During a pregnancy, massage is a wonderful way to relax, increase your energy, and relieve discomfort. The caring touch of massage can help you experience your changing body in a positive, accepting way. It can also be something special for you at a time when so much of your attention is on the baby to come. You can also prepare for the birthing process with massage. Through massage you can increase your awareness of tension in your body and learn how to consciously release it. You can also prepare for labor by practicing focus, breathing and relaxation techniques while a tender area is being massaged. The result will be increased confidence and control during labor.
Pregnancy is a time of changes, some eagerly embraced, and others less welcome. Your whole body adapts to the new life growing within you. You also face important life changes at home or at work, with family or friends. You need and deserve support, especially since two people now depend on your health and vitality.
Massage is wonderful way to relax, increase your energy and relieve discomfort throughout your pregnancy. The caring touch of massage can help you experience your changing body in a positive, accepting way. Massage can also be something special for you at a time when most attention is on the baby.
Stress & Fatigue
Change, even welcome change, is stressful. The tension caused by stress, along with the physical changes of pregnancy, can zap your energy for coping day to day. A soothing massage can relieve physical and emotional tension, help you sleep better and boost your energy.
Massage relaxes tight muscles and calms the nervous system. It also increases circulation, bringing energy producing nutrients to your cells and carrying away metabolic waste products that can make you feel listless.
Easing Aches and Pains
Massage can help with many of the aches and pains you will experience during your pregnancy.
- Relieve pain in your muscles & joints
- Increase flexibility, making it easier for your body to make physical changes
- Ease constipation, gas, heartburn
- Reduce fluid retention by increasing circulation
- Relieve headaches
Learning Self-Care Techniques
Besides the immediate relief you get from a massage, you may also learn ways to make yourself more comfortable at home. You may find ways to use pillows for support when you are laying down. Your therapist might give you feedback on your posture or suggest gentle exercises and stretches to help relieve tension.
Is Massage Always Appropriate?
Massage is healthy and enjoyable during a normal pregnancy. However, because massage is not appropriate for some conditions, your massage therapist will want to know about your general health and your pregnancy. Give as much information as you can and always tell your therapist about any changes, even if you are not sure they are important. Remember, any condition you have now affects two people, one of whom is very small.
Comfort During a Massage
You will be comfortably supported with pillows or cushions during the massage. In later pregnancy you can experience a complete massage comfortably supported in a side-lying position. If lying down is simply not comfortable, you can remain seated for a relaxing partial massage.
You will be draped with a sheet everywhere except the part of your body that is being massaged. Ask for a lighter sheet or less heat in the room if you find your self too warm. It is fine to interrupt your massage when you need to use the restroom.
Be sure to ask any questions you have about massage in general or your session in particular. Tell your therapist if anything feels uncomfortable or if there are areas that you would not want massaged. If you are not sure about something be conservative and see how you feel after each massage.
Massage During Labor
Massage is part of the birthing process in virtually all tribal cultures of the world. It can help you relax between contractions, reduce pain from tight muscles, and provide emotional support and encouragement. Because stress interferes with the production of labor inducing hormones, there is evidence that massage can promote a faster birth.
You are lucky, indeed, if you can arrange to have a professional massage therapist present at your labor. As an alternative, you may want to share with your birthing partner some massage techniques you find relaxing. Your massage therapist may be able to suggest a massage class for you and your partner, or may even be willing to give a private lesson.
In the postpartum period, nature sets about undoing in eight weeks what it took nine months to create. Though it may be difficult, it is as important to care for yourself now as during your pregnancy.
Massage can help you handle the physical demands of caring for a newborn by reducing tension and increasing energy. If you are nursing, a relaxing massage can help since tension interferes with milk letdown. Physiologically, massage can nurture and comfort you whether or not you are experiencing postpartum blues.
When to schedule your first appointment depends on how your delivery went and what your health care provider advises. Talk with your therapist about what is best for you.
College of Massage Therapy
At Bingham Memorial Hospital
98 Poplar Street
Blackfoot, ID 83221