What to expect during a pregnancy massage
In addition to being a relaxing and enjoyable way to spoil yourself as an expectant mother, pregnancy massage is also highly beneficial for the emotional and physiological wellbeing of both yourself and your baby.
As your body changes during pregnancy, excess stress will be placed upon your back, shoulders, neck and abdominal muscles in particular, leading to aches and pains that you may not have experienced before. A pregnancy massage will aim to rid you of these aches and pains, promote relaxation and get your body ready for labour.
In many ways, pregnancy massage is similar to a traditional massage, but the techniques used during a pregnancy massage apply a gentler pressure to help you relax and to promote wellbeing. The main difference though, is that pregnancy massage is adapted to better suit the needs of you and your baby, and to ensure that the treatment is given in a way that is beneficial, and safe, for both of you. Your therapist will direct the treatment to enhance specific areas of the body such as the lower back, circulatory and lymphatic systems, to help ensure a healthy flow of blood to mother and baby, and effective removal of toxins and waste.
The most noticeable difference is in the way you are asked to position yourself. Unlike a traditional massage, where you will be laying on your front and back, a pregnancy massage will have to laying on your back for a short time and then on each of your sides, with pillows between your legs and arms, which is more comfortable and safer for you and your baby.
Massage during pregnancy comes with a host of potential benefits:
- Reduction in neck, shoulders and ribs pains and muscle tension
- Easing of general pregnancy-related aches, pains and stresses in your lower back, hip, pelvis area
- Better sleep
- Reduction in stress hormones
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased fluid retention
- Better circulation
- Enhanced mood and decreased anxiety
- Better skin nourishment
- Reduction of cramping
- Improved energy levels
Studies have also shown that women who receive a regular pregnancy massage tend to have shorter and less complicated births.
Is pregnancy massage suitable for me?
This depends on how far along in your pregnancy you are.
During the first trimester, no massage, including pregnancy massage, is advisable as the risk of miscarriage is higher.
During the seconds trimester, pregnancy massage is great for addressing the lower back in particular, and the muscles in this region that are affected by posture. Shoulders can also be sore at this time due to postural changes, so they can be eased too.
During the third trimester, you are more likely to be experiencing difficulty sleeping and swollen limbs. Pregnancy massage at this time will encourage relaxation and will help drain the lymph system, removing toxins and extra fluids from places they have built up, like your legs.