Many expectant mothers wonder if pregnancy massage is safe for the baby. The answer is yes. It’s not only safe, it’s often very beneficial for you and your growing baby. If you’re experiencing any of the following conditions during your pregnancy, a massage may be just what your body needs to make it happy.
Massage also helps your body prepare for delivery by helping increase elasticity and range of motion in the joints and muscles associated with childbirth. And by helping blood flow in the legs, massage can reduce the chances of edema, varicose veins, and blood clots (if you already suffer from these conditions, then special precautions must be taken and you should let your doctor know you’re planning on getting a massage).
Generally, pregnancy massage uses mild pressure applied to the muscle groups to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation. These techniques specifically address many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy.
According to the American Pregnancy Organization, studies show that pregnancy massage can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and the general health of the baby. Specifically, they say massage helps with the following:
Pregnancy massage is safe for most pregnant women. However, as a precaution, you should tell your doctor about your intention to get a massage if you:
These conditions don’t automatically exclude you from being able to have a pregnancy massage—massage can help maintain muscle tone, circulation, and decrease bed bound discomfort. But if you have any high risk conditions, it’s important that your physician be aware of any complimentary health treatments you’re receiving.
On your first visit, you’ll complete a questionnaire and talk with the therapist about your pregnancy and your needs. If you’ve had massage before, then you know how great it feels. But pregnancy massage is a little different. For example, the positioning during the massage is critical to the safety and well-being of both you and your baby. Your therapist will also have to adapt their strokes to accommodate this side lying position.
Some massage therapists use special pregnancy cushions, but here at the Pregnancy Massage Center, we use pillows to provide stability. The best position for a pregnant woman during massage is lying on the side—this provides the most stability for the baby and is comfortable for you. You’ll always be covered with a sheet and blanket for your modesty. Pregnancy massage can be performed with as much or as little clothing on as you are comfortable with. The therapist will adapt their technique to accommodate your needs.
How often you should get massage during your pregnancy is up to you. Many women get weekly massage during their last trimester, but it varies depending on the individual. However frequently you decide to get massage, it will help make your pregnancy even more special. So don’t wait…start feeling great today.