We at Beginnings Birth Center can provide you with access to trusted and experienced massage therapists. We are happy to discuss your pregnancy with you and help you determine if massage therapy can be helpful to you. If your nurse-midwife determines that your pregnancy is considered low-risk, you are most likely able to incorporate massage into your prenatal care routine. Massage therapy can work wonders for your body, especially during pregnancy.
Benefits of pregnancy massage include relief from:
- Stiff neck
- Leg cramps
- Edema (or swelling)
- Insomnia or Sleep Discomfort
- Muscle tension
- Hormone levels
- And more
Massage therapists that are certified in prenatal massage have education and training in the physiology of pregnancy to ensure positioning during the massage and the massage itself are safe for mom and baby.
When is it not a good idea to get a massage during pregnancy?
Massage is beneficial for almost everyone. Even women carrying multiple babies can benefit greatly from massage. There may be certain conditions that may or may not be related to the pregnancy that would preclude massage or certain types of massage. If you have experienced any of the following conditions, please consult with your nurse-midwife prior to choosing massage therapy.
- Preterm contractions
- High-risk pregnancy
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)
- Previous preterm labor
- Severe swelling
- High blood pressure
- Sudden, severe headaches
- Or if you have recently given birth
Massage done during the first trimester is generally up to the therapist, the woman, and her nurse-midwife. Massage has never been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
Is Massage Helpful for Labor?
Massage can also be useful for labor. Techniques can be done by your partner or a doula. The time to learn the techniques is while you’re pregnant before you go into labor. It is a great idea to take your partner or friend with you when you get your massage – any professional therapist will encourage this so they can show your partner many comfort measures he or she can use at home and will also explain why some techniques are unsafe.
Postpartum massage is designed to help restore the body to health after giving birth. It also addresses the stress of carrying and caring for a newborn. It can speed the recovery by bringing relief of sore muscles and help the mother to relax more easily. Abdominal massage helps shrink the uterus and relieve subcutaneous scar tissue. It may be given early after the birth under the advice of your nurse-midwife.
Prenatal Massage Techniques
There are a few things that set prenatal massage apart from any regular massage therapy techniques. From positioning to basic massage techniques, choosing a massage therapist that understands the needs of maternity massages is crucial to a positive outcome for therapy.
During prenatal massage therapy, the positioning of your body is highly important. By the second trimester, all massages are conducted in a side-lying position. This will ensure that the uterine ligaments aren’t under any strain. Likewise, massage therapists are aware of and watch for symptoms of blood clots and varicose veins.
The goal is to make you the absolute most comfortable that you can be. The massage therapist will know how to position you, utilizing pillows and cushions throughout your body. These cushions are specifically provided to relieve any extra strain to the lower back and pelvic areas that may occur during the massage techniques. Extra strain in these areas can subsequently cause unnecessary back or abdominal pain. This is why the therapist pays extra close attention to your level of discomfort and specifically identifies the areas that you are experiencing the most pain. Prenatal massage therapists are trained and experienced with completing appropriate massage techniques through this positioning.
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