Who wouldn’t love the idea of doing at least a few hours of spa time, especially after a long day? And when someone talks about spas, relaxing massages are perhaps the most in-demand. After all, a good massage will leave you calmer and more relaxed, physically and mentally. And since it improves circulation, it may also help boost productivity and your general wellness.
However, for child-bearing women, concerns about the safety of undergoing massages at any point during the nine-month period are pretty common. During pregnancy, body aches become common, especially on the back and around the pelvis. To make matters worse, there are also leg cramps, which can be a nightmare. When you have such discomforts to deal with every now and then, massages are more needed than ever.
Massages And Pregnancy
Most massages are generally harmless when you're carrying a child. However, it's advisable to get your doctor’s or obstetrician’s (OB) advice before beginning any session. One thing to note is that massages could stimulate a detoxification process. It’d be best to understand that there are chances of serious health threats, including a possible miscarriage during the early stage of pregnancy when a detoxification process occurs.
For this reason, it's ideal to wait until you’re past the first trimester before booking your favorite massage. But once you get the approval of your OB, remember never to lie down flat on your back when getting a massage. The extra weight may restrict the flow of blood to the placenta and cause complications.
In the last few years, more spa centers have started to offer massages for mothers-to-be. Modern Mindbody massage and similar providers have made it easier for child-bearing women to safely undergo massage therapies that can contribute to improving their overall well-being.
Who Should Not Get A Massage While Pregnant?
As discussed above, it's crucial to consult with your OB prior to booking a spa day for your favorite massage. Individuals with health conditions should be extra cautious before signing up for one. These include women diagnosed with bleeding disorders, hypertension, placenta previa, and others.
If you belong to the group of high-risk childbearing women or suspect that you may have similar health issues, it's essential to visit your OB for advice before visiting a spa. They’ll also likely direct you to a trusted and licensed therapist to help you get your much-needed massages safely.
How Can Massages Benefit Pregnant Women?
Over the past years, massages have helped to relieve the common physical discomfort associated with gestation. They’re specifically believed to provide the following benefits:
- Less Swelling
Increased pressure on blood vessels is a common cause of swelling among child-bearing women. This can be a generalized swelling but is more evident on the legs and the face. Getting a good massage may ease the tension on these vessels and leave you more relaxed and less puffy.
- Reduced Stress And Anxiety
Pregnancy increases the levels of cortisol or stress hormones. Although this hormone is vital in fetal development, excessive amounts may also induce stress. The good thing is massage therapy may help stabilize these hormones while also promoting the release of dopamine and serotonin, the calming hormones. This means less stress and typically improved moods.
- Better Sleep
As your belly grows, you’ll find that getting a good quality sleep seems to be more difficult. But since a massage helps in the release of feel-good hormones, it may ease you into a night of restful sleep.
Which Massages Types Are Safest For Child-Bearing Women?
Although massages are—without a doubt—relaxing and calming, child-bearing women can’t just have any type of massage. But here are the ones you can safely have while pregnant:
- Deep Tissue Massage
Intended to help manage musculoskeletal problems, particularly muscle strains, this works by utilizing deep strokes to provide pressure on the deeper tissue layers. This helps to lower strain and release tension in affected tissues, thereby relaxing stiff muscles.
However, your physician will not always recommend deep massage therapy when you’ve got a bun in the oven. Why? Well, not all massage therapists are trained to perform them safely on child-bearing women. Pregnancy is such a delicate period. If you undergo a deep tissue massage from someone who lacks proper training, it may lead to complications.
Furthermore, although deep tissue massage has different benefits, it's important to remember areas with pressure points that should be avoided. These include the pelvis, hands, ankles, and wrists, which may be prone to blood clotting during pregnancy.
However, when done properly, deep tissue massages are helpful in releasing strain particularly on weight-bearing joints, which are caused by pressure from the extra weight.
- Swedish Massage
Commonly offered to child-bearing women, this technique involves gentle, long kneading strokes combined with soft tapping strokes applied to the topmost layers of the muscles. It may help improve mood and energy levels. Unlike deeper massages, Swedish massage aims to achieve a sedative effect by relaxing the tensed muscles
This is beneficial in improving blood circulation, managing pain, reducing stress, and others. Before you book a Swedish massage, it's important to determine whether the therapist has the license and experience to perform a massage.
- Shiatsu Massage
This is another massage that child-bearing women can book to ease issues commonly associated with pregnancy. It's a less intense technique that can be utilized to tackle pregnancy-related problems. Although the technique is from Japan, this technique is founded on traditional Chinese medicine. It works by applying pressure using the fingers, thumbs, and palms in various points to amplify the body's ability to heal itself.
Joint pains and swellings may take away the enjoyment of a growing baby. The shiatsu massage may help alleviate the pain, leaving you with a relaxed, calm feeling. It may also prepare you both emotionally and physically to welcome your bundle of joy as it also helps to improve energy levels.
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In all the stages of womanhood, pregnancy is perhaps the one that needs a good massage the most. Fortunately, there are massages that aren’t just safe for child-bearing women but are also beneficial in relieving the common pain and discomfort brought about by pregnancy. However, bear in mind that they’re only safe when you have the guidance of medical professionals. Before undergoing any massage, check with your OB first and make sure to only choose licensed therapists who are also specifically experienced in providing massages for child-bearing women.
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