The lowdown on pregnancy massage
Find out how massage could benefit you in pregnancy
What is pregnancy massage?
Pregnancy massage is similar in many ways to a normal massage, the main difference being that massage techniques used in pregnancy are adapted to maintain the wellbeing of mother and child. Techniques vary from firmer massages to relieve discomfort, or softer massages to help relax the expectant mother.
What to expect during a pregnancy massage
Before your massage you’ll be asked questions on your pregnancy and the type of massage you’d like. The treatment will usually last around one hour and the typical, most comfortable position for expectant mums is to be lying on one side. You’ll also be given the choice of how much clothing you’d like to wear during your massage.
Common types of pregnancy message that are offered are:
Swedish massage - one of the most popular techniques in pregnancy that uses long strokes over tight muscles
Deep-tissue massage - a firm massage pressing deep into muscles
Shiatsu - a Japanese technique using comfortable pressure to relax the body and reduce stress
Is it safe to have a pregnancy massage?
If you’re considering a massage, you should consult your midwife or GP before having the treatment and check that they are happy for you to go ahead. They may also be able to recommend a therapist who specialises in antenatal massage.
Before having your massage it’s important to check your therapist is certified and has undergone prenatal training to be sure you’re in safe hands. Don’t be shy to ask if you’re unsure and find out more about their previous experience.
You should avoid having a pregnancy massage if:
Your midwife or doctor has advised against it
You’re experiencing nausea or headaches
You have a high risk of premature labour
Can I get massages throughout my whole pregnancy?
It’s possible for women to receive massages throughout the duration of their pregnancy, with techniques adapted to the stage of pregnancy they’re at.
However, some places may not offer massages to a women in their first trimester because of the increased risk of miscarriage associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
You should also avoid massages on your abdomen during the first trimester.
What are the benefits of pregnancy massage?
There’s been little research done to confirm the benefits of pregnancy massage but it has been growing in popularity over recent years, with women claiming an improvement in their prenatal health.
- These improvements include:
- Relief from aching muscles and joint pain
- Reduction in anxiety and stress by increasing “feel-good” hormones
- Rejuvenating energy
- Improved sleep