Prenatal Massage

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Pregnancy Massage Special Considerations

Since prenatal massage runs the risk of inducing contractions, special care must be taken to avoid particular pressure points located within your wrists and ankles. For this reason, a high level of sensitivity and gentleness is required by pregnancy massage therapists.

Special care must also be taken with regards to the equipment used during an ante-natal massage. Current research supports the use of standard massage tables, rather than “cut-out” tables that have been adapted to accommodate the pregnant belly. The latter allow the abdomen to dangle unsupported, which in turn can cause the uterine ligaments to stretch. To fully gain the benefits a pregnancy massage, the woman’s body should be positioned to maximize effectiveness. Most health and massage professionals recommend that women lie on their side during the treatment.

Pregnancy Massage Benefits

Ante-natal massage techniques offer the following benefits:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduction of stress hormones
  • General mood improvement
  • Opportunity to rest and relax
  • Rejuvenated energy
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Nausea and heartburn relief
  • Relief of everyday pregnancy discomforts, i.e. sore back, sore neck, leg cramps, heaviness in the pelvic bones, swelling of the feet and ankles, fluid retention
  • Muscle and joint pain relief
  • Sense of connectedness with others, especially your partner
  • Improved progression of labor
  • Lower risk of interventions during labor and birth

Prenatal Massage Risks

Prenatal massage should be avoided in the following circumstances:

  • If your doctor or midwife advises against it
  • If you are in your first trimester of pregnancy (as the risk of miscarriage is higher during the first 12 weeks of gestation)
  • If you are in a high risk pregnancy category or have had previous premature labor
  • If you have pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • In cases of pre-eclampsia (sudden swelling with fluid retention)

Prenatal Massage During Labor

During labor, ante-natal massage has proven effective in reducing muscle tension and relieving back pain. Aromatherapy oils combined with massage can also enhance the progression labor and ease childbirth. Finally, pregnancy massage is an excellent way to enable your partner to participate and feel like they helping and contributing.