Prenatal massage shares many of the goals of regular massage — to relax tense muscles, ease sore spots, improve circulation and mobility, and just make you feel good. But it’s also tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies, and therapists who are trained in prenatal massage adjust their techniques accordingly.
Most women find it uncomfortable to lie face down right from the start of pregnancy because of their tender, swollen breasts. And you can’t lie face down once your belly is starting to grow. On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to lie flat on your back either, particularly once you’re past mid-pregnancy, because the weight of your uterus puts too much pressure on the vein that returns blood from your legs to your heart.For this reason, we request that lie on your side and hug a full-length body pillow for support.How can prenatal massage help me?
The therapeutic benefits of massage for pregnant women haven’t been studied very much. There’s some evidence that massage may help people who suffer from low back pain and possibly those with chronic headaches, but the studies weren’t done with pregnant women. In any case, massage may decrease stress and promote relaxation, helping you cope with discomfort even if it doesn’t prevent it.
Carrying a baby inside you changes your center of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, 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. Add to that the extra weight you’re carrying and you’ve got yourself an aching lower back.
A trained prenatal massage therapist knows where a pregnant woman’s sore spots are likely to be and may be able to provide some relief. But don’t forget to communicate with them and tell them where you need attention.
How much does a prenatal massage cost?
An hour-long session costs only $50. If you can’t afford this kind of expense on a regular basis, look into your health insurance benefits. Some plans cover part of the cost of massage if you have a medical reason, such as back pain, and can get a prescription from your midwife or doctor.
What kind of techniques can I try at home?
If a professional massage is too dear for your budget, consider asking your partner to give you a hand. Your mate may not be professionally trained, but a loving touch may offer the comfort you need.
Consider investing in an instructional book or video on prenatal massage. You might even try different massage oils.
Are there any situations in which I shouldn’t get a prenatal massage?
There are a few situations in which massage may be risky. For example, you’ll need to avoid massage in an area where you have a blood clot or a bone fracture.
You’d also want to avoid massage on any area where you have a skin injury or condition that could be aggravated by rubbing, including burns, open wounds, skin infections, or eczema. Some people may have allergic reactions to oils used by massage therapists.
Tony Ruggiero, NCTMB, LMT