Friday, June 21, 2024

Can I Get A Massage During Pregnancy

Where Can I Get A Pregnancy Massage

Prenatal Massage Safe To Get a Massage When Pregnant?

If you want to try a pregnancy massage, you need to find a certified prenatal massage therapist.

These certified professionals have additional training beyond the standard education for a licensed massage therapist. They are trained to look for signs of pregnancy complications , how to position a pregnant person to prevent injuries (such as strain to the uterine ligaments, and how to address other specific needs during pregnancy.

Just 5 Minutes Of Perineal Massage Per Day Can Produce Life

Perineal massage will feel awkward, even painful, at first. But, the more you practice, the easier and more comfortable it will become. Just 5 minutes per day during the last several weeks of pregnancy will help relax and stretch your perineal tissues to help prevent perineal trauma or tearing during delivery, and pain and discomfort for the months and years following the birth of your baby.

Can You Get A Massage During Pregnancy

Those aching feet, tender back, and overall fatigued body are all asking for some relief, especially during the second and third trimesters, when your ever-expanding belly and increased weight puts more strain on your body.

Fortunately, relief is on the horizon – in the form of a pregnancy massages.

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Are Foot Massages Safe During Pregnancy

Thanks to an increase in the hormone relaxin and the additional weight that the feet must support, pregnant mamas experience tired and sore, swollen feet. In general, foot massages are safe and can be very beneficial in relieving these symptoms. There are, however, acupressure points that can stimulate labor on and near the feet, so it is important to see a massage therapist trained in prenatal foot massages.

But what if the dad-to-be wants to rub mamas feet at home? Have him follow these tips:

Prenatal Massage At Home: How To Massage A Pregnant Woman

Is it safe to have a massage while pregnant

You may be tempted to hire a live-in masseuse for the duration of your pregnancy, but turning to your partner, or a vibrating massager, may be the next best thing. Not only does daily massage during pregnancy help reduce your risk of prenatal depression and premature labor, but your partner whos doing the massaging can reap some benefits too. Their stress hormones are reduced by stimulating pressure receptors in their hands and arms as they massage, Field says.

To get set up, make sure youre comfortable. Tucking supportive cushions under you helps keep the body in alignment when youre lying on your side. Place a pillow between your knees for added support. Next, consider if youd like to use a lotion or massage oil. While essential oils are by no means necessary for a successful at-home prenatal massage, aromatherapy can enhance the experience. I love using lavender for our pregnancy massages for its relaxing and baby-safe properties, Delalay says. Just give the oils a sniff before using to make sure your heightened senses arent offended, and steer clear of certain essential oils that arent recommended for pregnancy.

Ready to try a prenatal massage at home? Here are some key pointers from the pros.

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Benefits Of Massage During Pregnancy

Some of the benefits of a prenatal massage are:

  • A prenatal massage helps alleviate stress on the joints, which are always bearing the weight.
  • It reduces stress in the muscles of the body, and the associated tendons and ligaments.
  • It also reduces the common discomforts which affect pregnant mums, including back pain, foot pain, headaches, leg cramps and stiffness in the joints.
  • It alleviates the risk of heartburn, fatigue, acid reflux, nasal congestion and hip joint pain.
  • It improves blood circulation, which in turn helps increase the strength of immunity and removal of toxins.
  • It reduces the chances of depression, stress, and anxiety by restoring the hormonal balance in the body.
  • It facilitates the release of endorphins in the body, which helps the expecting mum sleep easily and feel more relaxed.
  • It increases muscle tone and flexibility, which helps the pregnant mum carry the extra weight easily.
  • It helps keep the blood pressure in the normal range and reduces the load on the heart.
  • It improves the health of the skin and the underlying tissues.
  • It increases the blood flow to the uterus and placenta to support the baby.
  • It also imparts a sedating effect on the nervous system, and facilitates easier delivery of the baby.

Discontinue using oil for massage if you experience an irritation or any other discomfort. | Image Source: pexels

When Should A Pregnant Woman Think About Getting A Massage

  • Woman In Her First Trimester Of Pregnancy

According to the American Pregnancy Association, women can start the massage at any time during Pregnancy. Many prenatal massage therapists won’t accept clients until the second month of Pregnancy. There is a higher risk of miscarriage in the first trimester. Some therapists worry that massages with increased blood flow might cause harm.

Second, pressure points within the body can cause contractions and possibly induce labor. Prenatal massage therapists often need a doctor’s clearance to work with pregnant women in the first trimester.

  • Women With Certain Medical Conditions

Massage therapy can affect blood flow and other health conditions by engaging the circulatory system. Before getting a prenatal massage, consult your doctor if you have any of these conditions.

