The Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
Pregnancy is a very special time for any woman – bringing joy and excitement but also additional physical and emotional pressures. Massage can help support the mum-to-be through this period and beyond.
Specially devised to meet the needs of expectant women, pregnancy massage can help alleviate the common aches and pains of pregnancy and reduce stress levels. Baby also benefits as the “feel good” endorphins released by the mother during massage are passed on to the growing child.
Specific benefits of regular pregnancy massages include:
- stimulating circulation – encouraging the distribution of essential nutrients and fluid to all the vital organs of the body, especially the placenta
- releasing muscular tension, particularly around the upper back and shoulders and the lower back which can often suffer in pregnancy
- lymphatic drainage – eliminating toxins from the cells and helping reduce oedema (swelling due to fluid retention)
- encouraging deep relaxation and peaceful sleep
- helping avoid varicose veins from developing
- reducing emotional stress and anxiety, creating a sense of positive well-being
- helping lower high blood pressure or keep blood pressure balanced
- helping the mother become more aware of and more comfortable with her own body and the natural changes it is going through.
This is also a time when a woman can feel “taken over” by the pregnancy, the focus on her bump, and any associated medical processes. Pregnancy Massage can be a great way to restore the balance by focusing on the woman herself and providing a nurturing, relaxing environment.
What to expect
As with all our massages, the treatment is tailored in line with the individual’s wants and needs.
As a guide, a normal pregnancy massage lasts for one hour and involves the mum-to-be lying comfortably on her side, well supported by pillows and covered by towels and blankets to ensure warmth and dignity. Gentle, nurturing massage is given to the back (with particular focus on shoulders and lower back area), arms and hands, legs and feet. It ends with the client sitting up (well supported) for a restoring facial and scalp massage. At the choice of the client, gentle massage of the abdomen can also be given, with the oils helping nourish the skin and reduce stretch marks.
Ensuring safety for you and your baby
Pregnancy Massage is both safe and beneficial. We follow the guidelines laid down by the Federation of Holistic Therapists for treating pregnant clients at all times. This combined with additional, specialist training ensures that focus is given to the particular needs of expectant mothers and to ensure that the massage is carried out in a way that protects your pregnancy e.g. positioning, techniques used, choice of oil.
In abiding with the FHT guidelines:
- we do not provide massage to women in the first trimester of their pregnancy. The pregnancy is naturally more at risk during these first twelve weeks and sadly this is when miscarriages can occur. This is usually due to problems with the unborn baby rather than any external factor, and it is highly unlikely that massage would be responsible for any ill effects at this stage. Many women will have received a massage in this period without knowing they were pregnant, in the same way that they may have continued drinking alcohol or smoking. However we advise women at this stage to rest and allow their bodies to get used to this new stage of life. Massage can then be carried out from 14 weeks to birth.
- you should speak to the midwife or doctor who is responsible for your overall healthcare to advise them that you would like to receive massage during pregnancy and to check that they are happy for this to go ahead. It is unlikely that they will have any concerns unless there are other complications with your pregnancy, however they are welcome to contact me to discuss this further. You will be asked if you have the permission of your midwife or doctor when booking a pregnancy massage and attending for the treatment.
After the birth
Post-natal massage offers a great way to nurture and restore the body after childbirth. Regular massages offer new mums a chance to step away from the physical and emotional demands of motherhood and invest in their own health and wellbeing.
You can also learn Baby Massage with us so that you can share the benefits of massage with your new baby.