While the magic of pregnancy makes for a bundle of unparalleled joy, the road to the start of parenthood can be a trying time for women. Pregnant women endure many discomforts, from backache to heartburn—and there’s a mile-long list of supplements, foods, and pain-relieving cures that are on a pregnant woman’s “can’t touch” list.
While pregnant women can feel hindered by medicinal limitations, there’s a potent remedy for many of the aches and difficulties associated with pregnancy. Massage therapy during pregnancy is a dynamic vehicle that’ll help to ward off stress and relieve discomforts.
Are Massages During Pregnancy Safe?
As with nearly any activity during pregnancy, it’s important to get your doctor’s blessing before getting a prenatal massage. It’s equally important that your massage therapist knows you’re pregnant. And there’s one sticky area that’s debated amongst professionals—the first trimester.
The first trimester is the period where the most changes are happening—fatigue, a confluence of emotions, and strange new feelings as the body is flooded with hormones. Some professionals claim a massage can trigger nausea and suggest waiting until after the first trimester to get a maternal massage. Moreover, some suggest delaying a massage until the second trimester because the risk of miscarriage during the first trimester is higher.
Thankfully, there is no magic button that would prompt a miscarriage. Research has weighed in, and massage during the first trimester can actually work to combat nausea, relaxing the muscles, calming nerves, and dispelling metabolic waste. Massage therapy is a safe way to smooth over haywire hormones and boost moods without medication, helping to normalize pregnancy.
What’s Different About a Prenatal Massage
Prenatal massages are specially designed to adapt to the changes happening in your body. Where you’d normally lie face-down for the better part of a traditional massage, a massage therapist will organize pillows in a tetris-eque fashion according to your shape and posture so you can lie in different positions.
During a prenatal massage, it’s common to be equipped with soft, supportive cushions that alleviate stress on the back and pelvis, and your therapist may create special systems with holes that allow you to lie face down safely or on your side with the support of soft pillows and cushions.
Benefits of a Prenatal Massage
Research indicates that massage therapy during pregnancy can lift a low mood without medication, reducing stress hormones in your body. But apart from psychological benefits, prenatal massages can greatly improve the way your body feels and functions.
Prenatal massages increase circulation, keeping your lymphatic system, which is responsible for eliminating toxins and waste, in ship-shape condition. They also relax and loosen muscles, as aches and pains are a common hardship during pregnancy. Backaches, fatigue, leg cramps, and swelling can all be calmed via a massage, and the stimulation of serotonin during massage, which works as an anti-pain chemical, can help to counter other pains associated with pregnancy.
Moreover, the increase in oxygenation during and after a massage can afford more energy to make it through long days and may lead to better sleep patterns. Research shows that prenatal massage significantly increases a woman’s time spent in deep sleep.