What is Pregnancy Massage?

Woman

Take time out during your pregnancy to really connect with the experience that is the carrying of your unborn child. A massage is a fabulous way for you both to relax and let the world just drift away.

Pregnancy massage is a treatment carried out by a specially trained therapist (which I am!) and is specifically tailored to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies. It involves soft-tissue massage with long strokes to muscles and attention to joint mobility.

Scans of studies show that massage can reduce stress hormones in your body and relax and loosen your muscles. It can also increase blood flow, which is so important when you’re pregnant, and keep your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency, flushing out toxins from your body. And it reconnects your mind with your body, a connection that’s comforting for those of you who suspect an alien has taken up residence inside of you. (I did and he is 13 now and still an alien!)

During pregnancy, regular prenatal massages may not only help you relax, but may also relieve insomnia, joint pain, neck and back pain, leg cramping, and sciatica. Additionally, it can reduce swelling in your hands and feet (as long as that swelling isn’t a result of pre-eclampsia), relieve carpal tunnel pain, and alleviate headaches and sinus congestion — all common pregnancy problems. Massage may also lift depression without the use of medication, according to some scientific studies. Certainly, it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone – essential to you and baby.

How do you lie on the couch?
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 facedown on a traditional massage table once your belly has started 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. I find a pregnant woman knows where to position herself and I work to take the pressure and discomfort away with as many soft supports as required.

The position I recommend for pregnancy massage is side-lying on the couch with pillows for support. This avoids putting pressure on the uterine ligaments that attach to the pelvis and sacrum. It is also the safest position as it avoids the weight of the uterus putting too much pressure on the blood flow to the heart.

I will make sure that you feel fully supported in a nest like support by providing pillow support under your head, legs and tummy, in a side-lying position. Massage is provided to the whole body, one side at a time, from this position.

How can Pregnancy Massage help?
Carrying a baby inside you whilst being the most amazing experience brings changes that you cannot begin to imagine before you get pregnant. It changes your centre of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes ligaments so that the pelvic joints are less stable which changes your posture, pulling your pelvis forward. Combine this with the extra weight you’re carrying and you may find you have an aching lower back.

While massage relieves many of the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy; it also reduces stress on weight-bearing joints, encourages blood and lymph circulation and can help relieve anxiety caused by hormonal changes.

As your therapist (and also having carried my baby!) I know where a pregnant woman’s sore spots are likely to be and may be able to provide some relief. (I also know which areas and techniques to avoid.) Still, it’s important to communicate with me and tell me where you need attention. Let me know right away if anything during the massage – including your positioning – is causing you any discomfort.

Why you need Pregnancy Massage
• Releases muscular tension
• Can eases the discomfort of sciatica and SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction)
• Releases compression on the nerves
• Improves respiration, aids breathing during pregnancy and birth
• Stimulates circulation to distribute essential nutrients to baby
• Helps eliminate toxins and reduce swelling
• Helps to reduce emotional stress and anxiety
• Helps to keep blood pressure balanced
• Induces deep relaxation and a peaceful sleep

Please remember, if you need any further advice then you can email me at heather@livewellmassage.co.uk.

Are there any situations in which I shouldn’t get a Pregnancy Massage?
Pregnancy Massage can begin from 13 weeks right up until the due date, (provided you do not have any major complications.) 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. Finally, some people may have allergic reactions to oils used by massage therapists.

If you have any questions about whether a massage would be appropriate, please feel free to email me and ask: heather@livewellmassage.co.uk.

PS: steer clear of hot tubs, saunas, and treatments such as hot wraps. These can make you overheat, which can cause problems for you and your baby.

This treatment is available at my Deddington clinic or as a mobile treatment within a 15 mile radius of Deddington*. Appointments are available between 09.00 and 21.00, Monday to Saturday.

** Gift vouchers available upon request **

*A £10 charge will be added for mobile treatments

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