What is Prenatal Massage? And Why it’s so Beneficial?

Posted: April 27, 2010 in Massage

OH MASSAGE TIME – We all love our massages and notice the benefits from them, but when a woman becomes pregnant, she wonders, “Is it okay to get my massage?”

Massage has many benefits to pregnant and non-pregnant women. Prenatal massage like regular massage helps aches and pains, improves circulation and mobility, and just make you feel good and relaxed.

Studies at the University of Miami, School of Medicine, show that just 20 minutes of massage twice a week for five weeks reduces stress hormones in the body, improves mood and sleep patterns, and reduces anxiety and back pain. Studies also show that women who received regular massages during pregnancy had lower rates of premature birth, fewer obstetrical problems, and their babies had a lower rate of postnatal complications.

Most experts recommend you avoid prenatal massage during your first trimester when your body is still getting used to the pregnancy, and some believe there may be a connection between first trimester prenatal massage and miscarriage. However, prenatal massage is perfectly safe during your second and third trimesters, and you’ll appreciate the benefits more the further along you are. You should always check with your doctor before beginning any new treatment or procedure when you are pregnant, and many massage therapists even require you to obtain a written note from your doctor or midwife before receiving a prenatal massage.

What is Prenatal Massage? – Therapeutic bodywork that focuses on the mother-to-be and her special needs.  The way you lie on the table, the pressure the therapist uses, the areas that the therapist needs to avoid and the areas that are particularly very beneficial for a mother-to-be are all involved in a prenatal massage. How often should I get a massage? During your second and third trimester, once every other week is good – once a week is great! Ask your therapist about specials for working with you throughout your pregnancy.

As a mother-to-be, remember to make sure your therapist is well trained in prenatal massage and make sure to let your therapist know all information regarding your pregnancy.

Some of the Benefits of Prenatal Massage

  • Helps low back pain along with sciatica pain
  • Alleviate neck, shoulder and back pain caused by muscle imbalance.
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Helps decrease insomnia and restlessness
  • Reduces swelling of hands and feet
  • Improves the tone of leg muscles
  • Relieve depression, anxiety, and nervousness caused by hormonal changes
  • Relieve stress on weight-bearing joints such as lower back, pelvis, and ankles

To the Therapist – If a client is on bed rest you can improve the circulation with Swedish massage and lymphatic draining; however, do not do any legwork due to increased risk of blood clots.  Foot, head and neck massage are always very relaxing and will make the mother-to-be very happy.

Tips to remember

  • Use pressure comfortable for patient
  • Avoid reflexology points concerning the uterus, vagina, etc.
  • Use unscented oils and lotions – pregnant women have an aversion to strong odors.
  • Never lie client on her back after first 22 weeks- it can cause pressure on deep blood vessels, therefore reducing circulation to the mother and baby.
  • Contraindications/Precautions – Heavy discharge, diabetes, contagious illness, fever, vomiting, unusual pain, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, varicose veins, skin rashes, open sores, and inflammation.

As a Mother-to-be going to get your massage, remember to tell the spa or massage place you are going to that you are pregnant.  Make sure that your therapist is well trained with experience in prenatal massage – and don’t be scared to let your therapist know  about your comfort  – everyone is different so, what is good for one client may not be good for you!

We hope this is helpful for you – Enjoy your massage!

JC Health and Fitness!

    1. Maria Brophy says:

      Massages saved my back when I was pregnant! All those muscles from my back were being pulled as my belly got bigger – it was painful. But the massage helped tremendously. Thanks for a great article, as always.

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