prenatal massage. Perineal massage involves the practice of manually stretching the tissues surrounding the birth canal. When done regularly and gently in the last 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, perineal massage increases the chances of delivering a baby vaginally without damaging the perineum.
Damaging the perineum often increases the chances of tearing and episiotomy.
1. Prenatal massage helps in hormone regulation
2. It helps in the reduction of swelling and inflammation
3. It reduces nerve, back, and joint pain
4. It improves sleep quality
5. It reduces edema
6. It relieves headaches and muscle tension
7. It reduces stress and anxiety
8. It improves the oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles.
Massager guns or massage chair pads are the ideal replacement for traditional massage therapy sessions. You can is at your convenience and in the comfort of your home.
Yes, it is, but with sufficient thought and planning. A handheld massager gun is not always advisable at all times during a pregnancy. Avoid using a massager gun during the first trimester, especially on the legs and the abdomen.
The benefits of using a handheld massager while pregnant include;
On the other hand, using a handheld massager gun during pregnancy can cause complications if not used appropriately. Always consult with your healthcare provider before using a handheld massager gun, especially during your first trimester.
Having a massage during pregnancy has lots of pluses. A gentle Swedish massage provides relief from pain in major body parts. Therefore, it is safe to get a massage on the lower back during pregnancy since it helps relieve the pain and tension.
Every lady reacts to massages differently. There are different body parts that should not be massaged to avoid complications. Certain parts of the lower legs and the feet can be the trigger point, which may lead to induced labor. The abdomen is also a sensitive region that may cause complications if you exert heavy pressure on it.
It is advisable to begin massage therapy in the second trimester until the end.
Avoid getting massages from an unlicensed massage therapist. It is advisable to seek a professional’s opinion to avoid getting in the hands of a less-experienced massage therapist.
Massage for pregnant has lots of medical benefits to the woman and the neonate. Massage helps to reduce stress and anxiety often caused by pregnancy. It provides relief from pain and muscle tension. Proper massage puts a pregnant woman at ease and ultimately may allow for an easy delivery process.
Most importantly, ensure you consult a prenatal care provider before visiting a massage therapist or using a massager gun.