Many healthcare providers have been mixed in their feelings about pregnancy massage. Recently, though, research has shown that administered properly, massage can offer great benefits – emotional and physical – to the expectant woman.
The special considerations needed for prenatal massage
Pregnant women should discuss their plans for massage with their midwife or doctor first, to make sure the pregnancy is low-risk and to talk about any specific concerns.
The position for pregnancy massage
Most professionals ask pregnant women to lie on their sides. Lying on her front will be impossible for many pregnant women and tables that have a hole for the bump may still squash the abdomen or let it dangle too much, stretching uterine ligaments.
Ensure the therapist is properly trained
Prenatal massage involves extra training and the practitioner should be able to prove he or she has undertaken it and achieved a minimum standard.
They should know how to position a client properly, as well as how to look out for problems like varicose veins and blood clots.
When to be extra careful
If a woman has experienced bleeding or early contractions, she should consult a doctor before receiving a massage. The following health conditions also need to be considered carefully:
- High risk pregnancy for any reason;
- high blood pressure;
- previous premature labour and
- recent birth.
Is prenatal massage safe throughout pregnancy?
While prenatal massage is safe at any point in pregnancy, many practitioners don’t see women in the first trimester as this phase carries the highest risk of miscarriage. Properly administered, however, pregnancy massage can be enjoyed at any stage.
What are the benefits of prenatal massage?
Massage can help with the emotional and physical health of the pregnant woman and, alongside the guidance of a doctor or midwife, can become an important part of her prenatal care regime.
Massage can reduce anxiety, depression (surprisingly common in pregnant women), relieve muscle and joint pains, improve sleep and help to prepare the woman for labour.
It can also help to reduce the uncomfortable swelling in the lower limbs that many women experience in the later stages of pregnancy, as well as back pain.
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