Pregnancy is perhaps the most delicate stage any woman’s life. Pregnancy is very stressful to the body as it undergoes changes to nurture the new life growing inside. Stress is also present on the emotional level as the woman anticipates the added responsibility of motherhood while having to cope with the physiological demands of the pregnancy. With all the worries, aches and pains associated with signs of pregnancy, the mother-to-be can gain much from massage therapy. Benefits include improved blood circulation, lowered heart rate, and a relaxed body and mind.
Benefits of massage during pregnancy
A good massage can also provide relief from many discomforts brought on by pregnancy symptoms like muscle cramps and spasms; myofascial pains felt on neck, shoulders, lower back, hips and legs; stressed knees and ankles; swelling of the hands, arms, legs, and feet due to fluid retention; difficulties in sleeping; and, psychological cares like anxiety and restlessness. And according to a number of studies, the fetus also benefits from the massage treatment the mother receives. A massage therapy also makes the mother’s body more pliant resulting into a less painful labor and easier delivery.
Pregnancy requires specially trained massage therapists
The techniques used in pregnancy massage differ from those used in other types of massage because the health and safety of the fetus is given utmost consideration. For this reason, massage therapists who work on pregnant women receive special training and must be duly certified.
Things to remember when it comes to pregnancy massage:
• Pregnancy massage should be performed only on women who are past their third month of pregnancy. The reason is massage therapy increases blood circulation but this may cause dizziness and aggravate the morning sickness symptoms.
• The pregnant woman must be carefully positioned during the massage to ensure her safety and that of her unborn child.
• If a massage table must be used, it should be semi-reclining. Consider using extra pillows to wedge the body and provide extra padding to increase patient comfort.
• As a precautionary measure, the pregnant woman should never be made to lie prone with her belly beneath her. Also, it is ill-advised to use a flat table with a hole provision for the bulging abdomen as this will stress her lower back unnecessarily.
• The therapist should not massage or press the pregnant woman’s specific body parts, such as the left and right sides of the ankles and the webbing between the thumbs and index fingers. These critical points can cause premature labor if subjected to constant pressure.
Under normal circumstances, any pregnant woman can enjoy a good body massage without fear for her safety. However, if she has a special condition, she will need clearance from her obstetrician or health care provider before going in for a pregnancy massage. Women who ought to think twice about pregnancy massage are those who have pre-term labor risk and those suffering from blood clots and other related disorders.
The healing power of massage
Still, pregnancy massage is just like the other types of massage in that it uses the healing power of the human touch. Humans need physical connection from other human beings. This physical connection through the touch promotes comfort, love, caring, and security. It increases awareness and raises the sensory levels. For this reason, many people, pregnant or not, seek massage