Last year, we talked about the benefits of Chiropractic treatment during pregnancy. Not everybody needs chiropractic during this amazing time, but just about every pregnant woman can benefit from a Pregnancy Massage.
We would all love to think that pregnancy is a time when we feel amazing – glowing as people say. But for some women, the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy can be trying. Morning sickness, tiredness, muscular and joint pain, water retention, the constant need to pee. These can all leave you feeling less than ‘glowing’. Many women also suffer anxiety – will my baby be healthy, will I be able to cope with labour, will I be a good mum? And then there is the guilty feeling that you are not enjoying what ‘should’ be a happy time.
Whilst we can’t claim that massage will fix all the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, it can help alleviate a wide range of them, and make you feel generally less anxious and stressed.
Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
There are a huge number of benefits to pregnancy massage:
- Relief of joint and muscle pain caused by increased weight
- Relief of sciatic nerve pain caused by the change in your centre of balance
- Improved posture – which can become a problem with the change in your shape and the loosening of ligaments
- Increased energy
- Improved sleep
- Reduction of stress hormones and reduced anxiety by release of endorphins
- Improved blood flow throughout the body, and in the placenta
- Improved pliability of skin – which may help reduce the severity of stretch marks
- Relief from nausea and indigestion
When NOT to have a Pregnancy Massage
Massage is generally not recommended during the first trimester. Similarly, if you have a high risk pregnancy or a history of early labour, massage may not be ideal. Pre-eclampsia and hypertension may also be contra-indications. Always check with your doctor before having a massage. They will be able to tell you if it is not a good idea for any reason.
How is Pregnancy Massage Different?
Pregnancy Massage usually employs the Swedish Massage technique, as this is gentler than Remedial massage and helps with lymphatic drainage as well as improving blood flow. Don’t be afraid to ask your Therapist to be more gentle with you. Because of the increased blood volume in your body – up to 60% – some women are particularly sensitive to touch during pregnancy.
Since it is not recommended that you lie on your back after the first trimester, you will usually have most of your massage lying on your side. A pregnancy massage pillow will be used to allow you to lie on your belly when required, but this will only be for a short time. Again, don’t be afraid to ask your Therapist for support pillows – this should be a comfortable and relaxing experience.
Some areas of the body will be avoided, as they can stimulate the uterus. This includes the wrists and the ankles. A qualified Massage Therapist will know what to avoid and what is safe, so make sure you ensure you choose a reputable therapist.
One final suggestion – if your partner is willing, ask your therapist if they can demonstrate some simple techniques to use during labour to help relieve discomfort – and make them feel useful!
If you would like to book a pregnancy massage, call our Baulkham Hills Clinic today on 9639 7337 to make an appointment with one of our experienced and highly qualified Massage Therapists.
Note: Always discuss treatments with your Obstetrician, GP or Midwife before making an appointment for any treatment while pregnant.