Prenatal Massage: Benefits & What to Expect
If you came to this post you’re probably pregnant and thinking about getting a prenatal massage! I’m sure you’re curious about the benefits and probably wondering what to even expect from a prenatal massage if you’ve never had one. So hopefully this article will help ease your minds and answer all those questions you have running through your mind about prenatal massage!
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The Benefits of Prenatal Massage
What’s one of thing best things that can help with stress? Relaxing! And getting a prenatal massage can help do just that. Studies have even shown that pregnant women who received prenatal massages had lower levels of cortisol and norepinephrine (hormones that are associated with stress).
Relieves Pain and Discomfort
Pregnancy can be hard on our bodies. All the changes that our bodies go through during pregnancy can cause back pain, leg pain, headaches, sciatica pain, and just general discomfort. Getting a prenatal massage though can help relieve those areas.
Getting regular prenatal massages can help stabilize hormonal levels which can help with anxiety.
Prenatal massages don’t only help you physically but they can help you emotionally too! When you have low levels of serotonin and dopamine, it can be associated with depression. But during a prenatal massage, these “feel good” hormones (serotonin and dopamine) are increased!
Better Labor Outcome
Getting regular prenatal massages can change your hormone levels and may lead to an easier labor and with fewer complications. In this study on labor pain, women who received prenatal massage experienced less pain, shorter labor, and had a less need for medication.
Improves Newborn Health
Prenatal massages may actually benefit your unborn baby! Women who receive regular prenatal massages during pregnancy may have fewer newborn complications.
I remember when my feet would get swollen when I was pregnant… and I’m sure a lot of you ladies have experienced it as well. But getting prenatal massages may actually help reduce regular swelling and edema.
Prenatal massages can help you feel more relaxed and have a general sense of peacefulness. Along with the hormones that the body produces when receiving a prenatal massage, it may help you to sleep more deeply and easily.
Increases Blood Circulation
Massage therapy can increase blood circulation which can help bring more oxygen and nutrients to Mom and Baby. The increase in blood circulation can also help support blood flow to the uterus, placenta, and your heart.
Stimulates Lymph Flow
Stimulating the lymph system can help improve immunity and help with the removal of toxins.
Before Getting a Prenatal Massage
Get the OK From Your Doctor First
Before receiving any prenatal massage and adding it to your prenatal care, discuss it with your doctor first. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, pre-term labor, or vomiting your doctor may advise you to not get any prenatal massages.
Find the Right Massage Therapist
Don’t get a prenatal massage from just anyone. Get it from a certified licensed massage therapist! You also want to make sure that they have experience with pregnant women.
Note: Once you get the okay from your doctor and find the right massage therapist, be sure that when you’re scheduling (whether it be over the phone or online) that you state that you ARE pregnant! And also let them know how far along you are (some massage therapists won’t accept women who are still in their 1st trimester). This will help them to be prepared and set up accordingly for your appointment.
At Your Prenatal Massage
It can be kind of nerve-racking if you don’t know what to expect at your appointment. So here’s a little break down on some things you can expect at your prenatal massage!
What to Expect
- When you arrive at your appointment before you even start the massage, your massage therapist will ask you some questions like; what are your discomfort areas, what do you want to work on during this massage, if there are certain areas you want to be avoided (like if you don’t like people touching your feet), how far along you are, how the pregnancy is going, and if there have been any complications.
- Once the conversation is done they’ll leave the room and you’ll dress down and get on the table (I know it can be a little uncomfortable to get nude and lay on a table, but you’ll be covered the whole time! And if you want, you can leave your underwear on if that’s more comfortable for you).
- Now for positioning, there are a couple of different ways you can be positioned for a prenatal massage:
- Side-Lying- Which is exactly how it sounds. You’ll be lying on your side on the table with pillows to help support your head and leg.
- A Maternity Cushion- The maternity cushion has a dip/opening where your belly will go so you’ll be able to lay face down.
- And Semi-Reclined- When you’re semi-reclined you’ll be slightly sitting up (since you shouldn’t lay flat on your back when you’re pregnant) with pillows to help support you.
- Then the massage therapist will come back and perform the massage as discussed earlier.
If at any time you have questions, concerns, or need something adjusted, feel free to let your massage therapist know! They’ll be more than happy to answer.
Related Posts: Infant Massage Benefits & Techniques
Related Posts: Surprising Things You Can Do While Pregnant
(Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or a licensed massage therapist. I’m only a Mom who is going off her own experiences and research. If you’d like to know more you can read my full disclaimer policy here.)
Have you ever gotten a prenatal massage before? Was it different than what you expected? Did you like to dislike it? Tell us about it below in the comments! And if you liked this post, give it a share! Thanks!