Pregnancy Massage Contributes to Nine Healthy Months
During pregnancy physical and emotional changes cascade throughout the body. Nausea, fatigue, swelling, heartburn, headache, and emotional turbulence are just some of the symptoms that come with the territory. Fortunately, massage can help ease these issues, so that the mom-to-be can focus on what’s most important: her baby.
The First Trimester
But is massage safe in the first trimester? According to Susanrachel Condon, founder of Niara Healing Arts Massage Therapy and Perinatal Support Systems, “It is absolutely safe and can be very beneficial for an expecting mother.”
Having said that, there are some precautions to take when considering prenatal massage. If it is a high-risk pregnancy or there’s a history of complications–diabetes, high blood pressure, miscarriages, placenta previa, preeclampsia, or any other medical condition–a midwife or doctor should be consulted before scheduling a massage. In addition, it is very important for pregnant clients to speak openly with their massage therapist about any concerns or issues.
On the other hand, bodywork techniques like shiatsu access the meridians used in acupuncture, including trigger points that can relieve nausea. According to O’Connor, a good therapist will also teach a mother-to-be how to activate the trigger points herself, as most nausea treatments are more effective when applied at least three times a day. Techniques such as this can be a great relief to a woman navigating the early days of pregnancy.
The Second Trimester
The Third Trimester
“A lot of women feel discomfort in their lower backs because the womb is moored to the sacrum, which is that triangle of area at the base of the spine,” O’Connor says. “The weight of the womb pulls on that mooring and can be very uncomfortable.”
Women may also experience discomfort in their abdomen. As the baby grows, the mother’s muscles are stretched, her organs are compacted, and her lungs are compressed. Massage can minimize or prevent abdominal muscle tear, a complication that happens with some women. A practitioner can also help reposition the baby to alleviate discomfort and ease breathing.
And when labor finally begins, massage can help facilitate the birth, perhaps especially appealing for women considering natural childbirth.
On the Table
Condon explains that prenatal massage is not simply a regular massage except in a different position. A qualified prenatal massage therapist will know the changing physiognomy of a pregnant woman and will tailor the massage to the needs of the client.
After baby arrives, bodywork can help a new mother ease back into her body again, relax sore muscles, address any abdominal muscle strains or tears that occurred during pregnancy, and cope with the life changes and lack of sleep that come with a new baby. In addition, the uterus will sometimes linger low in the abdomen instead of returning to its proper place. A Maya abdominal massage therapist can help restore the uterus to its proper position.
Nursing moms may feel reluctant to book a massage due to leaking breasts, but O’Connor says not to worry. “Women shouldn’t be concerned about massage while they’re nursing, even if they feel like an uncapped fire hydrant!” she says. Practitioners will accommodate nursing women, with proper draping and towels.
Pregnancy is an important time that needs to be honored, and prenatal massage plays an important role. As the body goes through miraculous changes, bodywork facilitates pregnancy and helps the expectant mother stay comfortable, connected, and healthy.
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