Being pregnant is an exhilarating time — your entire life is about to change completely. In between planning all the exciting times ahead and satisfying those notorious pregnancy cravings, it goes without saying that you’ll experience some discomfort along the way.
Adapting to a newly expanding body, aches and pains all over the place, pressure on your back and feet aren’t among the perks of being pregnant (luscious hair, glowing skin). The good news is — just as a deep tissue massage can alleviate discomfort after an exhaustive workout, a prenatal massage can relieve pain and make day-to-day life more comfortable and manageable for you and your growing little one.
Let’s break it down. Is it safe to get a massage while pregnant? The answer is yes! Actually, prenatal massages have been shown to relieve pain for a variety of conditions. Here are just a few:
- Back pain: Weight gain, posture changes, hormone fluctuations, muscle imbalance, and stress can all cause back pain in pregnant women. Your body is adjusting to significant changes, and often the effects are felt in your lower and mid-back
- Neck and Shoulder Strain: As with back pain, neck and shoulder related pains are often a result of changes to a woman’s posture while expecting. Not only can a massage therapist provide relief from these pains, they can also offer valuable advice on how to adjust your posture to alleviate pain for the remainder of your term
- Edema: Otherwise known as ankle swelling, edema can be the result of water retention and increased pressure on a woman’s veins. Prenatal massages can help relieve pressure from the veins while helping fluid travel more effectively through your body, assisting with fluid retention and swelling. You might even be able to fit into your favorite pair of sandals sooner than you thought!
What’s sciatic pain?
Your sciatic nerve starts at your lower back and winds its way down the backs of your legs, ending at your feet. With sciatica, pain that travels along your sciatic nerve path can be a serious issue for pregnant women, especially with inflammation of the lower back — it can even be immobilizing. Alternative medicine has a solution, though — prenatal massage can target this pain and provide relief.
Ok, so prenatal massages are starting to sound more like a necessity for pregnant women than a luxury. But are there massage therapists specially trained in prenatal treatments?
Yes. Prenatal massage therapy requires certification and furthermore, an understanding of the demanding needs of a pregnant woman’s body. Make sure that you visit someone who understands the proper positioning of the body, the risks associated with pressure application on certain body parts and the common discomfort that come along with being pregnant. And most importantly, make sure they know what your body needs to feel better.
What should I expect when I’m expecting (to get a prenatal massage)?
The massage therapist should start with a conversation about your overall health and pregnancy before treatment. In session, they should work from head to toe to regulate blood flow, align your systems and relieve the pressure on your lower back. The end result — a marked relief in pain and discomfort. Experts recommend a prenatal massage once a month, with sessions increasing during the third term.