Massage is safe and perfect for any trimester throughout your pregnancy, as well as through labor, delivery and beyond. Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that when massage therapy was introduced to women’s prenatal care, hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress significantly altered, leading to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health. Studies also note that the physical benefits of frequent massage during pregnancyinclude lower blood pressure, decreased anxiety and fatigue, reduction in leg cramps and edema. When used as preventative health care, massage can even relieve headaches, sciatica and insomnia.
Pregnancy massage is always administered in a side-lying position or reclined for mother’s comfort. Pillows are on hand for placement under head, belly, between knees and anywhere else mother may need support. Gentle, nurturing Swedish strokes are used in each session to ensure relaxation. Swedish massage is designed to stimulate the parasympathetic system and the body’s natural healing process. During a Swedish massage the body starts sending out serotonin and dopamine which are your body’s natural “feel good' hormones that allow you to relax rest and revive.
Some acupressure and acupuncture points on the feet, ankles and calves, if stimulated in a proper sequence are thought to induce labor, although massage therapy has never been proven to bring on early labor. Prenatal massage may incorporate acupressure work and is effective at relieving nausea, sciatica, hemorrhoids and many other common issues that arise during pregnancy. When these therapies are administered correctly and without the intention to induce labor, mother-to-be can benefit greatly. Always make sure the therapist you see is certified in prenatal massage to avoid any complications. My biggest piece of advice to women who receive or are seeking out massage therapy during pregnancy is to immediately notify your therapist if you start to experience any discomfort or pain. A skilled therapist will listen and modify a technique or position so that you can receive the most from your session. Ankle, leg and foot massage during pregnancy are welcome for mothers with the extra weight and soreness and it is perfectly safe to receive massage in these areas.
Many health care professionals—doctors, midwives, chiropractors and doulas—prescribe massage therapy as a supplement to a woman’s regular health program. You should consult your physician before beginning massage therapy for recommendations on frequency of treatment.
About the Author:
Racquel Garcia is owner and founder of Mommy And Me Massage Therapy For Women, located in the greater Denver area. Mommy And Me, founded in 2008, provides Prenatal Massage, Pregnancy Massage, Postnatal Massage, Therapeutic Massage for Health Care and a wide range of Bodywork modalities to give you a one of a kind, unique experience with every session. Garcia graduated Heritage College with an Associates Degree in Massage Therapy in 2004. For more information visit http://www.mommyandme.massagetherapy.com/.