Pregnancy, despite being one of the best things that could ever happen to you, can still be a total pain. There are the mood swings that affect not only you but also the people around you, the pain, and sometimes medical complications that you have to deal with.
There may have been at least an instance where someone told you to suck it up because this is what you wanted in the first place. Yes, you wanted a baby but honestly, who asked for the back pain and muscle cramps??
Lucky for us women there’s a way to reduce these discomforts and it’s through the simplest thing: massage.
That’s right. We too have the right to treat ourselves to a massage sesh.
Now, what are the things you should know about prenatal massage? Should you go for it or not?
What is prenatal massage?
It’s just like the usual massage we get on girls’ days out only modified to address and adjust to the needs and special situation of a pregnant woman. Because the body undergoes changes during pregnancy, a prenatal massage therapist is especially trained to identify the spots that need extra attention as well as adjust certain techniques to avoid causing harm.
Why do you need it?
To adjust to the baby growing inside you, your body goes through certain physical changes and sometimes they’re not the most pleasant. For example, you’ll notice that as your tummy grows bigger, your shoulders, back, and neck hurt even more. This is because the stress is centralized in these parts. Added to that are the abdominal muscle pains you’re likely to experience. All this because of the weight you need to carry.
These are just a few of the reasons why you need to get a prenatal massage. Aside from reducing these physical pains, it will also reduce stress and anxiety, a topic we will discuss further in the next section.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
As mentioned earlier, stress and anxiety levels can be reduced if a woman receives a prenatal massage. The same goes for depression. This is because during the massage, there will be changes in the levels of hormones responsible for these conditions. Those who receive it experience a better state of mind because stress-inducing hormones are lessen and happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin are increased.
Reduce joint and back pain
Among the most common complaints during pregnancy is the joint and back pain experienced as it progresses into the later stages. There are women who had it easier but there are those cases where such pains can already interfere with daily life.
Managing joint and back pain is among the benefits you can get from a prenatal massage. Therapists know exactly which points they need to focus on to achieve desired results.
Another joint problem a lot of pregnant women encounter is edema, which is characterized by joint swelling. It happens because of the increased water retention and amount of fluids in the body. As the uterus grows bigger, it puts pressure on the mother’s veins. This results to lower blood flow and increased amount of fluids going to the feet and ankle tissues. A prenatal massage aims to reduce the tension on these tissues by improving blood circulation.
Relieve muscle tension
Muscle cramps are also common in pregnancy. You will most likely feel it on your calves, as this part usually receives most of the pressure. Cramps on the abdomen or back muscles are also possible.
You are mostly going to experience this at night, maybe just for a very short moment but there are also cases where the expecting mom can suffer from worse effects during daytime. Professionals can provide relief by focusing on the affected muscle groups.
The first and last stages of pregnancy have at least one thing in common: headaches. Although they can occur any time during pregnancy, they’re pretty common in the first and third trimester. This is because in these stages, there is an increased production of hormones. Added to that is the increased blood volume in the body, which is necessary for the child’s survival.
As a result, you frequently experience headaches. Because a lot of these are worsened by stress, one way to reduce them is through shoulder and neck massages.
What happens in a prenatal massage session?
We’ve mentioned that prenatal massage is just like the normal one we get but modified to suit our needs. For example, in a traditional session, you normally go through it face down then faceup. However, the former is not at all comfortable for the mother nor is it safe for her and the child. The latter, on the other hand, can disrupt the blood flow of a major blood vessel.
Special prenatal massage techniques involve getting on a bed especially tailored so you can lie facedown without having to deal with the discomfort. You will notice that there are cushions and holes; the overall design will perfectly work for pregnant women. Furthermore, instead of facing up, you will be asked by the therapist to lie on your side.
The main objective is to make you feel good so don’t be shy to tell your therapist to increase or decrease the pressure.
Can I try this at home?
A lot of us are unable to commit to a regular prenatal massage from a professional. This isn’t a cause of worry because you can still get its benefits from the comforts of your home. Simply ask your partner to perform basic massages. To know how to massage pregnant women, consult this guide.
When should I avoid it?
Women who are in the early stages of pregnancy should avoid getting these massages. Normally, professionals advise women to skip having them during the first trimester. Another reason for ditching it is when you have a bone fracture or a skin injury. These conditions can only be aggravated if you insist in having a prenatal massage. And if you have allergies, it’s best to consult your physician first because you might also be allergic to certain kinds of massage oils.
With what you’re going through, you deserve the pleasures and benefits of prenatal massage. So go for a massage session and be ready to unwind.