Oh! Wow, you are pregnant! Congratulations! Pregnancy is one of the most divine phases that a would-be mother goes through. A lot of questions keep on popping on in their mind commonly, what should I eat, how many hours should I sleep, how many glasses of water should I drink in a day and so on. One more thing that fascinates a pregnant woman is the pregnancy massage. If you are looking forward to booking your massage sessions soon then, there are a few things you should know about the same beforehand.
You should start with the massage from the beginning of the 2nd trimester as the 1st trimester has the risk of miscarriage involved. There are several benefits associated with getting a massage during pregnancy. It has been observed that regular massage can loosen and relax muscles and reduce the level of stress hormones during pregnancy. It also helps in increasing the blood flow in the body and flushes out the toxins by making the lymphatic system work efficiently.
The massage offered during pregnancy is called the “prenatal massage,” which as an enriched history. In Jamaica, the use of olive oil or Toona leaf massage was very common. Acupressure is being performed by the Sanbas (midwives) in Japan during pregnancy. On the contrary, mothers in Malaysia use coconut oil to massage their navel. One more interesting historical fact from England, related to this was the use of Lilly oil for massaging a laboring mom that too during the 17th century.
Pre-Steps to follow before taking pregnancy massage?
While in pregnancy, you will get suffer from a lot of stress on your shoulder, neck, back as well as abdominal muscles. With the help of pregnancy massage, you can get relief from the aches as well as pain, which is quite obvious to suffer during the pregnancy. If you take help from an expert therapist, then you will be able to avoid the pains caused in pregnancy. After starting with the massage, your therapist will ask you regarding your lifestyle and health. You will be provided with a specially designed massage table so that you can lie back and relax.
Mostly they use creams or lotions for massaging the skin smoothly, which helps in hassle-free massaging. Also, you will be provided with comfy pillows since it is best if you avoid lying flat in your back, especially if you are in the next half of your pregnancy. This will put extra pressure on the veins in your legs up to your heart.
Difference between pregnancy massage and normal massage
Massage during pregnancy first trimester is mostly done for anatomical changes that women face during the time of pregnancy. Massage given in pregnancy is quite different from the normal massages since you either have to lie down on your stomach, which is quite uncomfortable with a baby belly. Or, you have to lie on your back that will put pressure on your back, which will bring obstacles in the blood flow to the baby. This will lead you to feel nauseous.
But, if you opt for a trained expert therapist, he or she will help you since the shape and posture of your body changes. You will get special cushioning systems so that you can lie down safely. These cushions will help support your growing breast and belly. Alternatively, you can also lie down with the support of cushions. It is best to avoid any deep tissue massage on your legs.
Although a little pressure is fine, it is important to keep in mind that pregnant women have the problem of blood clotting, which can cause due to leg massage during pregnancy. While you can get a firm, deep or gentle massage as you want, but it is best to avoid firm leg massage during the time of pregnancy. It is best if you maintain communication with your therapist at the time of taking therapy so that you can let them know what is feeling good and what is not.
Ways to give pregnancy massage at home
So, if you want to take a pregnancy massage, you can either visit a therapist or you can ask your partner for doing the same for you(though taking massage from the partner is not a good idea if the partner is not having any experience in it). It is really hard to walk around with a baby bump, and taking massage helps a great deal in keeping muscles to work properly without cramping. Listed below are some of the ways that you can ask your partner to help with which will relax you.
Mild foot rub
For enjoying a nice and mild foot massage during pregnancy, you can use lotion for some gentle smooth strokes. You can ask your partner first by beginning with a little pressure on top of the foot, gradually working from the toes till the ankle. Tell him to make small circles around the ankle, which will make you feel relaxed. Then, ask him to use both the thumbs and make small circles on the sole. Tell him to massage using one thumb up and one thumb down and keep alternating it. Make sure that he is alerting the pressure points between the heel and the ankle bone.
You can also take the shoulder massage during pregnancy simply by using the fingertips. Ask your partner to put gentle pressure first on one side of your neck and keep massaging on the shoulder top as well as the base of the skull. Ask him to keep on repeating on the other side.
While taking belly massage during pregnancy, you have to be careful and try not to massage your belly. Tell your partner to give you a nice and mild rub by using vitamin E oil. It will help in giving a soothing effect and also, the pregnancy marks will also disappear.
Gentle back massage
For this, you either have to sit up or lie on your side and ask your partner to give pregnancy massage using stroking motions in an upward and downward motion. You can ask him to use lotion for massaging your back as a lotion will help to glide down his hands easily. Make sure that he is focusing on the muscles on both sides of your spine. This will give you a relaxing effect on you.
Start beginning from the base of the skull and move towards the hairline. Ask him to use both the hands to give mild pressure on the scalp. Putting mild stroke on the face can be extremely amazing.
