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Are you considering a prenatal massage? As you’ve gone through pregnancy, you’ve handled a host of strains on your body — an aching back, aching and swollen feet, tired legs and hips — and so much more. Not to mention the toll it’s taken on your mental well-being.

The thought of a prenatal massage is heavenly, but you have some questions. And before you feel comfortable scheduling a massage, you want to know everything there is to know about pregnancy massage.

You have questions like:

Is it safe?
What are the benefits?
What massage therapist am I looking for?

The Motherhood Center can answer all these questions for you and more. By the end of this article, you will understand why a prenatal massage is a must in your prenatal care routine.

What Do I Need to Know Before Getting a Prenatal Massage?

Ensure you select a therapist who is certified in prenatal massage. Certain areas should not be massaged during pregnancy, and only a therapist familiar with pregnancy and prenatal massage knows this.

Be sure to speak with your prenatal care provider before scheduling a prenatal massage.

There are some circumstances when you should avoid a prenatal massage, such as:

  • Being less than 12 weeks pregnant
  • Having a high-risk pregnancy
  • Experiencing preterm labor
  • Having preeclampsia1

Your prenatal care provider can discuss any concerns you may have.

Are Prenatal Massages Safe?

Aside from some exceptions, as mentioned above, pregnancy massage is a safe way to relieve aches and pains and improve your mood.

An experienced prenatal massage therapist will inquire about your pregnancy history — if you’ve experienced morning sickness, dizziness, or have any allergies — and adjust the massage accordingly.

Because there is an increased risk for miscarriage in the first trimester, most pregnancy massage therapists won’t see you until after 12 weeks. Motherhood Center requires a doctor’s release consent form if you’re less than 12 weeks pregnant.

Certain areas should be handled with extra care or avoided entirely during a pregnancy massage due to the risk of blood clots and inducing labor. Some of these areas include your:

  • Pelvis
  • Abdomen
  • Wrists and hands
  • Ankles and legs2

It’s worth saying again: finding an experienced prenatal massage therapist is vital.

What Is the Difference Between Regular and Prenatal Massage?

The most significant difference between a pregnancy massage and a regular massage is the position in which you lay. You should never lay flat on your back during your pregnancy massage. Instead, you’ll either lay in a semi-reclined or side-lying position.

While some clinics have tables with holes cut out for your stomach so you can lay face-down, the safest positions are side-lying and reclined.

As we already mentioned, a therapist will not massage specific areas during a pregnancy massage. Also, the use of specific essential oils will be avoided.2 During pregnancy, you may be more sensitive to scents that otherwise wouldn’t bother you, so neutral-smelling oils are typically used for a prenatal massage – if used at all.

Some massages — like a deep tissue massage — are not ideal during pregnancy and will not be available to you during that time. This is because the pressure of a deep tissue massage can dislodge blood clots, which pregnant women are at higher risk of developing.3

Motherhood Center offers a deep tissue massage to clients that are not expecting.

What Are the Common Types of Prenatal & Postnatal Massage?

There are a few options for a massage, depending on what phase of life you are in. Here at Motherhood Center, we offer the following:

Prenatal and Postnatal Massage.

Our pregnancy massage relieves muscle cramps and increases blood and lymph circulation. This can reduce swelling and help you feel less fatigued.

Our prenatal massage also lowers levels of cortisol — the stress hormone. This, in turn, encourages deep relaxation, meaning a happier, calmer mom and baby.

Your personal care and wellness are critical — consider adding a prenatal massage to your self-care routine.

Swedish Massage.

A Swedish massage is a standard massage technique used for those who have graduated from postnatal massage or for those who are not pregnant and uses motions such as kneading, tapping, rolling, and vibration. There are many benefits of a Swedish massage, including the following:

  • Reduced emotional and physical stress
  • Enhanced mental focus
  • Improved restful sleep
  • Relieved muscle tension
  • Improved flexibility

In-Home or Hospital Massage.

Some of our clients are on bed rest or prefer the privacy and comfort of their homes. Whether you are at home or in the hospital, it is our pleasure to come to you. You receive the same quality care we offer at the Motherhood Center.

Don’t let your circumstances make you forego the benefits of a prenatal or postnatal massage.

Hot Stone Massage.

While you may not be able to receive the whole experience of a hot stone massage while pregnant, you can still enjoy some of the benefits it brings. Hot stone massages offer muscle tension and headache relief and improve overall circulation.

Because it’s vital to pay attention to the core temperature of a pregnant woman, special adjustments will be made to your hot stone massage to ensure the complete safety of mom and baby.

Induction Massage.

If you have reached full-term — 39 weeks or over — an induction massage may be worth considering. While there’s no guarantee that an induction massage induces labor, it focuses on the pressure points in your back, legs, feet, and hands. Stimulating these pressure points encourages your body to prepare for natural labor.

If you are feeling anxious, stressed, or exhausted, an induction massage can help you relax and feel calmer about your upcoming labor and birth. Relaxation helps the natural progression of labor, as well.4

Be sure to speak with your prenatal care provider before scheduling an induction massage.

What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage has many benefits, from physical to emotional to mental. Many studies have found pregnancy massage improves expecting mothers’ mental and physical well-being.

Some of the benefits of prenatal massage include less:

  • Swelling8
  • Headaches
  • Back and leg pain
  • Sleep disturbance5
  • Anxiety and depression6
  • Prenatal complications
  • Pain and shorter labor
  • Joint pain and muscle cramps
  • Stress (lower cortisol levels) in both mom and baby7

As you can see, pregnancy massage is overflowing with benefits for you as an expecting or recovering mom.

Schedule Your Prenatal Massage for Your Personal Care and Wellness.

Are you ready to feel relief from the never-ending back pain? The pregnancy headaches make you miserable, and you wonder how much longer you can handle the swelling and tingle in your legs.

Are you tired of feeling anxious? The stress has pulled your muscles so tight you feel like a tightly coiled wire.

If any of this sounds like you, consider getting a pregnancy massage. Let yourself be pampered so you can feel like your best self, and book an appointment for a pregnancy massage with Motherhood Center.

Sources

  1. Massage and Pregnancy: A Powerful Combination
  2. Effects, Side Effects and Contraindications of Relaxation Massage during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials – PMC
  3. Pregnant? Don’t Overlook Blood Clots | CDC
  4. Acute relaxation during pregnancy leads to a reduction in maternal electrodermal activity and self-reported stress levels – PMC
  5. Effect of Therapeutic Massage on Relieving Pregnancy Discomforts
  6. The effectiveness of massage for reducing pregnant women’s anxiety and depression; systematic review and meta-analysis – ScienceDirect
  7. Pregnancy and labor massage – PMC
  8. Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling, and Recovery of Muscle Function – PMC