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Prenatal Massage: What It Is, Benefits, And What To Expect

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Pregnancy is one of the greatest experiences a woman can have, but it’s not without challenges. Your body goes through a number of different changes, physically, mentally, and emotionally. During your pregnancy, you’re going to experience a lot of different things – some will be AMAZING! However, for your body, some will be difficult. Pregnancy can leave you feeling exhausted and defeated at times. If a prenatal massage can help relieve some of the things you’re going to feel, or are experiencing now, It may be well worth it to give it a try.

To help you better understand this massage, let’s start with the basics.

What is Prenatal Massage?

A prenatal massage is a thorough body massage given by a professional massage therapist, similar to a Swedish massage (like what you’d expect at a spa), with the exception of a couple of body placement changes that can guarantee the safety and convenience of both mother and the baby. In short, it focuses on helping you relax tense muscles, ease sore spots, improve circulation, improves mobility, and make you feel better overall.

A pregnant mother’s center of gravity is altered, this puts a lot of strain on her back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Ligaments are also softened during pregnancy, which makes your pelvic joints less stable. It also pulls your pelvis forward because of all the extra weight you’re carrying.

Prenatal Massage Techniques

There’s a few different massage techniques used during prenatal massage therapy. There are more than 80 types of massage taught in roughly 1,300 massage therapy programs in the United States. The 3 most common prenatal massage therapy techniques would include;

  • Deep-tissue massage, this uses firm strokes pressing deep into muscles
  • Swedish massage, this uses soft long strokes to muscles and attention to joint mobility
  • Shiatsu, this uses pressure and tapping on acupressure points to stimulate the body’s natural energy (called qi)

What happens during a Prenatal Massage?

If you’ve never had a prenatal massage, you may be wondering exactly what happens during the massage. Here’s what you’d expect from getting a prenatal massage treatment.

A prenatal massage can last for different durations, most will take 60 minutes. The Soothe massage therapist will help you get comfortable, ensuring you’re stable at a proper position on the massage table. The first part of this massage will focus on asking you about your pregnancy to date, history, discomfort, aches, pains, or any restrictions you may have from your doctor. During prenatal massage therapy, communication is very important. Make sure you’re honest and let the therapist know everything you’re feeling. This will ensure the best possible experience and outcome.

Prenatal massage mirrors an adapted type of Swedish massage, where certain areas of the body are off-limits since certain pressure points can cause contractions. The legs are also a concern area for pregnant women, this is because pressure can dislodge blood clots that have formed from the pools of blood that may settle in the extremities. You may massage the abdomen gently to help with relaxation and stress reduction.

Thinking about the atmosphere and general experience you want to create, prenatal massage sessions are typically similar to sessions in most other types of massage. Clients are asked to disrobe but remain completely covered by a sheet, with the exception of the body area being worked on. You’re free to disrobe with what you’re comfortable with. The room may be dimly lit and silent, but some massage therapists may play soft music to encourage relaxation. Be sure to ask your prenatal massage therapist about your options for creating the perfect environment for your massage.

Origins of the Prenatal Massage

Many scholars believe that the origin of prenatal massage goes back to the invention of massage itself. Ancient texts attributed to Ayurvedic medicine (developed in India as one of the world’s first medical systems) describe gentle massages for pregnant women as early as 3000 years ago.

Modern versions can include several different techniques, but Swedish massage might be the most relied upon because of its wide range of applications (it can be used on any part of the body) and benefits (muscular, circulatory, psychological, and more).

Another interesting fact: Swedish massage is often used as a foundation massage for other types of Western massage, including prenatal massage, sports massage, deep tissue massage, aromatherapy massage, and full body massage.

Health Benefits

Studies suggest prenatal massage can be beneficial in many different areas. For one, massage during pregnancy can decrease feelings of anxiety and depression while also reducing swelling, muscle aches, and joint pain. Those who receive prenatal massage may also get better sleep since massage can help relieve stress, pain, and leg cramps. Prenatal massage has also been linked to improved labor outcomes and healthier newborns. This sample of results, though relatively small, demonstrates that prenatal massage has the potential to be useful during pregnancy in many cases.

The most common alternative therapies recommended during pregnancy were massage therapy (61%), acupuncture (45%), relaxation (43%), yoga (41%), and chiropractic therapies (37%).

Some benefits of prenatal massage make it ideal for treating specific conditions likely to be experienced during pregnancy. Many individuals develop swollen leg muscles and persistent pain in late pregnancy as the shifting of the uterus places increased pressure on the sciatic nerve. Prenatal massage can help alleviate this problem by releasing tension from adjacent muscle groups and redirecting pressure away from the nerve.

Personal Benefits

While prenatal massage therapy has many health benefits, there are also several personal benefits you can receive. Stress can be harmful to you and your baby, studies have shown that prenatal massage can help you relax and relieve stress. Less stress for you, less stress for the baby.

Pregnancy can leave many areas of the body swollen, causing discomfort, pain, aches, and reducing movement. Fortunately, prenatal massage can help with this. If you’re feeling miserable due to your pregnancy, take the time to book a prenatal massage treatment below.

How to Book a Prenatal Massage Near You

If you’re interested in booking a Prenatal massage, Soothe makes it easy to find a certified massage therapist in your area. Visit our booking page, and we’ll bring the massage to you! If you have questions about this massage, you can check out our content library. If you’d rather talk to one of our massage experts, we’d be glad to assist you. Click here to get started