Prenatal Massage: How Massage Helps Moms to Be

Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom.  ~Harriette Hartigan

Pregnancy is both a stressful time and a joyful one. The body undergoes changes rapidly. Some are obvious physical shifts and there is also less overt changes. Pregnancy or prenatal massage is one way to help mother and child-to-be through this time.

Prenatal massage therapy is an effective and beneficial practice for all trimesters – if performed properly. It is both safe and effective prenatal massage therapy can help the mother through difficult times. It can counteract some of the effects of pregnancy while helping her relax.

There are quite a few benefits to prenatal massage. The most common result is stress relief. The pregnant mother relaxes under the hands of a skilled massage therapist. This helps both psychologically and emotionally. It allows the woman to relax and to enjoy the massage and the experience of pregnancy.
Pregnancy massage also helps reduce the problems of swelling of the arms and legs. Muscles relax and, as time goes on, prepare mom’s body for birth. Pain may be relieved while the therapist works on the back, legs, arms neck and hips. Cramps and muscle spasms decrease. The therapist works to alleviate discomfort and even myofascial pain. After all, sleeping on your side for many months can lead to hip, thigh and shoulder discomfort.

The use of pregnancy massage can also help reduce the weight on the joints. Like other forms of massage therapy, it may also affect the flow of blood circulation and lymphatic flow. A regime of massage may also increase the pliability of the skin. This is helpful both during the pregnancy and while the client is in labor.
Used appropriately, pregnancy massage can also be beneficial during labor by a specifically trained massage therapist doula. It can be comforting to have touch therapy during this time. Therapeutic massage can help decrease the tension and anxiety associated with labor. Massage therapy is also suggested post partum, up to six weeks post birth. Timing factors include whether or not there was a caesarean section to deliver baby.

Prenatal massage requires special training. A thorough medical history is needed during the first visit. Your massage therapist must always be aware of change in condition between visits. When in doubt, always ask your physician if pregnancy massage is safe.
Prenatal massage also takes into consideration proper positioning of the client. Pillows or other positioning devices are used to make mom as comfortable as possible.

Prenatal massage can be a positive experience. It can help pregnant women emotionally and physically. The massage therapist also needs to communicate clearly with mom and understand any specific worries and possible problems. Only by understanding the general physical and emotional changes as well as specific problems many women experience can a massage therapist begin to provide beneficial therapeutic massage.