Some of my favorite experiences as a massage therapist are pregnancy massage sessions. I absolutely enjoy watching pregnant patients transform throughout their pregnancy. From the moment a woman tells me that they are expecting until their delivery day; I love learning about their pregnancy. I find it fascinating what the human body is capable of and the creation of new life is such a natural process that the body simply knows what to do. Joints become softer to allow more flexibility, organs re-position themselves, new networks of blood circulation are created and this all happens in less than a year!
How can massage help during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the woman’s posture and gait adjust to help accommodate for the additional weight. The most affected areas are more than likely going to be low back, hips, knees, and feet. There’s sometimes tension in the upper back, between the shoulders, and neck which can be caused by stress or different sleeping arrangements. Although deep tissue massage isn’t really an option, massage to help loosen the tension in these areas helps the mother relax. I have had many pregnant patients fall asleep on the table just out of sheer exhaustion and because they were able to relax. Sometimes women can experience swelling at some point during their pregnancy and massage can help alleviate some of the swelling.
Need help with inducing labor?
A natural way to help induce labor is to get a foot massage. There are points in the feet that when aggressively massaged can cause a woman to go into labor. Clary sage is also said to help induce labor as well. I recommend getting an aggressive foot massage and use clary sage essential oil as lubricant.
Can you get a massage after you deliver the baby?
ABSOLUTELY!! In fact, I highly encourage it. As soon as the mother receives the green light from her doctor or midwife, a massage can be just what she needs. The body is needing a chance to heal from the trauma of giving birth as well as the stress of a new having a newborn. A massage can certainly help the new mother relax.
What kind of risks are there with massage during pregnancy?
During the first trimester, there is a higher risk of miscarriage which is a natural termination of the pregnancy before the fetus has reached viability. Because of this fact, it is strongly recommended that women do not receive massage during their first trimester. If there are conditions or factors that increase the risk for complications then massage should be postponed until written permission from a doctor or maternity specialist is given. These risks often include:
·Fetal genetic disorders.
· Maternal illnesses: diabetes mellitus; chronic hypertension; cardiac, renal, connective tissue, or liver disorders.
· Rh-negative mother, or genetic problems, including diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure, and other uterine abnormalities.
· Multiple gestations (twins or triplets). Play it safe and ask your OBGYN if massage is okay.
· Mother’s age under 20 yrs and more than 35 yrs (some sources specify less than 17 and more than 40 yrs). Again just play it safe and ask your doctor.
· Complications from previous pregnancies.