No one can deny the amazing after-effects of getting a full body massage. Hence, what could be a better way to take away all the pains and aches a woman goes through when pregnant and expecting than a massage? Other than just that a massage also has several benefits on a pregnant woman. However, several questions pop up in the mind before one decides if they want a pregnancy massage. This section, therefore, looks forward to answers all such questions. These include the meaning of pregnancy massage, its benefits, the areas to avoid when getting a massage and all the other things a person needs to keep in mind before deciding on getting a massage.
What is Pregnancy Massage?
A pregnancy massage is a term used to refer to all the massages that a woman gets during the time of their pregnancy or after it. These massages last for typically an hour. To accommodate the pregnant belly of the women, a special kind of table is used in these kinds of massages. Bolsters, a specially designed pillow is also used to make a woman feel comfortable while she lies on her side.
Pregnant women choose to get pregnancy massages simply since it has a lot of positive effects on their bodies. Some of these benefits include getting some relief from various discomforts that a woman experiences during their pregnancy period. These include joint pains, headaches, swelling, leg cramps, muscle aches and backaches amongst others. Along with this, getting pregnancy massages have reportedly reduced the chances of anxiety, stress, depression, and other mental health problems in women during and after their pregnancy period.
There are two kinds of pregnancy massages. One massage is referred to as prenatal massage and the other is called postnatal massage.
What is Prenatal Massage?
A prenatal massage is a massage that a pregnant woman gets during the course of their pregnancy period. It is one of the best choices that a woman can take for prenatal care. This is for the reason that a prenatal massage has its own sets of benefits that it provides to both the expecting mother and the baby. Some of these benefits include providing relaxation from nervous tensions, backaches, leg cramps, stiff neck, swelling, encouraging lymph circulation and blood circulation, reducing stress. It also provides relief from various hormonal changes such as anxiety, stress, and depression. It also helps to improve the sleep of a pregnant woman.
What is Postnatal Massage?
Postnatal or postpartum massages are the full-body massages that a woman gets after they have delivered the baby. The benefits that the postnatal massages provide to the body are as important as the massage that a woman takes during the course of their pregnancy. A postnatal massage works towards regulating the body to its normal prenatal condition. Some of such benefits that the postnatal massages provide are it helps to provide better sleep, regulates breastfeeding, regulates hormones, reduces swelling and reduces stress. Some other benefits of it include providing relaxation and aiding a speedy recovery especially for those mothers who have had a C- section delivery.
There are various kinds of postnatal massages that a woman can choose from according to their comfort. Some of these postnatal massages are:
- Ayurvedic Postnatal massage
- Swedish Postnatal massage
- TCM Postpartum massage
- Jamu Postnatal massage
What are Pregnancy massage benefits?
A pregnancy massage is one of the best ways to get away with all the pregnancy blues such as pains and aches. Massaging at certain points can help to relive eh expecting women from various discomforts and help regain and balance. There are many benefits that these messages have on a woman who is pregnant and is expecting.
To mention, a few of the pregnancy massage benefits are:
- Reduces edema or swelling: One of the common thins that happens when a woman is expecting is their feet and leg swells up. This is because of the extra pressure in the uterus which in turn puts this pressure on the legs. Pregnancy massages can help to increase the lymph flow and blood circulation to these affected areas thereby providing relief from the pain.
- Promotes bowel movements: Regular massage in the abdomen helps to regulate and promote the bowel movements of the expecting mothers.
- Relax buttock muscle: Regular massages help to loosen the tight buttock muscles. This is important since tight buttock muscles can cause severe pain during the expected period.
- Relieves from sinus pains and headaches: Massage on the shoulders, face, and neck can help to release tension. This, in turn, helps to get rid of sinus aches and headaches caused by it.
- Help to ease muscular imbalance: Postural changes can cause a lot of muscular imbalance. Regular massages can help to regain balance in the lumbar region thus providing relief from various discomforts.
- Helps to get relief from various muscular discomforts: Women who are expecting generally face a lot of muscular discomforts. Some of these discomforts are muscle stiffness, leg cramps, and tensions amongst others. Pregnancy massages can help to increase the blood flow and circulation to these areas thereby providing some relief from these muscle discomforts.
Some other benefits of pregnancy massage are:
- Massages help to improve sleep.
- It helps to ease water retention.
- Massages help to improve skin flexibility and also hydrates the skin.
- It provides relaxation and reduces stress.
- It helps to decrease anxiety.
- Helps to ease the labor
- Regular mother helps to provide emotional and physical support to expecting mothers.
- Improves the oxygenation of soft muscles and tissues.
- It helps to release muscle tension.
- It gives a chance to the mothers to connect to their babies.
- Provides support to all the expecting mothers.
- It improves labor progression.
