There are lots of benefits of massage therapy, including benefits of prenatal massage. Massage is a form of therapy that has been relied upon for centuries for healing pain, reducing stress levels, and improving our overall health. Many mothers-to-be go through very difficult periods of pain and stress, all while having to avoid most medications. Prenatal massage, therefore, is a vital part of pregnancy, and it is all-natural.

There are many questions about the art of massage, especially with regard to the benefits of prenatal massage. Massage Lee’s Summit hopes to answer the common questions and outline the benefits that can come from the art of touch as it pertains to expectant mothers. There are a great many benefits of prenatal massage, and so we offer the following advice.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Research studies show that massage performed during a woman’s pregnancy can generally decrease symptoms of depression, reduce anxiety, relieve

Prenatal Massage Benefits by Massage Lee's Summit

massage for pregnancy

aches in muscles and joints, and improve the labor experience and the new child’s overall health. Massage can treat a variety of issues by using multiple techniques. 

The benefits of prenatal massage also include muscle relaxation, tension headaches, migraines, fatigue, backaches, leg cramps and so much more.  Your massage therapist will be sure to address the common pains and discomforts linked to the circulatory and skeletal changes resulting from the hormone changes during pregnancy.

Hormone Alterations

Recent studies (the past ten years) have shown that hormone level shifts, from stress during pregnancy, are altered greatly after receiving a prenatal massage as part of a routine health regimen. Further, relaxed muscles can lead to improved cardiovascular health and the regulation of mood.

Women who receive a weekly massage will see great benefits of prenatal massage. For just five weeks, hormones like norepinephrine and cortisol (stress hormones) have been documented to be greatly reduced, and the hormones known as dopamine and serotonin (for the control of depression) were greatly increased.

Hormone level changes also contributed to fewer negative issues during delivery and fewer consequences for newborn babies, such as below-average birth weight. Evidence suggests that regular prenatal massage provides strong mother and child health benefits.

Swelling Reduction

Swelling of the joints (known as edema) during pregnancy, is generally caused by poor circulation and pressure on blood vessels due to a heavy uterus. Massage can help stimulate the soft tissues and reduce the amount of fluid in the joints.

Nerve Pain Reduction

Pain from the sciatic nerve can occur in women late in their pregnancy due to the resting of the uterus on the pelvic muscles and low back. Uterus pressure can spread unwanted tension to the muscles of an expectant mother, especially to her upper and lower legs, which in turn, causes inflammation and other nearby nerve pain.

Massage treats the nerves that become inflamed by releasing the stress and tension on other nearby muscles. Some women report a dramatic reduction in nerve pain throughout their pregnancy due to the benefits of prenatal massage therapy.

Other benefits of prenatal massage therapy:

  • Reduced back pain
  • Less chance for joint pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Less edema
  • Fewer headaches and less muscle tension due to anxiety and stress
  • Improved oxygen for the muscles and soft tissues 
  • Improved sleep

Prenatal Massage Precautions

As is true for any therapy addressing pregnancy wellness, expectant women should inform their care provider and discuss the options and benefits of prenatal massage. The doctor will also be prepared to discuss any risks involved with prenatal massage and can work with the patient and keep her well informed.

Aromatherapy oils should be avoided

It’s best to avoid some aromatherapy oils during pregnancy to be safe as some oils can cause contractions.  Oils like cinnamon, clove, peppermint, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and clary sage should be avoided.  

Pressure points can cause contractions

There are pressure points in the wrists and ankles that can be activated during some massage techniques that can bring on contractions. These pressure points must also be avoided to really see the full benefits of prenatal massage. Your prenatal massage therapist will know exactly what to avoid.

Laying on your side is the position to gain the benefits of prenatal massage

Prenatal Massage – Pregnancy Massage

Positioning

Massage therapy professionals regard the side-lying position as the best for a pregnant woman.  Therapy tables provide a hole that the uterus can safely stay during the massage and not allow pressure to be placed on her abdomen, or allow for the uterus to freely dangle and cause unwanted stretching to her ligaments. Ask your massage therapist when making an appointment to discuss and verify which position will be used during your therapy.

Choose the right massage therapist

It is crucial to get professional care from a certified massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage therapy. Certified massage therapists (trained in prenatal massage) receive advanced training beyond the standard national programs in massage so that they can treat pregnant women and their specific needs. These professional providers are trained to position women carefully and not strain their muscles or ligaments. 

Patients who experience bleeding or early contractions should speak with their health provider immediately. Your massage therapist should also be made aware of any of the following conditions.

  • A pregnancy that is high-risk 
  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia
  • Any pre-term labor in the past
  • Swelling, headaches or high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
  • Recent childbirth

When to Begin the Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Women can start prenatal massage therapy at any stage or trimester in their pregnancy. When scheduling treatment, inform your therapist how far along in the pregnancy you are, and discuss the concerns that you may have. Most women can tolerate massage therapy up to the point of delivery, however, there are clinics and spas that will not offer it until the second trimester due to the risks associated with the first trimester of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Massage Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often is it recommended to get a massage while I’m pregnant?

    Benefits of Prenatal Massage by Massage Lee's Summit

    self care during pregnancy prenatal care

To get the greatest benefits of prenatal massage therapy, we recommend getting massages consistently during your pregnancy. Schedule it every it for every couple of weeks until the third trimester. Then feel free to get a massage each week thereafter until delivery. 

  • Which body position should I use for getting a massage? 

It is your decision and depends on which position makes you the most comfortable. Your therapist will have a specialized table and cushions to put you at the greatest ease. The therapist is trained to give you the most relaxing experience possible, so you should be nice and cozy.

  • How will I know if I have the right massage therapist for me?

Ask your therapist questions that will make you feel the most comfortable and completely confident. Your therapist should be trained in prenatal pregnancy massage for your safety, and he or she will keep you apprised of everything having to do with your treatment. 

  • Can a massage induce me into early labor? 

Remember, there are some pressure points that are closely linked to your pending childbirth. Massage techniques like Shiatzu and others are to be avoided during pregnancy unless you have reached full-term and are wanting labor to begin.

  • Conditions that are preexisting

Before scheduling an appointment, discuss all the massage issues with your doctor, midwife, and even with the massage therapist. The following issues should be discussed:

  • A pregnancy that is high-risk
  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia
  • Any pre-term labor in the past
  • Swelling, headaches or high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches

Massage Lee’s Summit is happy to answer any questions regarding prenatal massage. We hope you see all the benefits of prenatal massage! From nerve pain reduction to swelling reduction, there are many benefits to massage therapy, and Massage Lee’s Summit is here to help during the pregnancy and after! Call us today to book an appointment!!