The Benefits and Risks of Massage During Pregnancy
Throughout pregnancy, both the baby and mother go through many changes together. Having this in mind, we can start to build on our understanding of how the stages of pregnancy affect mothers. The stress that builds up over time due to the mother making her womb suitable for the baby has an impact on her body that can cause a lot of discomfort and even pain in certain situations. Fortunately, mothers have options, and the benefits and risks of massage during pregnancy might be something worth considering.
Guidelines for Pregnant Moms
Mothers, and new mothers especially, should educate themselves on all things regarding pregnancy whenever they can. The sooner they do, the healthier they and their babies will be, both physically and mentally. There are specific ways that women can seek relief from the stress and tension of pregnancy, and one of these is a pregnancy massage.
The first thing to remember about this is that all mothers should seek approval and recommendation from their primary care physician before ever going out on their own to get a massage. There are licensed professionals within the medical field who know exactly how to treat pregnant women by performing multiple styles of massage to accommodate the woman during her visit and based on her ailments.
When looking for a massage office, there are certain things to look out for. First and most importantly, it should be hygienic. This is a doctor’s office, after all, and pregnant women will want to feel comfortable here as they are coming for their pregnancy massages. So, if it does not seem up to code, call your primary care physician to let them know so they can schedule you for another appointment elsewhere.
The second thing you should be aware of is whether the massage office has their prenatal certification. Without this certification, the practitioner cannot legally work giving pregnancy massages of any kind to pregnant women. The certification should be somewhere visible, either during check-in or in their office, where you can easily see it.
The final thing to look out for is that the office uses proper technique and equipment. Most of you may not know what this means, and that is perfectly alright. It is up to the physician or practitioner to explain these things to you before the procedure. Most of the massage will take place in a specialized pregnancy massage chair, like the truMedic massage chair, with extra pillows for optimal positioning.
There are many benefits of having a massage while you are pregnant. While you should not have them too frequently, they could greatly improve your quality of life. Pain relief is the most common thing to be seen for, as your joints and ligaments swell and cause you pain constantly while you’re carrying a baby day and night. You may also experience pain in your pelvis, shoulders, and even legs. Sciatica nerve pain is common in pregnant women.
Swelling is another common side effect of pregnancy that can cause a lot of discomfort and pain. Edema is a medical condition that can occur in the legs, ankles, and feet. Feet often swell, as they are an extremity. Consult with your doctor before having any kind of massage.
Sleep is something that we all need no matter our condition, but pregnant mothers need it most. Not only will it improve your quality of life, but you will be healthier and happier for it, as will your baby. Conditions like insomnia and anxiety, which might have related themselves to the condition you are in, can now take a break and give you some real, deserved relief.
In general, women who are still in their first trimester of pregnancy should wait until their second trimester before having a massage of any kind. There is a higher risk of miscarriage in the first trimester, and it is for this reason that it is advised not to do it then. Also, the increased blood flow attributed to massage could be harmful not only to the baby but also to the mother.
Women who have certain underlying conditions should avoid pregnancy massages or at least get approval from their physician before even considering having it done. If the woman has a history of high blood pressure, is a high-risk patient, such as one with heart disease or pre-eclampsia, or has any kind of recent physical injury or surgery, these will disqualify her.
There is also an increased risk for all pregnant women to develop blot clots during pregnancy, and for this reason, it is a good idea not to massage the legs. If not treated, this condition could be fatal to both mother and baby. Another term associated with blood clots is deep vein thrombosis. If you’re pregnant, avoid having your leg and groin deep tissue massaged at all costs.
There are several techniques that you can use at home to help alleviate your symptoms during pregnancy. The first technique involves using a rubber tennis ball. If you position the ball underneath the aching part of the body and then lay on top of it, then you will be able to move over that area back and forth until you work it out.
The second is a home belly massage. With light oil and gentle rubbing, you can very easily give yourself a nice and comforting massage. You may also want to prop yourself up with pillows to get into the correct position, depending on what feels best to you.
Then there is also the foot massage. If you mix coconut and peppermint oils, you will soothe your skin and tissue while you rub upward and outward in a linear fashion to alleviate the pressure behind your feet.
So, if you feel like you need a release, consult your doctor and get a referral. If the tension and pain become bad enough, you can even give yourself a little relief at home. But before all else, make sure you know the benefits and risks of massage during pregnancy before making any decisions.