Deciding Which Type of Massage is Right for You
Massage therapy has become so popular there are now many different types of massage offered. If you’...
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Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage includes a number of health benefits for a mother-to-be. In fact, prenatal massage is one of the fastest growing types of massage today. If you are pregnant or considering having a child it is important to learn about these benefits.

First, it is important to understand there is a difference between a regular massage and a prenatal massage.

There are a number of different ways to approach pregnancy massage. While it may seem as though it would be difficult many women actually do prefer to lie on their stomachs during a prenatal massage. This is accomplished using a specially designed pillow that features a deep cutout in the center of the pillow. If you prefer; however, you can also lie on your side. It should be noted that lying on your back after the 22nd week of pregnancy can cause pressure to develop on blood vessels; which can reduce circulation for both baby and mom. Therefore, prenatal massage should be approached either using a body pillow for the side position or a center cutout pillow for the stomach position.

Just a few of the benefits available through prenatal massage include relief of mental and physical fatigue, improvement of body tone and circulation and enhancing of muscle and joint function. Prenatal massage is also able to assist with emotional support through a nurturing touch. Women who find it difficult to sleep during their pregnancies may also experience decreased insomnia as a result of regular prenatal massage. Stress relief on weight bearing joints, such as the pelvis, lower back and ankles; which often take the brunt of the increased weight of pregnancy can also be achieved. In addition, it is possible to achieve relief of back and neck pain as well as reduced sciatic pain. Prenatal massage also helps to prepare the muscles that will be used during childbirth.

Mothers-to-be also report they tend to be able to move with greater ease and actually feel as though they have more space in their expanding bodies as a result of regular prenatal massage. This is important due to the fact that a mother-to-be’s blood volume can increase up to 40%. If a woman is carrying multiples, her blood volume can increase even more. Regular massage supports and improves circulation and other body fluids, reducing the chance of developing varicose veins. In addition, studies have shown that women who engage in prenatal massage are often able to achieve a more nurturing touch with their babies after they are born.

Finally, women who take part in regular prenatal massage during their pregnancies report reduced swelling in their hands and feet as well as relief from headache and sinus congestion. The latter is particularly important due to the fact that it can be difficult for women who suffer from these problems during their pregnancies to achieve relief without dangerous medications.

Be aware that prenatal massage might not be right for everyone. For most mothers-to-be is very safe, even in the last trimester. If there are complications or problems during your pregnancy; however, you should inform your massage therapist. In this case, your therapist may require approval from your physician before proceeding with a massage. Situations in which massage is not recommended include the following:

Heavy discharge
Contageious illness
Morning sickness
High blood pressure

Optimal benefits can be achieved from prenatal massage with regular sessions. Once per week during the second trimester is a good time to start with an increase to twice or more during the third trimester.

When you make an appointment for your prenatal massage make sure you tell the therapist about any problems or complications you may be experiencing. It is also important to make sure the therapist has received training in pregnancy massage.
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