Pregnancy massage: its benefits, risks, and when to avoid

Anyone who has ever had a professional massage knows that both the body and the mind feel better afterward, and the same is true for prenatal massage , which can feel more wonderful when extra weight and changes in position trigger new aches and pains, which appear. Frequently in the last months of pregnancy .

Benefits of prenatal massage

Pain reliever

As the abdomen grows outward, the position changes to realign the center of gravity over the hips. For some people, pressure on the joints and muscles causes pain in the lower back, pelvis, neck, shoulder, or sciatic nerve.

Reduced swelling

Some swelling or edema is also normal during pregnancy. Fluid buildup tends to be more pronounced in the legs, ankles, and feet because the growing uterus presses on the veins in the legs. Massage may help reduce fluid buildup.

Sleep better

Difficulty sleeping is common during all stages of pregnancy, thanks to the physical discomfort in addition to stress and anxiety. Massage may help improve sleep quality and insomnia during pregnancy.

Relax and reduce stress

Prenatal massage is also used to improve mood and enhance general well-being. For example, in one study that measured a pregnant woman’s stress and immune system function, women who received a series of prenatal massages showed significant reductions in stress hormone levels and improved immune function.

What makes pregnancy massage different

A pregnant woman’s body should be positioned and supported properly during the massage for the comfort and safety of the mother and the developing baby. After about 20 weeks, for example, lying on your back can put more pressure on your stomach, which limits blood flow.

During a prenatal massage, you are usually lying on your side rather than your stomach or back. This is especially important during the later stages of pregnancy. Pillows, pillows or bushings can be used to support your back, knees or feet. Alternatively, your massage therapist might suggest that you sit upright or in a semi-reclining position.

Safety and risks of prenatal massage

Few studies have examined the risks of prenatal massage. Little is known about the risks of pregnancy massage for women with high-risk pregnancy and pregnancy-related problems such as preeclampsia, high blood pressure, bleeding or gestational diabetes.

Your doctor may recommend, for example, that you avoid massage therapy during the first trimester of pregnancy , or a massage therapist may not be comfortable doing a massage until you reach the second trimester. There is no research linking massage and miscarriage, but since the overall risk of miscarriage is higher in the first trimester of pregnancy, some providers prefer to take the side of caution.

The safety of essential oils (which are often used in aromatherapy massage during pregnancy, and there is concern that some might lead to uterine contractions. Avoid essential oils in the first trimester and consult your doctor if you are considering using them in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy. “

When to avoid pregnancy massage

As with any new treatment, consult your doctor before booking a pregnancy massage treatment. Use extra caution if you have a high-risk or complicated pregnancy, including:

  • Increased risk of premature labor
  • Preeclampsia or high blood pressure
  • Blood clots or a blood clotting disorder
  • Problems with the placenta, such as placenta previa

Tips for enjoying a massage during pregnancy

  • Be sure to ask if your massage therapist is certified or licensed by a professional organization, and has training and experience in prenatal massage. Your doctor or midwife may be able to recommend a qualified massage therapist in your area.
  • Before your appointment, drink more water. Massaging can be dehydrating, and you really need extra fluids during pregnancy, so stay hydrated after the massage as well.
  • When you arrive for your appointment, make sure the environment is clean. The room and linens should look fresh and washed, and the therapist should wash their hands before starting a massage