Prenatal massage – is it safe?
Carrying a baby inside you shifts your centre of gravity, putting strain on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments, which makes your pelvic joints less stable, and alters your posture, dragging your pelvis forward. Add in the extra weight you’re carrying, and you could wind up with a sore lower back.
For this reason, pregnant mums yearn for a nice massage. A prenatal massage can help you relax and relieve some of the aches and pains of pregnancy. It may also help treat certain pregnant sadness and anxiety by reducing swelling and improving mood.
Massage may be viewed as a luxury to be enjoyed on occasion. However, one of the most advantageous times for massage may be during pregnancy. Here’s everything pregnant women need to know before getting a prenatal massage in Singapore.
What is Prenatal Massage
A prenatal massage is similar to regular massage in that it seeks to relax tense muscles, relieve sore places, increase circulation and mobility, and generally make you feel wonderful. However, it is tailored to the demands of pregnant women and their changing bodies, and therapists who have received prenatal massage training alter their techniques accordingly.
Prenatal massage is a type of massage therapy that is created specifically for pregnant bodies during all stages and growth periods of pregnancy. Including it in your prenatal care routine may be just what you need to help you balance the physical and mental stress you are experiencing at this stage.
A professional prenatal massage therapist will be aware of a pregnant woman’s uncomfortable and swollen areas and may be able to provide some assistance. They will also be aware of which techniques and regions to avoid.
“I feel that most home masseurs are better trained in postnatal massage, so they tend to be too hard when doing prenatal. Or sometimes when they see a pregnant lady, they get frightened and end up being too soft,” said Valerie De Costa, the founder of Theraply, previously known as Nouri Face & Body Concepts.
“There needs to be good rhythm and flow and they need to be in tune with the customer’s body. She needs to feel refreshed and not in pain.
None of our customers have pain because of the technique that we use, which is designed especially for pregnant women. They actually feel relaxed and rejuvenated,” she added.
Image source: iStock
Is prenatal massage safe throughout the entire pregnancy?
Massage therapy can be started at any stage of pregnancy – first, second, or third trimester.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, women can begin massage at any point during their pregnancy. Many prenatal massage therapists, however, will not accept customers until the second trimester. Miscarriage is more common in the first trimester, and some therapists are concerned that the increased blood flow during a massage may be hazardous.
Second, pressure spots in the body are thought to start contractions or even induce labour. As a result, many prenatal massage therapists seek a doctor’s clearance before working with pregnant women in their first trimester.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Massage has been shown in studies to lower stress hormones in the body as well as relax and loosen muscles. Prenatal massage is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as a helpful approach to relaxing and enhancing blood circulation. This is especially critical during pregnancy to keep your lymphatic system running smoothly.
There has been little research on the therapeutic effects of massage for pregnant women, however, studies suggest that prenatal massage may also:
1. Reduce Swelling
Swelling of the feet, legs, and hands during pregnancy is frequently caused by decreased circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels. Massage can assist stimulate the soft tissue, shifting excess fluid, and reducing swelling, leaving you feeling more at ease.
2. Relieve Lower Back Pain
By targeting the tight muscles in the affected area, pregnancy massage alleviates lower back discomfort, including sciatic nerve pain. Prenatal massage promotes blood flow and aids in the release of stress caused by pregnancy.
3. Improve Sleep
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Getting enough quality sleep gets increasingly difficult as your pregnancy progresses. Prenatal massage soothes the nervous system and stimulates the release of feel-good hormones. This will relax you and allow you to sleep better. That is something that we all require!
4. Prepare Your Body for Labour and Birth
Prenatal massage has been shown to have potential benefits that can positively impact labour and delivery. Regular massage sessions throughout pregnancy can help prepare the body by promoting relaxation, reducing muscle tension, and improving blood circulation. These benefits may contribute to a smoother labour experience.
Prenatal massage techniques, such as acupressure and certain massage strokes, can target specific areas to help alleviate pain and discomfort during labour. Moreover, the relaxation induced by the massage can help reduce stress and anxiety, creating a more favourable environment for the progression of labour.
While prenatal massage cannot guarantee specific outcomes during labour and delivery, it can be a valuable complementary therapy to support expectant mothers in their birthing journey.
According to Valerie, a good prenatal massage improves your overall health and prepares you physically and emotionally for labour.
“They would have an easier delivery because the massages help the ligaments to loosen up,” she affirms.
It is important to consult with a qualified prenatal massage therapist and discuss any specific concerns or medical conditions related to labour and delivery.
5. Relieve Pain Naturally
Prenatal massage is a drug-free, natural alternative to pain alleviation. This is advantageous because the usage of drugs is restricted during pregnancy for the protection of your baby. Many of the normal pregnancy discomforts can be considerably alleviated by the improved blood flow to your tissues and the relaxation your body will experience during and after a session.
6. Regulate Your Hormones
Massage treatment has been found in studies over the last ten years to drastically modify hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress when added to women’s prenatal care. This results in improved mood regulation and cardiovascular health.
Other potential benefits of prenatal massage:
- Less joint pain
- Relief from muscle tension and headaches
- Improved soft tissue and muscle oxygenation
- Enhance mood and reduce stress levels
- Assistance with postpartum sadness and anxiety
- Reduce the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight in infants born to mums suffering from prenatal depression.
Getting a massage can also help you relax and cope with all of the significant changes that are happening in your life.
If you decide to receive a massage, you must inform your massage therapist that you are pregnant. Also, notify them immediately if anything, including your position, causes discomfort during the massage.
Get referrals from your hospital, healthcare provider, or friends to find a reputable massage therapist. If you already have a favourite massage therapist, ask if they have prenatal massage training or may recommend a colleague who does.
Some massage therapists require permission from your doctor or midwife before treating you, so inquire ahead of time. Before you begin your session, inform your therapist that you are pregnant.
Prenatal Massage Risks
Massage therapy stimulates the circulatory system, which alters blood flow in the body and may have an impact on certain health disorders. A prenatal massage may be also risky in a few conditions. If you have any of the following conditions, see your doctor before receiving a massage at any stage of your pregnancy:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure that is not controlled by medicine
- Concerns about high-risk pregnancy, such as congenital heart disease or preeclampsia
- Recently sustained injuries or surgery
- New organ transplant
- You have a blood clot or a fractured bone.
- You have a skin injury or condition that rubbing could aggravate. Burns, open wounds, skin infections, and eczema are examples of these.
- You’ve developed an allergy to massage oils.
Consult Your Doctor Before Booking a Prenatal Massage
It is generally recommended to consult with your healthcare provider or obstetrician before getting a prenatal massage. While prenatal massage is considered safe for most expectant mothers, it is important to ensure that there are no specific contraindications or medical conditions that may require additional caution or adjustments during the massage.
Your healthcare provider can assess your individual situation, take into account any pregnancy-related complications, and provide personalised advice regarding the suitability and timing of prenatal massage.
Before you try a massage, see your doctor, especially if you have:
- You have nausea, vomiting, or morning sickness.
- You have a greater chance of miscarriage.
- You have a high-risk pregnancy, such as placental abruption (when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall) or preterm labour.
Get permission from your physician and choose a massage therapist who is trained in prenatal massage. The massage therapist may request written authorisation from your doctor as well as a liability waiver from you before having your prenatal massage. They’ll be aware of which strategies to employ and which regions to avoid.
Anyone who has ever had a professional massage knows that it makes both the body and the mind feel better — and prenatal massage can feel even better when extra weight and changes in posture cause new aches and pains.
Image source: iStock
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