Prenatal massage, also known as pregnancy massage, is a type of therapeutic massage that is specifically designed for pregnant women. It involves the use of gentle and safe massage techniques to alleviate physical discomfort and emotional stress during pregnancy. While some people may view prenatal massage as a luxury or indulgence, it offers many important benefits for the mama and her unborn baby.
At The Wellness Hub here in Jacksonville, Florida, we believe that every mother-to-be deserves prenatal massage during all stages of her pregnancy!
Below we will explore some of the benefits of prenatal massage:
Relief from Physical Discomfort
Pregnancy can be a physically challenging time for women. As the baby grows, the mother's body undergoes significant changes that can lead to physical discomforts such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, leg cramps, and swollen feet. Prenatal massage can be very effective in relieving these discomforts by reducing muscle tension, improving circulation, and releasing endorphins (the body's natural painkillers). This can help pregnant women feel more resourceful during pregnancy and provide relief from aches and pains.
Improved Sleep and Relief from Discomfort During Sleep
Many pregnant women experience difficulty sleeping due to physical discomfort, anxiety, or hormonal changes. Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, irritability, and other negative consequences. Prenatal massage has been shown to improve sleep quality in pregnant women by reducing stress and anxiety, promoting relaxation, and improving circulation. This can help pregnant women get the rest they need to feel their best during pregnancy.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Pregnancy can be a stressful time for women, as they prepare for the arrival of a new baby and navigate the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy. Prenatal massage can be a valuable tool for reducing stress and anxiety during pregnancy. Massage has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increase levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin. This can help pregnant women feel more relaxed and calm, and may even lead to better outcomes for the baby.
Improved Immune System Function
Pregnancy, by design, suppresses a woman's immune system, so colds, flu and allergies can be a common occurrence. Prenatal massage may also have benefits for the mother's immune system. Research has shown that massage therapy can increase the activity of white blood cells, which play a key role in the body's immune response. This can help pregnant women stay healthy and reduce the risk of bothersome colds during pregnancy.
Reduced Swelling and Edema
Swelling and edema (excess fluid retention) are common during pregnancy, especially in the feet, ankles, and legs. Prenatal massage can be very effective in reducing swelling and edema by improving circulation and promoting lymphatic drainage. This can help pregnant women feel more comfortable and reduce the risk of complications such as varicose veins and blood clots. We have several lymphatic massage specialists at The Wellness Hub, and many of them also offer prenatal massage!
How Often Should a Pregnant Woman Receive Prenatal Massage?
The frequency of prenatal massage will vary depending on the individual needs and preferences of the pregnant woman. However, there are some general guidelines that can help determine how often to get prenatal massage.
In the first trimester, prenatal massage is generally safe, according to The American Pregnancy Association. However, during this time, many women are not yet experiencing significant physical discomfort and may prefer to wait until later in the pregnancy to begin massage therapy. If a woman does choose to receive massage in the first trimester, once a month is generally sufficient. At The Wellness Hub, we just ask that you receive verbal clearance from your ob-gyn doctor to proceed with massage in the first trimester.
In the second trimester, as the baby grows and the mother's body undergoes significant changes, prenatal massage can be very beneficial. During this time, women may experience increased muscle tension, back pain, and other discomforts. Many women choose to receive massage once every two to three weeks during the second trimester to help manage these symptoms.
In the third trimester, prenatal massage can be especially helpful for preparing the body for labor and delivery. During this time, women may experience increased fatigue, swelling, sciatica and back pain. Many women choose to receive prenatal massage once a week during the third trimester to help manage these symptoms.
It's always a good idea to consult with your obstetrician and your massage therapist to help determine what is appropriate for your specific condition and evaluate any individual risk factors.
Is Massage Therapy During Pregnancy Safe?
When performed by a qualified and experienced licensed massage therapist, prenatal massage is generally considered safe for most pregnant women. However, as with any type of medical treatment or intervention, there are some risks and precautions to keep in mind.
It is important to note that there are some circumstances in which prenatal massage may not be recommended. For example, women with certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or placenta previa may need to avoid massage therapy or obtain clearance from their healthcare provider before receiving massage.
It is also important to communicate openly with the massage therapist about any health concerns or discomforts during the massage. If at any point during the massage a woman feels uncomfortable or experiences pain, she should let the therapist know immediately. A prenatal massage therapist is an important part of the healthcare team during pregnancy, so any medical changes should be reported directly to the therapist.
A Happy, Healthy Pregnancy with Prenatal Massage
A healthy pregnancy helps with the outcome of a healthy delivery and a healthy baby. Adding a prenatal massage plan to your pregnancy wellness toolkit is a great way to be at your healthiest during this special time.
We are pleased to serve the following Florida communities with massage therapy, chiropractic, organic skincare, acupuncture, red light therapy and more: Jacksonville, Orange Park, Fleming Island, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St Johns, Ponte Vedra and more.
The Wellness Hub Center for Chronic Pain Relief and Holistic Healing in Jacksonville, Florida. A place for wellness, healing and renewal.