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Taking baby steps to enjoy the benefits of pregnancy massage
During pregnancy, your body will go through profound physiological, structural and even psychological changes. A new human life is growing inside you and it’s a miracle beyond compare.
Whether you’re at the very beginning or heading into the final trimester of your pregnancy, you already know the impact it’s having on your mind and body. For a lot of women, preparing for the arrival of their newborn can be both an exhilarating and challenging time.
“Everyone chooses to deal with their ‘new body’ as it expands and grows in their own personal way.”
Some mothers continue to be active and visit the gym regularly. Others go on gentle walks and sleep in – while they still can! Pregnancy massage is another way of coping with your ever-changing body – particularly if you’re experiencing the aches, pains and moods that come with carrying extra weight.
You may have heard a few old wives’ tales around how safe massaging your belly during pregnancy really is. Yes, there will be some who cannot safely enjoy a massage for various medical reasons. But generally, it’s a very good practice that can offer lasting benefits both during pregnancy and even the labour itself by helping you manage the pain better and improve your birth experience.
A soothing alternative to medical pain relief
While you’re pregnant, there’ll be certain medications and other options you won’t be able to choose for your baby’s safety. However, a regular massage can provide the feel-good results you’re looking for – with all the beautiful oils and creams you may have loved before pregnancy.
It’s very important that you see a qualified massage therapist for your sessions. They will know which areas to focus on and what to avoid.
Also known as a prenatal massage, this gentle practice can offer a wide range of benefits including:
- brighter moods
- reduced anxiety and stress
- deeper sleep
- relaxed muscles
- stronger lymphatic system
- better blood flow
- relief from muscle and joint pain.
“Pregnancy massage can also decrease the swelling in your arms and legs and even help you manage labour pains.”
When is the best time to enjoy a pregnancy massage?
You can start your massage therapy at any point during your pregnancy as long as you feel comfortable and you’ve received the ‘all-clear’ from your GP. Just bear in mind that, even though you may be happy to book in as early as your first trimester, some therapists may not be so willing.
There are practitioners who prefer not to begin massage therapy until the second and third trimesters because of the increased risk of miscarriage linked to the first 12 weeks. Once again, speak with your doctor or midwife who can help you create a safe massage plan.
To be on the safe side, prior to booking your massage, meet with your doctor particularly if:
- it’s your first trimester
- your morning sickness and nausea is severe
- you know you’re at a high risk of miscarriage
- you’re in the high-risk pregnancy category (due to preeclampsia / high blood pressure)
- you have a blood clot
- you’re bleeding or have abdominal pain
- one or both of your legs are swollen.
What happens during a session?
Firstly, your therapist will ask you a series of questions about your general health and emotional wellbeing. They may then choose an oil or cream for the massage that can last up to one hour.
The recommended massage method used by most practitioners is Swedish Massage because it addresses the discomfort most women feel as their hormones change during pregnancy.
“Your therapist may focus on your neck, shoulders, abdominal muscles and back.”
It will all depend on where you’re feeling the most tension and growing pains.
The promising benefits of pregnancy massage begin with you – and a qualified practitioner.
You are experiencing a unique and wonderful time in your life. You’re also facing many physical and emotional changes, so you can help improve the way you feel as your baby grows by choosing pregnancy massage.
Recent studies have shown that this can be a safe and gentle way to relieve your aches, pains and hormonal changes – provided it’s done in the correct manner by a trained health professional. Remember to consult your GP or obstetrician for more advice.
If you get the green light, the good news is that you claim on pregnancy massage under your CBHS Extras limits for remedial massage.
For more great information on how to support your growing bump, take a look at our pregnancy and birth guide. You’ll find articles, programs and services which can help you enjoy a safe and happy pregnancy.
All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified healthcare professional.
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