Pregnancy is a time to indulge in self-care. And prenatal massage therapy makes you comfortable, relaxed, and soothed. However, many women have questions, like is a prenatal massage dangerous? The answer is no. Generally, massage is a treatment to relieve physical and mental stress. In addition, it provides other benefits for pregnant women, such as:
Prenatal Massage Benefits
Massage stimulates the physical body helping pregnant women ease tightness and discomfort by releasing stress and tension.
Many past studies have proven that hormone levels are linked with relaxation and stress. Prenatal massage therapy is an easy way to regulate mood and improve cardiovascular health. For example, a woman that participates in bi-weekly massages for five weeks will experience relief from stress hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol. On the other hand, dopamine and serotonin will increase to lower depression. In addition, hormone changes lead to lesser chances of birth complications and newborn complications, like low birth weight.
Reduction of swelling
Pregnant women face severe conditions, especially swelling joints, also known as edema. This condition results from low circulation and increased pressure on the blood vessels. Prenatal massage stimulates the soft tissues to remove the accumulated fluid in swollen joints. In addition, it eliminates tissue waste flowing in the body’s lymph system.
Improvement of nerve pain
During pregnancy, the uterus rests on the pelvic floor and lower back, causing pressure and tension on the muscle. The pressure worsens to the upper and lower leg muscle, leading to swelling and pressure on the nerves. Prenatal massage therapy stimulates inflamed nerves to reduce tension, reducing sciatic nerve pain.
When to get a prenatal massage
There is no fixed time to get a prenatal massage during pregnancy. However, you must consult the doctor or midwife before participating. Notwithstanding, some therapists do not advise therapy for pregnant women in their first trimester because it may increase their chances of miscarriage. Regardless, no evidence has proven this myth to be true. During the massage, ensure you’re comfortable and avoid lying face down because of your swollen belly and breasts.
Many therapists use pillows or wedges for support. Some parlors have sophisticated tables or pads with hollowed areas and pillows to hold the belly and breasts while lying face down. However, if you experience body pain from using the table, it is best to lie on your side. Do not lie face up, especially after mid-pregnancy, avoiding the uterus weight from placing pressure on the vein connecting the legs and heart.
Massage guidelines for pregnant moms
Two primary scenarios hinder the massage, such as:
1. Women in their first trimester of pregnancy
Although not proven, prenatal massage during the first trimester increases the risk of miscarriage, and an increase in blood rush may harm the baby. In addition, pregnant women have trigger points in the body associated with contractions or induced labor. This is why a therapist works on only first-trimester pregnant women with doctor’s orders.
2. Women with certain medical conditions
Prenatal massage therapy increases circulation in the body, altering blood flow and specific health conditions. However, the exercise isn’t for people with:
High blood pressure
Recent injury, surgery, or organ transplant
High-risk pregnancy concerns, like congenital heart disease or preeclampsia.
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