advertisement
Health & Fitness

Benefits and risks of massage in pregnancy

pregnant
Massage induces a state of deep relaxation and enhances the mother’s sleep. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Pregnancy massage is slow, soothing and calming for the various stages of pregnancy after the first trimester. During this massage, you lie on your side, with pillows, blankets and towels to support and warm your body and bump.

Not only is it a highly relaxing treatment, but it also helps to alleviate side effects such as backaches and swelling.

Pregnancy massage can be of benefit not only to the mother but also to the unborn baby. It can emotionally and physiologically support the mother during a time of great change in the body. Pregnancy Massage can also help the mother prepare her body for birth.

Pregnancy massage is safe because it is slow and gentle, treating the client with the utmost care. However, as a complementary therapy, it is not an alternative to normal maternity care. The benefits

There are many benefits to a pregnancy massage:

advertisement

•It will stimulate the circulation, aiding distribution of essential nutrients and fluids to all the major organs of the body including the placenta.

•Pregnancy massage will release muscular tension of the upper back, shoulders, lower back and hips. It will help with varicose veins developing and with sluggish bowel movement. It encourages the release of oxytocin, this is a pain reducing hormone which provides vital pain relief during labour and birth.

•The massage will help in reducing any emotional stress and anxiety that the mother is feeling at this time of change.

•The intention of the massage is to induce a state of deep relaxation and enhance the mother’s sleep. It is reported that mothers who sleep well during the last month of their pregnancy have shorter labours.

• It can provide vital monitoring support to the client and her health care professional, such as her GP or midwife.

CONTRONTRAINDICATIONS FOR PREGNANCY MASSAGE

Any therapies used during pregnancy, including massage must be a complementary and are not an alternative to maternity care by health care professionals.

Most massage is contraindicated in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is a safety precaution as there is a greater natural risk of miscarriage during this time.

Pregnancy massage is contraindicated or not suitable for pregnant women who are experiencing cramping, bleeding or abdominal or pelvic pain.

It should be avoided if the client has been diagnosed with (or has a history of) high-risk pregnancy, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism unless massage is specified by a health care professional.

Frequently asked questions on pregnancy massage

1. IT IS SAFE TO GET A MASSAGE DURING YOUR FIRST TRIMESTER?

This is believed to be the biggest myth surrounding pregnancy massage. It is indeed perfectly safe to get a pregnancy massage even though many massage therapists do not offer these services due to the fact that miscarriage happens more often in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

2. WHEN MASSAGE DURING PREGNANCY IS NOT ADVISABLE?

In some cases, it would be inappropriate to perform massage. If the risks outweigh the benefits of pregnancy massage – It would not be advisable to get a massage.

3. WHAT IS PREGNANCY MASSAGE?

This is the use of therapeutic massage techniques designed to maintain the wellbeing of mother and child. Although it is almost similar to traditional massage, the techniques adapted in pregnancy massage are softer and more focused on relaxing the expectant mother and relieving discomfort.

4. WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A PREGNANCY MASSAGE?

Safety and comfort are crucial in a pregnancy massage treatment. Therefore, you may be asked a few questions about the type of massage you’d prefer. Usually, the most comfortable position for an expectant mother during a pregnancy massage is lying on one side.

You also have a choice when it comes to how much clothing you’d like during the massage session. A typical pregnancy massage treatment should last around one hour.

5. IS IT SAFE TO HAVE A PREGNANCY MASSAGE?

While pregnancy massage is good for expectant mothers, it is not suitable for everyone. Therefore, you need to consult with your obstetrician and physical therapist before considering this treatment.

6. CAN I GET MASSAGES THROUGHOUT MY WHOLE PREGNANCY?

A skilled massage therapist with years of experience knows the right types of techniques to adopt for expectant mothers at different stages. In other words, the massage technique to be employed largely depends on the stage of pregnancy you are at.

However, due to the increased risk of experiencing a miscarriage during the first few weeks of pregnancy, undergoing a pregnancy massage in the first trimester is discouraged in some facilities. Pregnancy massages on the abdomen are also discouraged during this period.

Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre.

advertisement