Imagine being able to soothe away some of the pain and strain that you feel during your pregnancy!
A massage can go a long way as it eases your mind and body - something that many pregnant women long for.
There seems to be a lot of debate surrounding massage during pregnancy. Some people swear by it, saying that the benefits are innumerable. Others say that it's not safe and you should avoid it altogether.
So, what's the truth? Can pregnant women get massages? Is it safe for the baby? If so, what are the benefits? And if not, why not?
Here is your ultimate guide of the risks and benefits of getting a massage during pregnancy and some pregnancy-safe alternatives.
What is a prenatal massage?
Firstly, let's break down what a prenatal massage actually is.
If you think about it, during a traditional massage, you would normally have to lie face-down on your stomach (which isn't possible when you have a baby in your belly), or lie down facing up (which puts pressure on a major blood vessel that can negatively affect blood flow to your baby).
Essentially, a prenatal massage is adapted for all the changes that you go through during your pregnancy and accommodates all these challenges you would face when getting a massage.
As your body and posture changes, a massage therapist is able to work around these challenges and use special cushioning systems or holes in the massage bed so that you can comfortably and safely lie down on your stomach. They may even have you lie on your side with the support of pillows and other cushions.
Benefits of massages for pregnant women
Massages can help alleviate some of the common discomforts of pregnancy, like back pain and swelling. They can also help to improve your sleep quality and reduce stress levels.
Research has also shown that massage can help to reduce stress hormones in your body which will help to loosen and relax your muscles. While getting a massage, it can also help increase your blood flow which is beneficial when you're pregnant, as it keeps your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency.
Other benefits include:
- Improving circulation
- Reducing muscle tension
- Relieving headaches and migraines
- Boosting your energy levels
- Promoting relaxation
When performed by a licensed massage therapist, massages are generally considered safe for pregnant women.
Is it safe for the baby?
Yes, massage is generally safe for both you and your baby. However, telling your massage therapist that you're pregnant is critical since they may need to modify their techniques. Avoid resting on your stomach or back during the massage and opt for side-lying or seated positions instead. It's also important to drink plenty of water after the massage to help flush out toxins that were released from your muscles.
Prenatal massages are usually considered to be safer after the first trimester of your pregnancy, as long as you get your practitioner's approval. Avoiding a massage during the first three months of your pregnancy may be something you want to do, since it can cause dizziness and morning sickness.
Generally, it would be best if you avoided massages when:
- You have a high-risk pregnancy
- You're experiencing bleeding or spotting
- You have placenta previa
Always consult with your doctor before getting a massage to ensure it's safe for you and your baby.
What are the risks?
There are a few risks to consider before getting a massage during pregnancy. First, if the massage is too deep or done with too much pressure, it could cause bruising or even break tiny blood vessels. It's critical to talk with your massage therapist about your comfort level and let them know if you're in any discomfort. Additionally, massage during pregnancy can sometimes trigger latent blood clots, so it's essential to consult with your doctor before getting a massage if you have a history of blood clots.
How can you enjoy the benefits of massage without taking on the risks?
There are a few ways pregnant women can enjoy the benefits of massage without taking on too many risks. First, they can ask their massage therapist to use lighter pressure and avoid deep tissue work. Additionally, they can opt for a pregnancy massage, a type of massage specifically designed for pregnant women. Finally, they can try some pregnancy-safe alternatives to massage, like acupressure or reflexology.
Are there other ways that don't involve massage therapy?
Absolutely! There are many ways to reduce stress during pregnancy that don't include massage therapy. Other options include relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization, exercise, and getting plenty of rest. You can also try talking to a therapist or counselor about your stressors and how to manage them.
Here is the list of all the pregnancy-safe alternatives to massage:
- Chiropractic care
Before getting a massage therapist to work on them, what should pregnant women know?
Before getting a massage during pregnancy, there are a few things to consider. First, make sure only to see a licensed massage therapist. Second, be sure to communicate your comfort level and any areas that should be avoided. Finally, consult with your doctor before getting a massage if you have any concerns.
In the end, massage can be OK for pregnant women if it is given by a competent massage therapist using mild pressure. However, there are a few risks to consider before getting a massage during pregnancy. If you're pregnant and considering getting a massage, consult with your doctor first. Additionally, many pregnancy-safe alternatives to massage can provide similar benefits.