As with regular massage, pregnant woman experience numerous benefits from massage because of their changing bodies that put stress on the back, neck and shoulders, and abdominal muscles. Pregnancy massage is specialized to relax these muscles and prepare the body for labor.
There are several comfortable positions to lie on the table to receive a pregnancy massage. For obvious reasons, most woman in their first trimester are not able to lie face down due to tender, swollen breasts and as the belly begins to grow. Lying flat on your back, particularly in the middle of you second trimester is not possible due to the weight of the uterus putting pressure on an important vein for blood flow to the heart.
There are many massage therapists that offer pregnancy massage and position the client face down by using specialized pillows or a table “cut-out” for the belly. Both positions put strain on the uterine ligaments, lumbar and pelvic structures.
The best and safest way to receive a pregnancy massage is in a semi-reclining and sidelying position. Any other positions are not recommended.
Studies have shown that a pregnancy massage can relieve the common discomforts of pregnancy. Massage increases local and general blood circulation, thereby bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the cells of both mother and baby. Increased blood and lymph flow encourages the removal of toxins. Massage also stabilizes hormonal levels and increases muscle tone and flexibility, all of which enhance the health of both you and your baby.
As pregnancy progresses, additional strain on the back and legs increases stress on weight bearing joints. Regular massage therapy sessions assists in flexibility, allowing this extra weight while calming the nervous system, relieving leg cramps and reducing muscle spasms. Massage therapy will also help to relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy.
A pregnant woman’s blood volume increases as much as 40% (even more with twins or triplets). Pregnancy massage therapy nourishes the heart by increasing circulation of blood as well as other body fluids.
There are no case studies that prove this to be true. Reflexology claims this to be true but actual studies prove this to be a myth.
Pregnancy massage should not be administered if considered high risk by a physician for vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain (early in the pregnancy), severe morning sickness and a fever over 100. Most physicians encourage this therapy and may even recommend a therapist for you.
As soon as possible! Postpartum massage focuses on helping to restore the body to its pre-pregnancy condition and is able to realign body weight to its original distribution, tone over-stretched areas of the skin, increase circulation which helps with the removal of excess fluids and reduces swelling — thereby speeding ups the healing process.
For over nine years, MOMease™ Massage has offered postpartum massage to patients in local San Antonio hospitals. Mothers who deliver cesarean are not able to lie on their belly so soon after birthing but greatly enjoy a leg and foot massage due to poor circulation from not being able to walk around soon after delivery. Massage reduces leg and foot swelling that often occurs hours after delivery from poor circulation from bed rest.
Postpartum massage encourages uterine involution (the return of the uterus to its normal shape and size) and assists with the aches and pains in the lower back due to the epidural and reduces neck and shoulder pain due to the adjustments and strain of breastfeeding.
Postpartum massage allows the patient to concentrate less on their pain and more on their precious baby. It helps to relax the muscles and de-stress the body and mind after everything it has just endured. It is a wonderful reward and a deserving compliment to this joyful time.
Studies show that women who received massage at least twice per week before delivery had lower levels of cortisol (stress hormones), which reduced their risk of a premature delivery and the risk of postpartum depression.
Massage is a nurturing touch that every mother deserves!
Not all massage therapist are trained and certified in pregnancy massage and not all are comfortable working with pregnant women. When making an appointment for a pregnancy massage, it is important to make your therapists aware of your current condition and trimester and any complications. You should ask how they administer the massage (specialty prenatal tables) and if they are certified and/or trained.