Pregnancy may be the time for you to indulge yourself in the beneficial activity of taking a massage therapy. Studies show that the pregnancy massage helps new moms in maintaining their health and relieving muscle tension and joint pain. It eases sore spots, lowers anxiety, decreases the level of the stress hormone norepinephrine, improves sleep, blood circulation and mobility and lets the new mom feel fresh and healthy by increasing hormones serotonin and dopamine. According to the results of a study printed in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, decreasing the level of stress and anxiety hormones also helps in reducing life-threatening medical conditions during pregnancy after delivery.
Techniques for pregnancy massage
There are different types of massage techniques that can be used in pregnancy massage. Some frequently used massage therapies are
- Deep tissue massage – firm strokes pressing deep into tissues
- Swedish massage – long strokes to relieve muscle pain and joint stiffness
- Shiatsu – pressure on pressure point to stimulate the body’s natural energy
Massage therapists adapt these techniques to address changes the body of a pregnant woman is going through. Light and slow strokes are applied on legs that move toward the heart. They avoid applying pressure on the abdomen so, belly is usually not massaged. To further minimize the chances of miscarriage due to massage, most doctors do not advise it during the first trimester. However, there are no studies to confirm any relationship of massage with miscarriage, it is advised only to avoid any potential liability should a miscarriage occur.
Massage provides amazing benefits to a pregnant woman but you must consult your doctor before going for massage therapy.
When pregnancy massage is not a good idea
Due to the lack of research on the topic, there is no such guideline available to tell us when pregnancy massage may not be a good idea. However, we can adopt a conservative approach to avoid any potential side effects. Consult your doctor before leaving for spa if
- You feel nausea, vomiting or morning sickness
- You have pregnancy complications
- You have a high-risk pregnancy
Avoid laying flat on your back during your massage as it may put stress on your vein which returns blood from your legs to your heart. Instead, lay on your side and use pillows to support your body.
Precautions for pregnancy massage
Pregnancy massage is an excellent treatment if you want to feel healthy and fresh but, you must also be careful because it’s about you and you’re newborn. Some safety measures that must be taken are:
- It must be a gentle massage with fewer stretches.
- Avoid massage in some areas like the top of the shoulders, abdomen, low back and just above the inside of the ankles (acupressure point).
- Avoid massage techniques that improve blood circulation for women in the third trimester with heart problems.
Not every massage therapist knows the techniques and safety measures to perform massage on a pregnant woman so, you must select a massage therapist who is trained and experienced in treating new moms.
The field needs more research work to explore more therapeutic benefits that a massage may offer and to understand how rubbing and applying different types of strokes help in pregnancy. However, the above-mentioned benefits of a pregnancy massage are proven and can be acquired through pregnancy or prenatal massage therapy.