Pregnancy creates a great deal of change in a woman’s body. In addition to the mental and emotional strain that can come from the experience, there can be significant physical strain, as well. From swollen ankles to sciatica to overall fatigue, pregnancy can take its toll, even from the earliest days. Fortunately, one great way to help ease the mental and physical symptoms of pregnancy is through pregnancy massage.

How is pregnancy massage different from other forms of massage?

Overall, pregnancy massage is very similar to other forms of massage, and the overall goals are usually the same. However, there are some key differences between pregnancy massage and other forms of massage that are important to note.

The first difference in pregnancy massage comes in the second and third trimesters. In order to avoid putting too much pressure on the womb, women in their second and third trimesters do not lay face down during massages, and are kept only briefly on their backs. Instead, they are kept in a semi-reclined position, which prevents compression on the vena cava. A good massage therapist will do your massage in a position that is comfortable for you, propped up with as many pillows as are needed for support.

Another difference in pregnancy massage is in the pressure applied in certain areas of the body. For example, less pressure will be used on the abdomen and legs so as not to accidentally induce contractions. Because a woman’s body is different during pregnancy, the massage must be different, as well.

What are the benefits of pregnancy massage?

There are numerous benefits to massage to anyone, but the benefits are even more evident for women who are pregnant because of the added stress to the mind and body.

While many people get massages largely to relieve stress and relax the mind (and body), the major benefit of pregnancy massage is the physical benefit. Carrying a growing child is physically taxing, and many women experience aches and pains in their necks, backs, hips, legs, and feet. Pregnancy massage can help relax the muscles and ease the tension caused by pregnancy.

Another significant benefit of pregnancy massage is mental and emotional relaxation. When the body begins to feel better, so does the mind. This eases stress related to pregnancy, can help you feel better, and even help you sleep better. Fatigue is a common effect of pregnancy, so pregnancy massage can help re-energize you to get through your days and get ready to add to your family.

What should people consider before getting a pregnancy massage?

Because extra care must be taken during pregnancy massage, it is important to find a massage therapist certified in pregnancy massage. Many massage therapists learn to do pregnancy massage when getting certified, but they do not practice it regularly. To ensure that you and your baby are safe and protected during your massage, take the time to find a massage therapist who has the education and experience in pregnancy massage needed. This way, your pregnancy massage will be safe and relaxing.

It is also important to remember that each pregnancy is different. Some women may have conditions brought on by pregnancy that may make pregnancy massage an unsafe idea. Be sure to check with your obstetrician before making the decision to get a pregnancy massage. Your doctor can also let you know if there are any other alterations or considerations you should keep in mind when getting the massage.

Finally, make sure your massage therapist knows how far you are into your pregnancy, any complications you may be having related to your pregnancy, and any other health and medical history information relevant to your massage. This will ensure that your massage therapist has all the knowledge needed so your pregnancy massage is both relaxing and safe for you and baby.

Pregnancy massage is a good way to relax your mind and body during a challenging time in your life. The benefits are many, but it is important to remember that extra care must be taken during pregnancy massage to protect both your health and your baby’s health. Taking the time to find the right massage therapist and consult your obstetrician will ensure you get everything you need from your pregnancy massage experience.