  • High blood pressure is not controlled with medication.
  • High-risk pregnancy concerns such as preeclampsia or congenital heart disease are among them.
  • Recent surgery or injury
  • Recent organ transplant

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How To Give A Prenatal Massage At Home

Ask your partner or a friend to use these tips for an at-home maternal massage:

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

Health Benefits Of Prenatal Massage

Is it safe to get a prenatal massage in the third trimester?

Getting massages regularly during pregnancy can have positive health effects on both mother and child. Some ways massage has been shown to help include:

  • Reduction of back and joint pain
  • Lessening of muscle tension
  • Lessening of stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Improved muscle and tissue oxygenation
  • Improved edema
  • Can help lower birth complications like low birth weight

If you find a knowledgeable, well-trained massage therapist who is willing to work with you during your pregnancy, you may experience these benefits firsthand for you and your new addition.

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Avoiding Certain Areas During Deep Tissue Massage

The National Institutes of Health has reported numerous benefits of massage therapy during pregnancy. Prenatal massage is believed to be completely safe and useful for the treatment of swelling, tension, pain, and stress. Pressure points associated with pelvic muscles should be avoided at all stages of pregnancy. These pressure points are located in the wrists, hands, and ankles. It is also important to skip leg deep tissue massage during pregnancy due to possible blood clots. The risk of blood clots increases during pregnancy and leg deep tissue massage may dislodge a blood clot leading to serious health risks.

When To Avoid Pregnancy Massage

Because the research on pregnancy massage is scant, many Western-trained doctors advise a conservative approach. They may even advise all pregnant women to avoid massage. There are no scientifically agreed upon guidelines. Be sure you get clearance from your doctor before you try a massage, especially if:

A massage therapist may require written consent from your doctor and a liability waiver from you before performing pregnancy massage.

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Types Of Massage To Get When You’re Trying To Conceive

The following kinds of massage or a combination of these techniques can be beneficial when youre trying to conceive:

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

  • What to Expect Before You’re Expecting, 2nd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff.

Perineal Massage During Pregnancy Helps Prevent Tearing During Delivery

Pregnancy Massage in Sutton

When it comes to perineal massage, this old saying definitely applies: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Perineal massage during pregnancy involves the gentle, manual stretching of the tissues that shape the birth canal. The benefits of this ancient practice have been studied by researchers, and there is now strong scientific evidence indicating that when done regularly in the last 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy, perineal massage increases your chance of delivering a baby vaginally without damaging your perineum, which results in a decreased chance of tearing and episiotomy.

Perineal tears and surgical cuts require stitching, which can lengthen recovery time after delivery and often cause scarring, pain and urinary or fecal incontinence that can negatively impact your life long after childbirth. The good news is that dedicating just 5 minutes each day during the last several weeks of pregnancy doing perineal massage can prevent trauma to your perineal tissues during childbirth.

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Can I Have A Massage When Pregnant


Yes, of course! We highly recommend you get the massage for pregnancy after 28 weeks of pregnancy, and latest by 2 weeks before your estimated due date. You can still get a pregnancy massage between the 16th and 27th week, but make sure to get a green light from your doctor or gynaecologist first!

Relaxation And Stress Reduction

Prenatal massage is also used to boost mood and enhance overall well-being. For example, in one study that measured pregnant women’s stress and immune system function, women who received a series of prenatal massages showed significant decreases in stress hormone levels and enhanced immune function.

Additional research shows that prenatal massage can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Both professional massage therapy and massages from a partner can help decrease depression, anxiety, stress, and even preterm delivery. A 2012 study showed an association between prenatal massage and decreased depression, as well as higher infant birthweight.

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When Can You Have A Massage

Although it sounds harmless and it really is, there is a misconception that a prenatal massage at the start of the pregnancy is harmful to the formation of the foetus. As a result, many massage centres do not allow pregnancy massages for women in the first trimester of their pregnancy. However, it has been found that the massages do not affect the child, in any way. Most experts recommend getting these massages throughout the period of pregnancy, as they are beneficial. The usual schedule is to get one every two weeks up to the third trimester, and then, a massage every week.

Research That Supports Massage For Pregnancy

Massage Therapy During Pregnancy

Research dating back two decades began to confirm the benefits of massage therapy during pregnancy, with a 1999 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology finding reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep and less back pain among expectant mothers who received massage twice weekly for five weeks.

Additional early research added even more insight into massages role in facilitating a healthier pregnancy. A small 2006 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences showed massage was a solid integrative treatment for severe pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, while a 2009 study in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies on 112 pregnant women diagnosed with depression suggested those receiving psychotherapy plus massage over a six-week period experienced greater drops in depression than those getting psychotherapy alone.

Meanwhile, a 2009 study in Infant Behavior & Development also focused on pregnant women with depression, finding those undergoing massage therapy not only experienced less depression at the end of 12 weeks, but also carried that benefit into the postpartum period. And a 2010 literature review in Expert Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology showed massage therapy decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain in pregnant women, also indicating those in labor used less pain medication and had labors averaging three hours shorter than average.

