As you advance in your pregnancy, your growing belly and the additional weight can place extra stress on your muscles and circulation. Prenatal massage therapy is designed to address the needs related to your pregnancy and any associated aches and pains. Slow, kneading movements can do wonders in relieving stress and soothing sore muscles.
Your Therapy Session
A prenatal massage can be very similar to a traditional Swedish massage. Because this type of massage directly addresses pregnant women’s needs, your therapist may pay special attention to your lower back, hips, and buttocks. Be sure to notify your therapist of any problem areas that may need special attention.
Prenatal massage can reduce the amount of stress hormones in your body, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Massage also can release of feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which will help you feel nurtured and more relaxed. It can reduce edema and swelling that leads to water retention in pregnant women, sending water away from your tissues and joints and into the lymphatic system. Prenatal massage can also reduce nerve pain (such as leg tingling) that can occur later in your pregnancy as your uterus presses on nerves in your pelvis and lower back.
Positioning for massage is where this type of massage may differ from a more traditional massage. Your therapist may offer a table with special cut-outs for your breasts and belly; if is not available, your therapist may ask you to lie on your side to alleviate pressure on your abdomen and the veins leading to your heart. If you prefer, you may wish to clutch a body pillow to reduce stress on your legs and pelvis.
While prenatal massage therapy is considered safe in most instances, get it approved by your physician before making an appointment. If you have health conditions like blood clots or a broken or sprained bone, high blood pressure, diabetes, vomiting, or frequent morning sickness, massage may not be indicated for you. Be sure to notify your massage therapist if you have allergies to ingredients in massage oils or if you have skin conditions.