A good massage always does the body good, but never is this truer than when a woman is pregnant. Massage offers relief from the discomforts of pregnancy brought on by the many changes happening in her body along with the added stress of a growing belly.
Massage during pregnancy is beneficial throughout the entire nine months, however if a woman has what is considered to be a high risk pregnancy, she needs to contact her physician before trying any kind of massage therapy. Also, it is very important to be sure to find a therapist who is certified in pregnancy massage because the positioning and techniques are very different for pregnant women. In fact, there are certain parts of a pregnant woman’s body that should never be massaged.
The anatomy of a pregnant woman needs to be understood fully, especially as the pregnancy progresses. For example, after 22 weeks a pregnant woman should not lay on her back because of deep blood vessels that can be restricted cutting off circulation to the baby. The woman should be semi-reclined with pillows and wedges used to keep her comfortable. Additionally, extra padding can be used as needed and she should be turned from side to side to prevent discomfort.
Some of the recognized benefits of pregnancy massage include reducing swelling in the hands, feet and ankles; increasing blood and lymph flow that can help with fatigue; strengthening of the body’s immune system; increasing oxygen levels in the blood; stimulating the release of the body’s natural pain killers, endorphins, into the brain and nervous system; and easing of muscle cramps and sciatic pain.
Of course, the biggest benefit from a massage during pregnancy is the relaxation it offers the mother. The tranquil effects of a massage can bring much needed relief from stress, anxiety and muscle exhaustion to a pregnant mother. The extra weight combined with the other physical changes happening in a woman’s body can lead to extreme fatigue and a relaxing massage can bring enormous comfort.