One way to relax and be happy is massage. Massage during pregnancy can relax you much more.
What Is Pregnancy Massage?
As the name suggests, pregnancy massage is a type of massage applied during pregnancy.
Pregnancy massage takes approximately 1 hour. Duration may vary from masseur to masseur. Some masseurs perform pregnancy massage on a table designed to fit the pregnancy belly.
Towards the end of the pregnancy period, a pillow is preferred instead of a table. Generally, the expectant mothers are massaged by lying on their side.
Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
There is very little research on pregnancy massage. There is no scientific finding about the development of the child.
In a study conducted at the University of Miami School of Medicine, it has been suggested that it may benefit the following items:
Decreased back and leg pain
Decreased levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine
In another study of pregnancy massage in depressed women, researchers found:
Increased levels of the “feel-good” hormones serotonin and dopamine
Decreased levels of cortisol, an indicator of stress
An overall improvement in mood
Studies on pregnancy massage have also found findings such as relieving pain and strengthening the immune system.
Safe Techniques for Pregnancy Massage
There are nearly 1300 massage programs in the USA alone. There are more than 80 types of massage. Let’s list examples of some common types of massage.
- Deep-tissue massage, with firm strokes pressing deep into muscles
- Swedish massage, with long strokes to muscles and attention to joint mobility
- Shiatsu, with pressure and tapping acupressure on points to stimulate the body’s natural energy (called qi)
The massage is scientifically still in a closed box. Much more research is needed to understand massage.
- Relieve pain
- Stimulate the release of certain hormones like serotonin
- Improve sleep
- Promote the physiological response of relaxation
Pregnancy massage specialists apply their techniques to deal with the changes that occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy.
For example, blood volume increases sharply – (up to 50%) during pregnancy. Blood flow to the legs is generally sluggish. The level of anticoagulants in the blood – designed to prevent bleeding during labor – naturally rises.
These circulatory changes put a pregnant woman at risk of blood clots in the lower extremities, usually the calves or the inner part of the thigh. To be safe, massage professionals avoid deep massages and strong pressure on the legs during pregnancy. Using strong pressure can remove a clot. Instead, they use very light, slow kicks. Types of massage to avoid feet include deep tissue massage, deep acupressure, shiatsu, cross-fiber friction, and strokes. All massage strokes should move towards the heart.
A very light pressure is recommended in the abdominal area. Some massage therapists avoid massaging the abdominal area.
Is Pregnancy Massage Safe?
Pregnancy massage is not recommended by some doctors. The main reasons for this are as follows.
It is the differences in massage training and the lack of certification across the country. There is no legal regulation for therapist education in any state.
High-quality clinical studies on alternative medicine are few. Clinical studies on pregnancy massage therapy are rare. Massage for the first three months of pregnancy is a matter of discussion.
It is very difficult to find a therapist who gives massage in the first 3 months of pregnancy. The reason for this is the possibility of miscarriage. Some therapists have a different approach to this situation.
There is no scientific study on this subject. If you want to have a massage in the first 3 months of pregnancy, you should first consult your doctor.
- You’re experiencing nausea, vomiting, or morning sickness
- You’re at high risk of miscarriage
- You have a high-risk pregnancy such as placental abruption (where the placenta slightly detaches from the wall of the uterus) or preterm labor
When to Avoid Pregnancy Massage
There isn’t much research on pregnancy massage. That’s why doctors are cautious about this issue. Your doctor may suggest that you avoid massage. If you experience one of the situations listed below, you should definitely seek advice from your doctor.
How Are Pregnancy Massage Therapists Trained?
Most massage therapy training programs require about 500 hours of training. This training may or may not include specific training in pregnancy massage. Further training courses and workshops, which specialize in pregnancy massages, differ greatly in terms of training and practical experience.
Find a massage therapist at one of the national associations that trains and certifies massage therapists. For example, you can contact the American Massage Therapy Association.
Before your first appointment, ask about the specific training and experience of the therapist in pregnancy massage. A doctor, midwife or chiropractor may also recommend a qualified massage therapist in your area.