A pregnancy massage is a massage which is designed specifically for the needs of a pregnant woman. This school of massage therapy makes physical accommodations for pregnancy so that expecting mothers can enjoy relaxing massages as part of their pre-natal care regimen. Generally, most massage therapists recommend that women wait until their second trimester for any type of massage, and pregnancy massages can continue until the day a woman gives birth. Additionally, in the weeks and months following the birth, post-natal massage can be used to help the body recover from the stress of pregnancy and delivery.
Massage therapists have several concerns when working with pregnant women, and a therapist who offers pregnancy massage usually takes a specialized course to ensure that he or she can safely offer this service. A well qualified massage therapist is usually happy to provide the details of his or her courses and certifications to clients, so always be sure to ask when you are booking an appointment for a pregnancy massage.
During the massage, special accommodations are made for the changing body of a pregnant client. Pregnancy massage is usually carried out with the client on her side, and with the use of special pillows to position her body so that she is comfortable. Some massage techniques could also be dangerous during pregnancy, especially certain acupressure and reflexology techniques which could trigger contractions.
Pregnant women are often very sensitive to sound, touch, temperature, and odor. A massage therapist who specializes in pregnancy massage uses special massage techniques and works lightly on his or her client for maximum comfort. Heated table warmers and oils are not used, due to studies which have linked elevated temperature with premature labor and complications. Certain essential oils are also avoided during pregnancy, and the massage therapist works with his or her client to find comfortable music and odors which the client enjoys so that the experience is pleasant.
During pregnancy, women experience a lot of physical changes. Many women experience pain and soreness because they carry their bodies differently to accommodate the pregnancy. Pregnancy massage can help relieve tension and soreness, and the massage therapist may also make recommendations for sleeping and walking positions to make heavily pregnant woman more comfortable. Massage can also help with the swollen feet and ankles which torment some pregnant women.
In addition to benefiting a pregnant woman physically, pre-natal massage is also emotionally beneficial. A friendly touch can be a very useful healing tool, as can the calm space of a spa or massage studio. Some expecting mothers also enjoy the feeling of being pampered. Pregnancy massage is a great gift to give to pregnant friends; many spas offer gift certificates which may include other pregnancy-safe spa treatments as well.
Before booking an appointment for pregnancy massage, you should talk to your doctor. While massage can be very beneficial, it can also be contraindicated in some cases, and the health of your baby is of paramount importance. When you get the OK from your doctor, midwife, or doula, your massage therapist will also be more comfortable working with you.