pregnancy massage

Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy massage has the same goals as regular massage ­–

  • To relax tense muscles and ease sore spots;
  • Improve circulation and mobility; and
  • Bring about a sense of relaxation and an improved state of mind.

It is also tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies. Carrying a baby changes your centre of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, knees, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments, so that your pelvic joints are less stable, and changes your posture, pulling your pelvis forward. All of of these changes can bring about muscle, joint and ligament pain from the new and different stresses placed on the body.

It is important to note that continuing to receive massages from your regular massage therapist may no longer be appropriate during pregnancy if they are not qualified to give pregnancy massage. There are areas of the body where massage must be avoided (such as some acupressure points) so as not to stimulate the uterus to start contracting. Additionally, the style of massage needs to be gentler than you may be used to, to ensure the safety of the baby and also to prevent stress on your circulatory system (which is already working overtime). Some aromatherapy oils must also be avoided.

As a trained NutureLife Practitioner, Karen can target those sore spots and provide relief, while knowing which areas, and what techniques, to avoid.

pregnancy massage

Optimal comfort during a pregnancy massage

Some women find it uncomfortable to lie facedown right from the start of pregnancy because of their breasts feel more tender. It is also difficult to lie facedown on a traditional massage table once your belly has started to grow. It isn’t recommended that you lie flat on your back either, particularly once you’re past mid-pregnancy, as you can compress the vena cava (the vein that runs back to your heart). A compressed vena cava, means less blood returning to the heart, and therefore less oxygenated blood coming from the heart for both you and the baby.

For these reasons, once you are no longer comfortable lying on your stomach, or you are midway through your pregnancy (whichever comes first), I have you lie on your side with pillows and wedges for support. This position provides the optimum positioning for your spine and pelvis for receiving massage (as well as being the ideal position for sleeping on your side during pregnancy). You will find the position to be deeply relaxing and incredibly effective.

Massage can be extremely beneficial at any stage of your pregnancy, when performed by a fully qualified Pregnancy Massage Therapist. Note that in instances of a high-risk pregnancy, I may require clearance from your doctor or midwife before treating you.

Relaxation Massage First Massage

Is massage safe during the first trimester?

The common misconception exists that women in their 1st trimester are unable to receive a massage treatment, a myth which is often reinforced by massage therapists that are not qualified to provide pregnancy specific massages.

Karen is a qualified NutureLife® Practitioner and is therefore qualified to assist all women during their pregnancy whether they are in their 1st trimester or beyond. The specific benefits of receiving massage during the 1st pregnancy include:

  • Helping with headaches associated with a change in hormones during the 1st trimester;
  • Reducing hip, back, shoulder and neck pain (some which can be preexisting prior to pregnancy and need treatment to continue through pregnancy);
  • Stabilise mild nausea;
  • Improve sleep patterns and reduce fatigue;
  • Reduce stress and anxiety; and
  • Begin to help create the mother-baby connection.

Postnatal massage

It is as important to care for yourself during the postpartum period as it is during pregnancy. Massage can help you deal with the physical demands of caring for your newborn by:

  • Easing muscle tension, especially in the neck, shoulders, and back;
  • Increasing energy / decreasing fatigue;
  • Improving sleep;
  • Improving mood; and
  • Improving breastfeeding (assisting with the milk letdown by reducing tension).

I understand it can be difficult to find time for yourself during this period, but the benefits are well worth it.

After a vaginal birth, postnatal massage can be performed as soon as you feel up to it. This may be after only a few days, or can be after quite a few weeks if you have suffered significant perineal tearing. After a caesarean section (c-section) delivery, it is recommended that you do not have a massage for 6 weeks post surgery, or after you have doctors clearance to do so.

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