- Pregnancy massages can give expecting mothers relief from heartburn and nausea.
Are Pregnancy Massages Safe?
One of the common doubts that surround the minds of the expecting mothers is if pregnancy massage is safe and if they can lead to a miscarriage of the baby. Pregnancy massage is considered safe only after the first three months of pregnancy. This is because getting a massage before this period can trigger morning sickness and dizziness amongst other things.
However, there is no scientific proof that pregnancy massages are not known to cause any miscarriages. Although, the operator might want to avoid certain pressure points or areas while giving a massage since these points can trigger contractions. It also recommended to not get the belly massaged during pregnancy for the fact that it can get highly uncomfortable.
While getting a pregnancy massage a person must confirm that the operator giving them a massage is experienced and certified and knows well about these kinds of massages. Certified therapists are well trained on the way to address the needs of the expectant mothers and goes beyond the standards of massage therapists. Getting a massage from certified therapists is also important because putting pressure on the wrong points can be harmful and cause certain problems in expecting mothers.
When should a person avoid pregnancy massages?
Pregnancy massages are known to work wonders for the pains and aches that the pregnancy brings with it. However, there are certain times when the expectant mothers should proceed towards taking a massage very carefully or must avoid getting it altogether. It is advised to the expectant mothers to avoid a massage and consult the therapist first before getting a pregnancy massage if the expectant mothers are affected with any of these symptoms:
- If there is a risk of miscarriage.
- If there are chances of preterm labor or placental abruption.
- In cases where the mothers have cardiac disorders or heart diseases.
- In cases where the mother is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting.
- If the mother has Diabetes.
- If the mother has had a delivery recently.
- Unidentified or unusual pain.
- If the mother has high blood pressure.
- If the mother is facing any nausea or morning sickness.
- In cases there were previous pregnancy complications or problems.
- If the mother is asthmatic.
- In cases where the mother is addicted to drugs, smoking, or consuming
- If the expecting mother is under the age of 20 or above the age of 35.
- If the mother suffers from any genetic problems.
- Low weight gain even after pregnancy.
- If the expecting mother is suffering from anemia
- In cases the mother has cramping and abdominal pain.
- If the mother has any contagious diseases.
- Blood or water discharge from the vagina.
- Incompetent cervix.
- Poor nutrition.
- If the mother has any convulsive disorders.
What are the massage areas to avoid when Pregnant?
Pregnancy massages are one of the best ways to ensure that expecting women are made to relax and get relief from all the pain and ache that pregnancy carries along with it. However, there are certain pressure points on the body that an operator must avoid during giving a pregnancy massage to avoid premature contractions and complications in the course of the pregnancy period.
Hence, to mention a few massage areas to avoid when pregnant are:
The area of the ankle, mainly just above the left ankle is said to be extremely dangerous while getting a pregnancy massage. This is because this area is known to increase the contraction of the vagina and uterus. Along with that, this pressure point is also known to regulate the blood flow of the body. Hence, the pressure at this point can trigger premature contractions and labor or can even lead to a miscarriage or damage to the fetus. Hence, the therapists should avoid touching this area during the early stage of the pregnancy.
There are two points on the hands which must be avoided during a pregnancy massage to prevent the expecting mothers against any premature contractions. The first one is the wrist of the hands. Massaging the wrist of the hands can cause harm to the pregnant ladies since it leads to the uterus to contract. The other point that must be avoided is the area between the forefinger and the thumb. This area is known as the Hegu. Massaging in this area can cause a premature contraction in expecting mothers. It causes quick and fast labor pains and must be avoided until later pregnancy.
The area of the backbone specifically the lower back, sacrum and lower abdomen should not be massaged when the woman is pregnant. This is because any inaccurate or improper pressure in these points can cause injury to the fetus and have immediate effects on the unborn baby. Therefore, it is advised to consult the doctor for medications to get rid of any discomforts or pain and aches that are caused on the backbone as a result of pregnancy.
Although putting pressure on the shoulders is extremely soothing and can be relaxing for people, this area must strictly be avoided while giving a massage to pregnant women. This is since massaging and putting pressure on certain points can help release tensions of the body specifically the cervix. Hence, putting pressure on these points can lead to a cervix contraction in the expectant women which could be fatal for the fetus. Therefore, a massage on the shoulders must be avoided.
Although pregnancy massages can work wonders and provide various benefits to the body of the expecting mothers and make them feel relaxed, there are but many things that these pregnant women should take care of before getting themselves a massage. This is because these pregnancy massages can have adverse effects on both the mother and the baby if any of the things are done the wrong way. Putting pressure on the wrong pressure points can also lead to premature contractions which could be fatal to the expecting mothers. Therefore, pregnant women before deciding on getting a massage should clearly assess the pros and cons of pregnancy massages.