You wake up in the middle of the night and you catch yourself walking like a duck. You never thought you'd waddle, but here you are cradling a sore back. Aches and pains are just some of the challenges you face while pregnant that a good massage can help relieve. Even if you're not a big fan of massages, you can turn into a spaddict with all the symptoms your pregnant body can go through, especially in the late second to third trimesters. Just like many other expecting moms, you'll be tempted to run to any therapist and beg for some kind of massage comfort. But stop in your tracks before you do so. Make sure you visit a certified pregnancy massage specialist and are informed of what this kind of massage can really do for you.
What Your Body Is Going Through
There are plenty of reasons why you need to go to a certified pregnancy specialist rather than your trusty neighborhood spa or therapist. For one, you tend to supply more blood to feed your baby and sustain your enlarging organs. The changes in blood circulation puts pregnant women at risk of blood clots. Your body is hard at work to keep your baby healthy, so anything that may hamper your system's ability to do so will obviously pose a problem.
The Difference of Pregnancy Massages
Certified pregnancy massage experts adjust their techniques to accommodate the changes in your body. They know how to keep you comfortable throughout your massage. The therapist will either use a specially designed bed or pillows that support your back, belly, and breasts. She understands how your back, neck, and head need a good massage while going easy on your legs, where blood clots are likely to form. She should prevent deep and strong pressure massages on your legs, directing massage strokes toward the heart. The abdomen is typically avoided, or very light pressure is used if the belly is massaged. A good therapist also recognizes the emotional changes you're going through, so she should be able to help you enter a completely relaxed state during the entire massage.
Benefits of Pregnancy Massages
- Relieves aches and pains
- Increases oxygen in the blood that supports nutrient delivery to the baby and mother
- Releases tension and tightening in the body
- Helps eliminate toxins that contribute to fatigue
- Improves sleep
- Helps increase flexibility
- Promotes relaxation and reduces stress
- Helps release hormones like serotonin and endorphin
- Reduces swelling in hands, legs, and feet
- Helps reduce anxiety and depression
When To Avoid Pregnancy Massages
Before trying out a pregnancy massage, make sure you have consent from your OB. Some therapists welcome women in their first trimester, but they often accommodate those in their second trimester just to be safe (since miscarriages are associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy). Avoid this type of massage if you'd had pre-term labor in the past, are prone to clotting, are feeling nauseous, and your pregnancy is considered high risk.