Benefits of prenatal massage
It has been found that pregnancy massage can be extremely beneficial since it helps in reducing anxiety, minimize the symptoms of depression, helps in reducing joints, and improves the labor outcomes. Massage therapy demands different needs and improved techniques. Among them, one of the common massage procedures is Swedish massage. This method helps in relaxing the muscle tension and enhances blood circulation when gentle pressure is applied to the body. The therapists mostly use the Swedish method of massage since it helps in reducing many related problems related to anatomical changes caused due to hormone fluctuations.
It has been noticed that the hormone level has a direct connection to the relaxation as well as stress, and taking the pregnancy massage helps a great deal in managing the hormone level to a great extent. Massage will help in proper regulation of mood as well as better heat health which is necessary. Taking the bi-weekly prenatal massages continuously for five weeks helps in reducing the norepinephrine as well as the cortisol hormones, which mainly stress-related hormones reduce. Also, dopamine, as well as serotonin level, rises which is related to severe depression. Maintaining the proper hormone levels reduces a lot of complications, especially during the time of birth, such as low birth weight. Therefore, it is best to take the therapeutic massages at the time of pregnancy.
Swelling of the joints is quite common during the pregnancy, and this can be reduced simply by taking the pregnancy massage. Swelling mostly occurs due to low blood circulation, and more pressure on the blood pressures due to heavy uterus. Massage helps in stimulating the soft tissues as it helps in reducing fluid collection in the swollen joints.
Reduces nerve pain
Experiencing nerve pain is quite common during late pregnancy since the uterus takes rest on the pelvic floor muscles as well as the lower back. The uterus puts extreme pressure on the muscles on the upper as well as the lower leg. This results in swelling, thus putting extra pressure on the nerves present nearby. With the help of the prenatal massage, it becomes easy to ease the inflaming nerves, thus reducing the tension on the muscles present around the area.
As your body faces extra demand during pregnancy, it is quite common that you will suffer from iron deficiency. During anemia, you will suffer from the problem of less hemoglobin in your blood. Taking prenatal massage during pregnancy help in increasing blood circulation, and also it will help in reducing tiredness. Increased blood circulation helps in producing more hemoglobin.
As your pregnancy moves further and the baby grows, your body changes its posture, quite normally you will feel backache in the lower and upper back. Massaging helps in the loosening of the tight muscles and reduces the tension in the back due to pregnancy. With the help of an expert therapeutic massage, you can feel relaxed from the backache. Ask your therapist to give some soothing massage on your back so that it can reduce the backache to some extent.
With pregnancy, the baby and the uterus grow, which can put pressure and compress the sciatic nerve. Due to this woman faces sciatic pain at the back of the thigh, the downward portion of the leg as well as the sole. Taking massages can help in reducing the sciatica pain, which is quite common during pregnancy.
Helps in migraine
Most of the women suffer from severe migraines at the time of pregnancy. Headaches also occur due to the hormonal fluctuations, be it due to stress or tension regarding pregnancy, or any other issues. Poor posture can also trigger the problem of pain on the shoulder, neck as well as the head. Having a proper massage can help in reducing the problems of headaches and migraines during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, ligaments become soft since hormones are produced in more quantity inside the body. This leads to the problem of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, which is problematic. Taking massage can help a great extent in reducing the problem of SPD to a huge extent.
Health benefits of prenatal massage
There is no major health benefit if you take the prenatal massage, but it helps in reducing stress, regulates blood flow, and enhances the lymphatic system as well. Additionally, it helps in reducing anxiety so that you can have a sound sleep.
Taking expert massage helps a great deal in reducing labor pain as well as enhances the emotional experience at the time of delivery. It is best if you talk to your doctor before you think about getting pregnancy massage if you are in the first trimester, suffering from morning sickness, vomiting, or nausea, have the risk of miscarriage, etc.
When to say a “No” to Prenatal Massage
Well, isn’t it sound interesting to you? Yes, it is. But, before you proceed with the same, you should know about the situations when you should consult your doctor before taking the massage. Some of the common and risky situations would be:
- Recent Bleeding,
- Pre-term labor
- High blood pressure,
- Severe swelling,
- Severe headache,
- Risked pregnancy,
- PIH (Pregnancy-induced hypertension)
In some situations, it may turn worse for the would-be mother, like in case of severe preeclampsia, your doctor may decide to deliver the baby depending on the due date. Whereas in case of mild Preeclampsia, there are precautions like taking rest, less intake of salt, lying by the left side etc may help. These are the situations when your doctor may ask you to stop taking the prenatal massage.
Therefore, these are some of the things that are necessary to keep in mind about pregnancy massage before you think of opting for it.