What is Prenatal Massage?

Posted by | July 05, 2019 | Pregnancy Medicine | No Comments

Prenatal massage uses the premises of typical massage therapies for pregnant women. There are many benefits prenatal massage can provide expectant mothers, which also in turn benefit their developing babies. If you are considering a prenatal massage, make sure that you first speak with your obstetrician and find a massage professional who is trained and experienced in working with pregnant women.

What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage offers many benefits for you as an expecting mother. Many of these benefits are physical in nature, but because there is such a close connection between physical and emotional well-being, you can also see benefits more related to your emotions and mental health. The techniques used for prenatal massage are designed to:

  • Improve your circulation
  • Relieve aches in your neck, back, hips, and other joints that are under stress due to your pregnancy
  • Relieve headaches
  • Reduce the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Reduce those frustrating nighttime leg cramps
  • Reduce insomnia and improve your quality of sleep
  • Reduce the severity of symptoms of sciatica, a painful condition where your sciatic nerve is compressed and your leg often feels achy and tingly
  • Flush toxins from your body
  • Help your lymphatic system work as efficiently as possible

These are some of the physical benefits that you might experience from prenatal massage. The healthier your body is, the more capable it will be of supporting a healthy pregnancy. These physical benefits, however, are not the only positive effects pregnant women experience from prenatal massage. There are many emotional side effects that women can experience as well.

  • You can develop a stronger connection between your mind and body, which is even more important when your mind and body are responsible for the healthy development of your growing baby.
  • Prenatal massage can reduce stress hormones, which not only helps to improve tension in your muscles, but improve your overall mental health.
  • Mild depression can also improve with the implementation of a prenatal massage regime as it increases levels of dopamine and serotonin – known as the feel good hormones that improve mental energy.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Prenatal Massage?

There are numerous benefits, both physical and emotional, of prenatal massage for expectant mothers and their developing babies. However, the practice is not for everyone and it does not come without risk.

  • Do not begin a prenatal massage routine until you have passed the 12th week, especially if you have a history of miscarriages.
  • Do not lie on your back during the prenatal massage because it can restrict circulation. Some massage professionals have special maternity tables on which you can lie to make it safer.
  • Make sure you are working with an experienced prenatal massage therapist who is aware of the sensitive pressure points. These points must be avoided, especially if you have a history of preterm labor.
  • If you are in a high-risk pregnancy or are challenged with a condition such as pregnancy induced hypertension or diabetes, it is usually advised that you do not receive prenatal massage because of the added complications the increased blood circulation and release of toxins can cause.

As with any new routines during pregnancy it is important to first talk with your medical provider. For many women, however, prenatal massage offers many benefits, both physical and emotional.

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Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”