Massage therapy during pregnancy is a wonderful complementary choice for pre-natal care. It is a healthy way to reduce stress and promote overall wellness. Modern investigation and research is proving that pre-natal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in a woman’s pre-natal care and should be given careful consideration. Latest information suggests that women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy – during first, second, or third trimester. Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, hormone regulation, reduction of swelling, improvement of nerve and back pain, improve circulation, reduce headaches, improve oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
I take extra care to ensure my pregnancy massage clients are comfortable. Side-lying positioning (once lying on your stomach becomes uncomfortable) supportive, soft cushions are used to alleviate the extra strain on the lower back and pelvic areas when the pressure of massage techniques are applied. Extra strain in these areas can cause unnecessary back or abdominal pain, so naturally we want to avoid any potential discomfort.
Through the second trimester, you may prefer to lie on your back with a small, cushion placed under one hip to provide a slight elevation. Depending on where you are in your pregnancy, your therapist may utilize such massage techniques as reflexology, Swedish massage or certain techniques that address your specific requests and needs.
Massage for pregnant women offers a number of benefits, and it’s always a good idea to discuss with your therapist any everyday symptoms you’d like to see relieved. Those might include:
- Headaches can be relieved by massage focusing on the head, neck and shoulders. In addition, maintaining optimal levels of stress relief through massage reduces the chances of migraines or tension headaches by relaxing trigger points and muscle spasms.
- Muscle tension created by carrying the extra weight of a baby can be relieved by encouraging blood flow to the afflicted areas. This provides more nutrient-rich oxygen and also increases the flow of lymphatic fluid, which sweeps away toxins and metabolic waste.
- Fatigue, backaches, leg cramps and swelling/edema can all be relieved through various types of massage for pregnant women.
- The ordinary aches and pains of pregnancy are countered by the release of serotonin, your body’s natural anti-pain chemical, which is stimulated by massage.