During pregnancy, our body goes through various changes, and this can be at stressful sometimes. As we know, stress can have a negative impact on you as well as on your baby’s health. The only natural solution to deal with stress is the body massage. So, in this article, let’s know about the pregnancy massage in detail.
What is Pregnancy Massage?
Pregnancy or prenatal massage is beneficial as it plays an incredible role to relieve anxiety, pressure, stress, lessen swelling, and pain in the joints. During pregnancy, your body might undergo several hormonal changes. Besides that, backache, stress, fatigue, anxiety, mood swings are very common, and to get rid of it pregnancy massage is the best therapy of all.
Before jumping into any massage, you need to be very cautious about the pregnancy massage you chose, as the prenatal stage is very delicate. So you have to be very mindful while selecting a well-trained massage therapist who has past working experiences.
How Prenatal Massage differs from Regular Massage?
There are many differences between a prenatal massage and regular massage, but the major difference between them is the positioning. You should avoid supine and prone positions during pregnancy. Also, during pregnancy, putting pressure on your abdomen and strain on major blood vessels in the back may cause a severe problem.
Don’t bother about what to wear during a prenatal massage. Always go for loose-fitting and comfortable clothes. Pregnancy massage tables can be beneficial during the massage as it has a unique structure that is specially designed for pregnant women. Quite a few times, prolonged sitting in a chair may stimulate the pressure points on the back, which could result in premature labour. Therefore, also using a massage chair during pregnancy can relieve and reduce your stress to some extent. If you are pregnant for the first time, then it is the wisest decision to consult a doctor beforehand.
Pregnancy Massage Benefits
It is very crucial to take every step very carefully in this phase. Massage can be helpful for you as well as for your baby too. There are several pregnancy massage benefits. Body massage is extremely useful in maternity and labour. It can shorten the delivery time and make labour more comfortable. But always make sure to put a little strain on the belly, and use gentle touch to rub the belly.
There are humongous benefits of rubbing a pregnant belly which is summarised below-
- Reduce muscle spasm, hip and joint pain, sciatica, leg cramps and headache
- Promote relaxation, improves body circulation, induce sleep, increase venous drainage
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Reduce oedema, dyspnea, nasal congestion and digestive problems
- Reduce the complications of uterine prolapse, stress incontinence
- Diminish the level of stress hormone (cortisol)
- Relieve the lower back pain
- Sense of wellness
- Prevent from bedsore
- Relieve tension from upper back
- Massage is very helpful to reduce pain and fatigue.
- Helps in maintaining a good posture
- Results in fewer stretch marks
- Improves mood
- Massaging releases’ feel-good’ chemicals by stimulating the production of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
Is Pregnancy Massage Safe?
You may have come across so many pregnancy massage myths but let me help you to decide on what massage you should select. A statistical study reflects that it is inappropriate to start massage in the first trimester. It is generally contraindicated to perform massage in the first three months as it gives rise to fewer complications like dizziness, morning sickness and sometimes miscarriage too.
You should also keep in mind the pressure points. You must avoid putting a strain on pressure points during massaging. During the second trimester, avoid lying on your back. It may give rise to the reduced blood supply to the placenta. On top of that, always make sure you are in the safe hands of an experienced therapist. Overall pregnancy massage is safe if performed correctly as it helps to relax the body.
What oils can I use for my Pregnancy Massage?
Recent studies and researches have computed that the positive effects of having a massage during pregnancy are undoubtedly helpful to reduce certain complexities. You can also use pregnancy massage oil that is free from any harmful chemicals. It solely depends on you which massage oil you prefer the most. Some of the oils which can be used as a gentle moisturizer are coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, sesame oil, mustard oil.
These are some of the traditional oils that are being used for oil massage on the belly during pregnancy. Among which, Coconut oil massage during pregnancy is one of the first priority.
Aromatherapy helps to ease pregnancy problems like nausea, backaches etc. But it is also important to know that essential oils, used for aromatherapy, are being extracted from plants which contain highly concentrated chemicals. These chemicals can be absorbed by the skin and act similarly like a drug. In some cases, these chemicals may be absorbed through placenta also. So you should be careful enough while using essential oils. Some of you may be allergic to few oils, so do a patch test of the oil on your skin before deciding on any oil.
The discussion of oil remains incomplete without mentioning the benefits of Vit E oil. Vitamin E is a very beneficial component for skincare. Using Vit E oil can reduce pregnancy-related acne or eczema, maintain healthy blood sugar level, and add moisture to your skin. Face massage using vitamin E oil during pregnancy can prevent discolouration due to excessive production of melanin (hyperpigmentation) stimulated but estrogen surge. Vitamin E also promotes blood circulation, which is necessary, especially for the last few months of the pregnancy.
Are there any areas to be avoided during a massage?
During pregnancy, both the blood volume and level of anticoagulants increase. So there may be a chance of blood clot formation in the lower limbs. So applying intense pressure is not advisable at all.