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What Are The Health Benefits Of Pregnancy Massage

There is not much research into the health benefits of pregnancy massage, but it does seem to reduce stress, relax and loosen the muscles, increase blood flow and improve the lymphatic system. It can also improve mood, lower anxiety and improve sleep.

Pregnancy massage has also been shown to be very effective during labour to help manage pain and improve your emotional experience of labour.

Prenatal Massage Safety Tips

Prenatal massage is meant to nurture you, both physically and mentally, so to fully enjoy it, youll want to put your mind at ease knowing that you and baby are safe. A massage during pregnancy doesnt differ all that much from a regular massage, but there are a few safety tips to keep in mind when youre expecting.

Starting in the second trimester , lying on your side, possibly propped up by pillows, is the optimal position during a massage. Lying on your stomach is of course no longer a comfortable or safe option, and according to the APA, massage tables that feature a belly cutout can still apply pressure to your abdomen plus, having your belly dangle can also cause the uterine ligaments to stretch uncomfortably. Lying on your back once youre in your second trimester can also be unsafe, as the weight of your growing belly can compress an important blood vessel in your back and interfere with blood flow.

Many massage therapists dont offer hot stone massage for their pregnant clients, as raising your core temperature isnt recommended in pregnancy. Many also decline to perform deep tissue massage, since too much pressureespecially near veins in the legscan potentially dislodge a blood clot, which expectant moms are at higher risk of developing. According to Field, moderate pressure that moves the skin is optimal.

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Leg Massage During Pregnancy

Instead of kneading your leg muscles , have your partner rotate your thigh muscles around your femurfirst clockwise, then counter clockwiseas you stand leaning over a chair or countertop. These leg muscles attach at your lower back and pelvis, so youll feel everything releasing with the motion, Lyon added.

Possible Benefits Of Pregnancy Massage

Prenatal In

Only a handful of small studies have focused on massage in pregnancy. No definite benefits have been established. But one study at the University of Miami School of Medicine suggests that massage therapy might have multiple positive effects, including:

  • Lowered anxiety

In another study of pregnancy massage in depressed women, researchers found:

  • Increased levels of the “feel-good” hormones serotonin and dopamine
  • An overall improvement in mood

Research has shown that, for the general population, massage has other potential benefits. It may relieve pain, or it may boost the immune systemâs ability to fight off viruses and tumors.

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Why Massage Might Be Problematic

So, if massage is awesome, why could it be a problem during pregnancy.

Well, first ACOG recommends you get a massage on your side rather than laying like you would normally. I think theyre OK as long as your provider has an insert that has a cut-out for your belly but you shouldnt lay directly on your belly for the massage if your belly is protruding.

Your body has several acupuncture points that could start labor . Many will avoid foot massage for this reason . I found a good article that spoke to foot massage in pregnancy specifically.

Some will just avoid specific acupuncture points and still massage other specific areas of the body so check with your practitioner.

Keep in mind that many therapists use essential oils in your massage and some are not recommended during pregnancy . So, ask them not to use anything beyond carrier oils which have proven fine.

While you might want to be induced later in pregnancy, no one wants to go into premature labor by them touching specific areas of your body or reflex points which is why they are very cautious.

Also, if you have any symptoms of blood clots, I would probably hold off on a massage. You definitely dont want them to massage a blood clot loose and pregnant women are at a higher risk for blood clots during their pregnancy.

Prenatal Massage As Part Of Prenatal Care

The benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health for many pregnant women. Along with the guidance and advice of a prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be incorporated into routine prenatal care as an emotional and physical health supplement shown to improve pregnancy outcome and maternal health. Consult with your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any new therapeutic practice.

Want to Know More?

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Are Massages Safe During Early Pregnancy

With all this talk about massaging and relaxing, you probably want to know when you can get a massage, right?

Technically, you can be massaged at any point during pregnancy, but youll find that most spas do not allow women in the first trimester to receive a massage.

Experts say its best to avoid massage in first trimester when miscarriage risk is highest. Why? For some women, massage can set off a detoxification process. During a detox, your body is basically doing a deep clean and getting rid of stored toxins. This is a problem for pregnant mamas, because some of those toxins may end up back in your blood and can potentially be passed to your developing baby.

If you live a clean lifestyle , this is not likely, and you are a good candidate for massage starting in the second trimester.

Note: Even if you do live a clean lifestyle, there may be circumstances in which you should not receive a massage. For instance, if you have placenta previa and are on bed rest, it wouldnt be a good idea to get a prenatal massage. For this reason, many spas require a doctor or midwifes note prior to your massage.

Always talk to your healthcare provider about whats right for you.

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