Massage Therapy for Pregnancy
Updated: Jul 1
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Whether in your first, second or third trimester, you could probably benefit from a prenatal massage. There are so many dramatic changes that a woman's body goes through during pregnancy, and every pregnancy is so different, it is recommended to clear with your doctor or midwife, and always use a Registered Massage Therapist. Massage Therapists are specially trained in prenatal massage therapy, including keeping patient and baby safe at all times. Many professionals consider the best position for a pregnant woman during massage is side-lying. Tables that provide a hole in which the uterus can fit may not be reliable and can still apply pressure to the abdomen, or allow the abdomen to dangle, causing uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments.1 During second and third trimester, and using extra pillows and bolsters to help keep mothers-to-be comfortable. Many of my patients find the massage position so comfortable, they take it home with them to help them sleep more comfortably during the night.
There are so many benefits for moms-to-be when adding massage therapy to their prenatal care. For example, hormone regulation, according to an American study moms who receive bi-weekly massage for only 3 treatments had a reduction in stress hormones which over the course of their pregnancy increased cardiovascular health, improved mood regulation and decreased complications during birth, according to several studies performed through the American Pregnancy Association.
Many moms experience reduction in swelling, pain exacerbated by their growing belly, muscle tension and headaches.
Helping lower stress levels by increasing endorphins, and calming nervous system, can help mom sleep better.
Exercises provided by your massage therapist can help with posture, pelvic tilt and flexibility needed while mom adjusts to baby's increasing size. Any exercises you're doing can cause a mild burn in the muscle being worked, but should never cause pain. Your massage therapist can recommend an alternative if you're feeling pain while performing.
How has massage therapy helped you during your pregnancy?
Besides massage therapy, there are a number of things you can do to help alleviate your pain and increase strength during pregnancy that can lower your pain during pregnancy, help with labour and post-natal recovery. It is always recommended to have an evaluation with a physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic floor(PF). This physiotherapy specialty is very helpful to many women, especially during and after pregnancy, but can still help even years later. They can help diagnose PF disfunction, because, at times, Kegels are not enough and often performed incorrectly. Please contact us if you'd like a recommendation in your area.
To increase strength during pregnancy, Yoga is a good options and there are many great pre-natal options, like Yoga Mama, Just remember to go slow, and don't continue any pose if you have pain. You could also try some of these poses.