Is It Safe To Get A Prenatal Massage?
Pregnancy is a beautiful and significant time in a woman’s life. But it can also be stressful on both the mind and body. It’s natural that expectant mothers might seek out wellness treatment, and massage therapy is highly sought-after. But is it safe for pregnant women?
It’s a perfectly reasonable concern to have, so below we’re going to give you a rundown on prenatal massage. You can then decide whether it’s the right choice for you (and your little bundle of joy of course!).
Is Prenatal Massage Safe?
Yes, in most cases mixing pregnancy and massage is perfectly safe. Pregnancy massages have been in practice for centuries, though it is less common in Western countries.
Remember that prenatal massage is not quite the same as traditional massage and some adjustments do need to be made. If you’re considering massage therapy, make sure that your massage therapist has experience and certification in prenatal massage.
Symptoms Of Prenatal Massage Risk
Though it is a safe practice generally, not all pregnant women are safe candidates for massage. Western doctors unfortunately don’t have exact guidelines on who should or should not be massaged. But you should always discuss prenatal massage with your doctor before making an appointment, especially if:
You have a high-risk pregnancy – the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, or placental abruption.
You have high blood pressure.
You have recently been injured or undergone surgery.
You are still experiencing consistent nausea and morning sickness.
You are in your first trimester.
Many qualified massage therapists will request that you wait until your second trimester before scheduling a session. Though there is no direct link between prenatal massage and pregnancy difficulties, most miscarriages occur during the first trimester.
Many practitioners will avoid a massage during the first trimester because of potential liability issues, and fear that increased blood flow could be harmful during this stage of pregnancy.
Remember to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are considering a pregnancy massage. Even if your doctor gives you clearance, your massage therapist may require a doctor’s note before confirming your session.
How Prenatal Massages Can Help
There are some noted benefits of massage during pregnancy.
- Relieves anxiety.
- Reduces body pains, particularly in the back and legs.
- Reduces swelling associated with pregnancy, particularly in legs and feet.
- Decreased levels of stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine.
- Increased levels of dopamine and serotonin.
These benefits can have an overall positive effect on prenatal health. But it also provides the advantages of traditional massage such as pain relief, relaxation, and improved sleep.
How Does It Differ From Regular Massage?
Many massage techniques are still considered safe for pregnant women. The major difference between regular and prenatal massage is in the position of the body.
Most massage therapists will conduct a pregnancy massage with their client positioned on their side, with special pillows or ‘bolsters’ to support the legs, arms, and head. Some practitioners have special pregnancy tables, designed to accommodate a pregnant woman’s stomach.
Massage therapists will also adapt their techniques to accommodate the changes in a pregnant woman’s body. This includes avoiding placing strong pressure on the calves and thighs, as the increased blood flow during pregnancy puts women at risk of blood clots in these areas. More gentle strokes are used in these areas.
Pressure on the abdomen is generally avoided, otherwise, it is treated very lightly. Massage techniques such as deep tissue, shiatsu, and deep acupressure are avoided, alongside a few others.
If you think a prenatal massage is a good option for you after going through the points listed in this article, consider a visit to the BodyWorx Vitality clinic in Vaughan, Ontario.
Give us a call at (905)-553-5900 for more information or get in touch here to book an appointment with one of our registered massage therapists.