Also, some experts avoid belly massage. You have to know the pressure points very well before going through massage therapy during pregnancy. A trained massage therapist should know where not to massage. Pressing specific points in your wrist and ankle is not recommended as applying pressure in those areas may stimulate the contraction of the uterus before the actual time of delivery.
When to avoid Pregnancy massage?
Prenatal massage can help to lower stress, reduce backache, stimulate blood circulation. It should be avoided during the first trimester, as this is the initial and sensitive phase for you and your baby. During this stage, you are contraindicated to do pregnancy massage.
Few pregnancy massage contraindications are listed below-
- High blood pressure
- Any open wound
- Skin infection or dermatitis
- Vomiting tendency
- Any symptoms of varicose vein and blood clot
- Skin injury
What kind of massage should I avoid in pregnancy?
Before having a prenatal massage therapy, make sure your therapist is well-trained. It is advisable not to have a massage during the first trimester. It is better to avoid vigorous strokes during a massage. The therapist should try to avoid deep massage. Inappropriate massage induces certain complexities like skin injury, skin infection or eczema. We should avoid massage at specific pressure points in the wrist and ankle. It is advisable to use light and slow strokes.
You should avoid the below massages during pregnancy-
- Deep acupressure
- Deep tissue massage
- Percussive tapping
Which position is best for a Pregnancy Massage?
There could be many possible positions, but out of all these, the side-lying position is the most ideal and effective one (especially in the second and third trimester). There are myriad benefits of side-lying pregnancy massage techniques. This position provides lots of positive physical and psychological advantages to you and your baby. Fetal oxygenation and maternal cardiac functioning are utmost in a side-lying position. This position permits maximum blood flow from inferior vena cava (IVC). The liver is located in the right hypochondriac region, so the left side-lying position can take off your pressure from your liver and kidney. Parallelly, right side-lying is also useful in several ways.
It’s safe to avoid prone and supine positions. Prone positions can put immense pressure and strain on your belly. Supine position can put a lot of pressure on your blood vessels in the back, which ultimately lessens the blood supply or fetal circulation. Improper position may lead to complications like shortness of breath, dizziness and many more.
How much do Prenatal Massages cost?
It greatly varies from place to place and from therapist to therapist. It solely depends on your locality and the facilities available there. Some massage therapists may charge as low as Rs 150 to 200 per hour, whereas an expert therapist can charge up to Rs 3000 or more.
How to give a Prenatal Massage at home?
You can perform pregnancy massages at home. But beforehand, you have to compile the right techniques for the massage. You have to consider a few things before starting any massage. Always uphold your body in suitable and proper alignment. Each stroke should begin with the joints or just below the joints and finish above the joints. When your skin is dry, use lotion or oil to reduce the friction. Pressure should be in the line of venous flow. During leg massage, the strokes should be towards the heart.
Prenatal massage techniques include varieties of massages, some of them are listed below-
- Backrub – Make sure you are in a relaxed position. Make yourself comfortable in high fowlers or side-lying positions. While giving back rub, use additional pressure on upward strokes (towards the head) and little pressure on the downward strokes. You can choose the techniques like effleurage and petrissage. These methods evoke relaxation and enhance venous return. It also stimulates the tissue and increases blood circulation.
- Scalp massage – Scalp massage can give you a heavenly feeling. Spread your fingers evenly and use your both the hands to massage. Extend your fingers towards the hairline and massage in a circling manner. Apply gentle strokes on the forehead too. This whole thing can give you great therapy for relaxation.
- Foot rub – It can be very relaxing. You can apply oil or lotion during the massage. You can use your thumb or index fingers to rub between them. You can also gently rub the top of your foot. Try to make circles on the sole of your foot and around the ankle to provide additional comfort. Keep in mind to avoid pressure around the ankle bone as it is a pressure point.
- Belly – During this phase, the most delicate part is your belly. Always rub your belly with a soft touch and try to avoid massage on it. A gentle stroke will enhance your precious bonding with your baby. Some doctors hesitate to advice belly rub in this phase.
- Shoulder massage – You can also go for shoulder massage during pregnancy as it is equally relaxing.
You can also ask your partner to massage your back, shoulders, arms and legs. These are the techniques and tips for your partner while giving the massage. Post-pregnancy massage at home can help you to regain your body posture and to get rid of your stretch marks.
Prenatal Massage: What to Expect?
Having a soothing massage can reduce the level of stress hormones in your body. You can also expect to boost the blood flow to your baby, which is very much crucial during pregnancy. You will feel relaxed after having massage therapy during pregnancy. It also enhances the efficiency of the lymphatic system and helps in the removal of toxins from your body. Having a prenatal massage on regular interval will help you in relieving stress, back pain, headache, nausea, swelling in hands and feet, joint and neck pain and muscle (especially leg) cramps.
Pregnancy Massage Conclusion
You should only continue massage until it seems comfortable to you. Once it gives discomfort or you feel sick or lightheaded, you should discontinue then. Whether you get your massage from a well-trained massage therapist, from your partner or by yourself, make sure the massages are calming, soothing and relieving.
Have you tried pregnancy massage? If yes, then share your experience with other moms in the comment section below.