Treating for two now - Pregnancy massage
Massage during pregnancy is a time for rest, peace, and calm. It provides a moment for you, at a time when everything – even your sleep – is changed in some way by this unique, but natural situation.
Great expectations are held by the pregnant mother herself, her partner, family and friends. Hopefully, most of your pregnancy will be filled with excitement and optimism about the new baby. But, of course, you may experience a range of emotions; maybe this is a shock; the timing seems bad, or the circumstances ‘wrong’. Sometimes, those closest to us underestimate our sensitivities during this time.
Throughout pregnancy, massage therapy can help with your feelings and physical needs. What helps you helps your baby, too.
Things to consider before having massage therapy
You need to be at 14 weeks and over, and under the care and monitoring of a midwife. Your pregnancy is healthy i.e. without complication or special care.
Any pre-existing medical conditions to be managed by medication or your doctor. A therapist will generally ask you for a doctor or midwife’s letter of permission for you to undertake treatments.
Massage therapists are trained in the effects of pregnancy on the body, and the way to massage as you grow and develop. They may recognise some signs of abnormality, but cannot ‘diagnose’ as they are not midwives.
It's all about you - your massage
The positions adopted for massage change from lying on your front and back to alternate side-lying, through sitting up with back support – only left side-lying after 22 weeks. For those with pregnancies within the third trimester, more time is built in to allow for shifting position and toilet visits, etc.
Almond is a popular base oil, for its ability to nurture your skin. Your sense of smell can be highly sensitive, making fragrance undesirable; essential oils are generally not advised. The depth of strokes is lighter as the pregnancy progresses as you carry 50% more fluid. Treatment times may be adapted to your needs.
Pregnancy massage therapists are aware of where not to massage and where to go gently – points that stimulate the uterus, for instance. They do not attempt to hasten labour if requested, taking the view that your body has its own innate timing.
What are the benefits of pregnancy massage?
- Both you and your baby experience relaxation.
- Hormonal changes can be supported and emotional fluctuations may be levelled.
- Stretch marks can be tight and cause discomfort. Massage can help maintain skin elasticity.
- Massage triggers the release of natural pain-relieving hormones.
- Sleep loss is common in pregnancy, for many reasons, but dozing off and getting a little sleep is entirely acceptable during treatment.
- Studies suggest that women who undergo massage treatment and other holistic therapies during pregnancy experience labour positively, confidently and more easily.
For more information and advice about holistic therapies during pregnancy, take a look at the following resources:
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