Second Opinion Magazine
Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
By Becky Streeter
You’re six months in and you feel great! Baby is kicking and you’re totally rocking those cute, comfy maternity clothes. Seven months and still going strong. Eight months and you’re starting to get a little tired of this bowling ball on your stomach weighing you down. Nine months and you can’t sleep, you’re stiff and sore, everything is out of wack, and all you want is a nice warm bath and a great massage. Good news–you can, and should, get that massage you’ve been daydreaming about!
Massage therapy is safe, and beneficial, for almost all stages of pregnancy. It can help with circulation, reduce anxiety, ease low back/pelvic pain and sciatica, reduce swelling in the ankles and feet, relieve muscle and joint aches/pains, relax the nervous system, and improve sleep. Postnatal massage also helps you bond with your new baby, and can help decrease depression symptoms and risk of postpartum depression. Not to mention it’s great for your mental health, too, to take a break and just let yourself be pampered for an hour.
Because it’s not always safe or comfortable for a pregnant woman to lie on her back, pregnancy massage looks a little different than other types of massage. Danielle Wagner from Refined Touch Therapeutic Massage describes it as follows: “We use side lying positions, with pillows, support props, bolsters and sometimes inclining tables to make sure the pregnant person is comfortable and safe. Pregnancy massage incorporates Swedish techniques that include long and circular strokes to promote circulation and relaxation.”
Pregnancy massage is not right for everyone or every pregnancy. Those at risk for complications include people with bleeding disorders, uncontrolled high blood pressure, high-risk pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, deep vein thrombosis or varicose veins, and those who take blood thinners. That is why it is important to always speak with your doctor if you are just beginning your massage therapy journey in order to mitigate any contraindications.
If you decide to treat yourself to a massage, make sure you have an honest conversation with your therapist at the beginning of the session. Wagner says, “Strong communication with your therapist about goals and expectations will help you achieve the best possible outcome and leave you feeling happy, relaxed and renewed.” It is the therapist’s job is to help you, and only you know exactly what is going on with your body, your wants and needs. Be straightforward, and enjoy that hour of relaxation and bliss. Let’s be honest, you deserve it!