Pregnancy is a beautiful – but often uncomfortable – time for a woman. As she grows new life within her body, she experiences aches, pains, and fatigue like she’s never known. Fortunately for expecting women, prenatal massage helps to relieve those symptoms so that they can enjoy the miracle that is their unborn baby.
The Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Massage is an important part of prenatal care. It not only relieves pregnancy discomfort, but it also allows your body to do what is necessary in order to keep you and your baby healthy. Here are a few things a prenatal massage can do for you:
- Reduce stress;
- Relieve back, neck, and head pain;
- Reduce swelling;
- Alleviate cramps;
- Lessen stress on weight-bearing joints;
- Improve sleep quality;
- Encourage blood and lymph circulation;
- Minimize anxiety and depression associated with hormones.
Prenatal massage isn’t just a one-time fix. Regular massages can provide continuous symptom relief throughout your pregnancy. For instance, prenatal massages help you better manage headaches by keeping trigger points and muscles spasms to a minimum. And the release of serotonin, the body’s natural anti-pain chemical, during massage acts to combat recurring aches and pains.
What to Expect During Your Prenatal Massage
Prenatal massage differs from regular massage in a few ways, but the main modification you’ll notice is the position in which you lie. To alleviate extra strain on the lower back and pelvic areas that can occur with the pressure of massage techniques, you’ll lie on your side with soft, supportive cushions propping you up. Or, if you prefer during your second trimester, you may lie on your back with a soft wedge under one hip for elevation. Either way ensures your comfort while allowing your therapist the ability to apply the right amount of pressure where needed.
The most important thing to remember about prenatal massage is that communication with your therapist is key. She’ll work with you to find the ideal position, but you must let her know if you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort during the session.
Staying Safe During Prenatal Massage
Women with normal, healthy pregnancies benefit greatly from regular prenatal massages. If, however, you have a high-risk pregnancy or are early in your first trimester, speak with your doctor or midwife before beginning a massage therapy program. While the benefits are available to you too, it’s important to get the go-ahead from your physician.