Prenatal Massage: What to REALLY expect when you’re expecting!

So you found out you’re expecting…there’s something about being pregnant that suddenly makes you want to double and triple check everything that you do, assuring that you support a happy and healthy pregnancy. You are told so many things NOT to do during your pregnancy, and it can become an overwhelming responsibility that leaves you feeling powerless. Don’t let the myths about prenatal massage prevent you from taking advantage of the amazing and positive benefits that massage can bring to both you and your baby as part of your prenatal care. Let’s debunk some of these common myths and give you back some empowerment!

Myth # 1 – Massage in the 1st trimester can cause a miscarriage.

While the 1st trimester of pregnancy can bring about uncertainty to an expectant mother, gentle and nurturing touch by a trained therapist can help to integrate the many changes that are taking place in the body, making massage therapy a safe and effective way to support your health during the first trimester. Though more miscarriages commonly occur in the first trimester more than any other, there is NO evidence suggesting massage increases the risk in any way.

That being said, it is important to communicate with your massage therapist if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Anyone with pregnancy restrictions and/or previous history concerns should consult with a physician before receiving massage. There are necessary precautions to take with anyone having a history of three or more consecutive miscarriages in the first trimester or current miscarriage risks. Certain contraindications may be put in place regarding deep massage, but gentle massage and energy-based therapy can still be beneficial. You should feel comfortable sharing your concerns with your massage therapist and asking the questions that you need answered to feel safe and secure with your decision to make massage therapy part of your prenatal care. Open communications will also assure that your massage therapist is aware of any changes that are occurring within your pregnancy and can plan accordingly to make appropriate adaptations to your massage, something I feel is very important with each prenatal massage. As a massage therapist that has seen many expectant mothers at various stages of pregnancy, I can tell you that it is one of my favorite services to provide. It is a gift to be part of the precious journey between mother and child, bringing support and care to the mind, body, and spirit of the mother and her baby.

Myth # 2 – Feet should not be massaged during pregnancy.

Although reflexology practices state that there are contraindicated points on the foot and ankle that should be avoided during pregnancy, there is no need to fear the feet! These points are in very specific locations, requiring deep, precise pressure for a certain period of time to elicit an effect, such as labor contractions. One would need to have the proper training to know where specific points are located, how to access them, and the specific manner in which to stimulate that point. In addition, researchers continue to question the validity of these contraindicated points and reflexology claims, especially in regards to the ease in which labor contractions can be induced. Foot reflexology promotes improved blood supply to the cells of the organs in the corresponding areas of the body, providing enhanced functioning. Think of reflexology as an energy boost! If a woman’s body is already prepared to birth, reflexology may be able to tip a woman into labor, but NOT induce labor otherwise. If it were as simple as massaging the feet to induce labor, then why don’t nurses and doctors simply devote more time to addressing a woman’s feet in the delivery room? Just some food for thought!

As part of your prenatal massage, your therapist can safely provide a gentle foot massage, focusing on lymphatic drainage to decrease the common swelling and discomfort that accompanies pregnancy. This also means that the next time your partner offers up a foot massage for your tired feet, say YES! It’s time to kick up those pregnant feet!

Myth # 3 – Prenatal massage is NOT as effective as “regular” massage.

This could not be further from the truth! Many people equate an effective massage with deep pressure, but effectiveness goes beyond the amount of pressure that is used. Prenatal massage reduces anxiety, decreases symptoms of depression, relieves muscle aches and joint pains, and improves both labor outcomes and newborn health.

There is no disputing that the pressure used in a prenatal massage is not going to be as deep or as intense as other massages an expectant mother has had prior to pregnancy, especially if very deep pressure is preferred. Swedish massage is the recommended massage method during pregnancy. It addresses the many common skeletal discomforts and circulatory changes that take place due to hormone shifts. In addition, the side-lying position that is used in prenatal massage allows for muscles along the spine, shoulders, and hips to be easily assessed, allowing for muscles to be effectively massaged with less pressure and less discomfort. Various pillows are used to provide support in the side-lying position and alleviate any strain on the lower back or pelvic region. You might be surprised to learn that the side-lying position is not just for prenatal massage, but commonly used with non-pregnant clients to address specific muscles with more ease.

The lesson to learn here is that you do not need to have an intense, deep massage to alleviate the symptoms you are experiencing in pregnancy, such as headaches, back pain, stiff neck, leg cramps, or edema. Once you come to understand that deep pressure does not make for an effective massage, the myth no longer holds any validity. In addition, let’s not forget about the power of relaxation and all that it can bring to our body!

Past Information & News

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    You have probably heard the term “trigger point” and don’t know exactly what a trigger point is…Many of us have them, those annoying little spots on our body that cause tenderness or pain when we touch them.

  • Happy Feet, Happy Life

    Reflexology, also known as the ancient Chinese method of Zone Therapy, is a healing practice based on the principle that each body part, including organs and glands, is represented on the feet. Essentially, our feet are a complete map of our body.

  • Using Hot Stones – What to Expect

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  • REIKI… GET YOUR ENERGY BACK IN BALANCE

    Reiki provides the most powerful, deep state of relaxation that stills your mind, freeing it from cluttered thoughts and allowing your body to heal itself emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

  • Take a Break – Benefits of a 30 minute massage

    Choosing a 30-minute massage allows you to obtain the relief you need from stress and pain and get back to the commitments in your life.