Updated: Mar 30
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey that can bring a lot of joy and excitement to a woman's life. As the body changes to accommodate the growing baby, it can also lead to discomfort and pain.
One way to alleviate some of these discomforts is by getting a pregnancy massage sometimes known as a prenatal massage. This blog post will discuss the benefits of getting a prenatal massage, what to expect during a session, considerations to prenatal massage and FAQs.
What is a Pregnancy Massage/Prenatal Massage?
A prenatal massage is a form of therapeutic massage for that is specifically designed for the pregnant woman. It can help relieve many common pregnancy discomforts such as back pain, joint pain, swelling, and muscle tension. Our massage therapists are trained to modify their techniques and accommodate a pregnant woman's changing body and provide a safe and comfortable experience.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Research has reported that pregnancy massages relieve aches and pains, reduce stress, relax and loosen muscles and improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage. It is also reported that prenatal massage improves mood, reduces anxiety, and improves sleep quality. Further benefits of a Prenatal Massage include;
Relieves back and joint pain:
As the baby grows, the center of gravity shifts, causing the lower back to accommodate the extra weight. Prenatal massage can help alleviate back pain and improve flexibility.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause the ligaments to loosen, which can lead to joint pain. Massage therapy can help to alleviate this discomfort.
Promotes relaxation and reduces swelling:
Pregnancy can be stressful, and regular massage therapy can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. This can lead to better sleep and improved overall well-being for both mum to be and baby.
Swelling is a common pregnancy symptom, especially in the feet and legs. Your massage therapist will apply strokes and techniques to help reduce swelling by increasing circulation and promoting lymphatic drainage which reduces overall swelling.
Improves labor outcomes:
What to Expect During a Prenatal Massage
Before the massage, we will ask you a few questions regarding your pregnancy to ensure that you are a good candidate for massage therapy. This information will help the therapist to modify the massage techniques and ensure a safe and comfortable experience for both mother to be and baby.
During the massage, the client will be positioned lying on your side or in a semi-reclined position with the support of pillows to ensure comfort and safety, this improves circulation and oxygenation. The massage therapist will use gentle techniques to alleviate pregnancy discomforts such as back and joint pain, and swelling. The massage therapist may also incorporate aromatherapy or essential oils to enhance the relaxation experience.
Our pregnancy massage sessions that we recommend are typically between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the client's preferences and needs. It's essential to communicate with the massage therapist throughout the session about the level of pressure and any discomfort experienced so that your massage therapist can adjust the pressure or techniques to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.
Safety Considerations for Pregnancy Massage
Pregnancy massage is generally considered safe for most pregnant women. It is strongly recommended that a pregnant woman discuss options for prenatal massage with their doctor, midwife or healthcare professional if they are concerned about massage during pregnancy, especially if;
· First trimester
· Nausea, vomiting or have morning sickness
· If you are at high risk of miscarriage
· You are considered high risk pregnancies (preeclampsia, IVF or high blood pressure)
· You have or have had a blood clot or deep vein thrombosis
· Have abdominal plain or bleeding
· Have oedema (swelling) in one or both legs
It's best to wait until the second trimester to start getting pregnancy massage. The first trimester is a critical period of foetal development, and massage therapy may not be recommended during this time.
Some medical conditions may make pregnancy massage unsafe. It's essential to consult with your doctor or midwife before scheduling a pregnancy massage if you have any medical conditions or complications.
Certain massage techniques such as deep tissue massage or hot stone massage may not be recommended during pregnancy.
Strong pressure or deep tissue massage is avoided as it can cause the muscles to contract and lead to discomfort or pain. It's best to focus on gentle massage techniques that promote relaxation and alleviate pregnancy-related discomforts.
Areas to be considerate of during massage:
It's crucial to protect the growing baby and avoid any unnecessary pressure or manipulation of the abdomen. Massaging the abdomen may cause contractions, which can lead to premature labour or miscarriage. While it's safe to apply light pressure to the abdomen to promote relaxation, it's essential to avoid any deep or intense pressure.
The lower back is a common area of discomfort during pregnancy, but it's important to be cautious when massaging this area. The lower back has many muscles and ligaments that support the spine and the growing baby.
Deep pressure on the lower back can cause the muscles to contract, leading to discomfort or pain. It's best to avoid any deep tissue massage on the lower back and focus on gentle techniques to alleviate any discomfort.
The feet are another area that should be avoided during pregnancy massage. There are acupressure points on the feet that can stimulate the uterus and lead to preterm labor.
Additionally, the feet can be sensitive during pregnancy due to the increased weight and pressure on the feet. It's best to avoid any deep tissue massage on the feet and focus on gentle techniques when performing a foot massage
Hands and Wrists
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common pregnancy-related condition that can cause pain and numbness in the hands and wrists. Massaging the hands and wrists can aggravate this condition, leading to more discomfort or pain.
Again. it's best to avoid any deep tissue massage on the hands and wrists and focus on gentle techniques to promote relaxation.
The inner thighs are another area to avoid massaging during pregnancy. The inner thighs are close to the groin, and massaging this area can stimulate contractions and lead to premature labour. It's essential to communicate with the massage therapist and avoid any pressure on the inner thighs during the massage.
Chest and Breast
The chest and breast area is another area to be cautious when massaging during pregnancy. The chest and breast area can be sensitive during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, and deep pressure can cause discomfort or pain. Additionally, it's essential to avoid any pressure on the nipples or areolas, as this can also stimulate contractions.
Pregnancy can be an exciting and transformative experience for women, but it can also come with its share of discomforts. Siam Soul Thai Massage recognises this and offers pregnancy massage which we know can help alleviate many of these discomforts and promote relaxation, leading to improved overall for both mother to be and baby.
What areas should not be massaged during pregnancy?
Areas to avoid during pregnancy include the abdomen, feet and ankles and pressure points. The lower back may be massaged gently whilst you lay on your side.
Can I have a back massage in early pregnancy?
It is generally safe to receive a back massage during early pregnancy, but it is important to consult with your doctor, midwife or healthcare provider prior to receiving one. It is recommended that massage is avoided during the first trimester to ensure safety of the mother and foetus.
Do I need to tell my massage therapist I’m pregnant?
Yes. It is important to tell your massage therapist you are pregnant as you will require a specially trained therapist. This will allow your therapist to adjust and modify their technique to ensure appropriate massage techniques and positioning to minimise back pain, swelling and stress whilst keeping you and your baby safe.
When should you not massage a pregnant woman?
Certain circumstances where prenatal massage should not be performed include;
High risk pregnancy, recent injury, infections or fevers, history or currency of blood clots in the lower limbs (deep vein thrombosis). It is always recommended to seek professional advice from your doctor, midwife or healthcare provider to determine if massage is right for you.
What pressure point should you not touch while pregnant?
There are certain pressure points on the hands and feet that may stimulate uterine contractions and therefore should be avoided.