Between surging hormones and a bursting belly along with the aches and swollen tootsies, there’s no denying that creating new life can be tough — especially when you’re exhausted and everything hurts.
Back pain? Check.
Restless legs? Got it.
Pelvic discomfort? Yep.
Oh, the joys of pregnancy! Fortunately, for many mamas-to-be hoping for some relief, a gentle rub down can do the trick.
Enter prenatal massage.
Touted for its ability to improve circulation, soothe discomfort, and promote relaxation, a prenatal massage has several benefits that can make pregnancy more enjoyable and ease a lot of physical — and mental — stress, too.
Interested in learning more? 8 Sheep Organics has your back. Read on to discover all there is to know about prenatal massage. Are you ready?
Let’s dive in!
Prenatal Massage: What You Need to Know
First things first: what is a prenatal massage?
Simply put, prenatal massage — aka pregnancy massage — is a special kind of manual manipulation therapy specifically geared toward pregnant women.
This form of massage uses many of the techniques of Swedish massage therapy and adapts them to the stress and strains of a pregnant woman's body.
So, how exactly is a prenatal massage different from a traditional massage, you ask? Well, it really all boils down to your body and how prenatal massage therapists ensure you remain comfortable, relaxed, and — most importantly — safe.
For example, you might be asked to lie face down during a typical back massage. But this kind of positioning isn’t suitable for a prenatal massage because it’ll pressure the expecting mom’s tummy, which can quickly disrupt the blood flow to the baby.
Are Prenatal Massages Safe?
Getting a massage during pregnancy used to be regarded as risky business, but as long as you follow a few guidelines, most experts agree prenatal massages are perfectly safe. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help ensure the safety of the little one growing inside you:
Tip #1: Hold Off Until Your Second Trimester
While you can technically begin massage therapy at any point in your pregnancy, most experts advise waiting until your second trimester due to the higher risk of miscarriage in the first trimester.
That said, if you’re in need of some TLC during the early days of your nine-month journey, we suggest lighting a few aromatherapy candles before soaking in the tub. For an extra boost of relaxation and stress relief, toss in a few sprinkles of our Therapeutic Bath Salts.
Tip #2: Stick With a Trained Massage Therapist
Believe it or not, there is no standard certification for massage therapists across the country. In addition, not all states have laws requiring minimum training for a massage therapist.
This is especially worrisome for soon-to-be mamas because there are certain pressure points on a pregnant woman's body that should never be massaged, such as the reflexology areas around the ankles.
To ensure safety, do your research to find a trained prenatal massage therapist that has lots of experience massaging expecting moms. Talk to family and friends, read online reviews, and check out some helpful articles to narrow down your search.
Tip #3: Check-In With Your OB/GYN
Before making an appointment with a massage therapist, it’s a good idea to get the go-ahead from your OB/GYN first. While prenatal massage can truly be an incredible part of a woman’s prenatal care, the American Pregnancy Association (APA) advises against them if you have any of the following conditions:
- High-risk pregnancy
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Experiencing severe swelling (edema)
- Previous pre-term labor
- Blood clots
What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?
Now that we’ve covered the safety precautions, let’s explore a few benefits, shall we? Here are some of the top potential benefits of prenatal massage:
Benefit #1: Stress Relief
From fluctuating hormones and morning sickness to swelling and discomfort, it’s easy to see how pregnancy can be stressful. Massage therapy offers a holistic approach to relieving stress and tension in the body and mind.
Benefit #2: Improved Blood Circulation
During pregnancy, it’s not uncommon for blood to pool at the extremities, which can lead to more swelling and discomfort. We know… *sigh*
Thankfully, a gentle prenatal massage can boost blood flow and replace the waste in the muscles (lactic acid) with newly oxygenated blood to help keep swelling at bay.
Benefit #3: Reduced Discomfort
Whether you’re dealing with lower back aches, sore ligaments, or tender joints, massage therapy is an excellent way to reduce discomfort. And when you’re dealing with less discomfort, you’ll likely find it much easier to catch zzzs at night!
In addition to massage, we recommend using our Organic Sleepy Body Lotion to help ease discomfort and prevent restless legs. This mom-approved “sleepy” lotion is made with organic ingredients that work together to promote deeper, more restful sleep. What’s not to love?
So, what’s a prenatal massage, you ask? In short, prenatal massage is a catch-all term for any hands-on massage during pregnancy. The technique used is similar to Swedish massage and is adapted to the stress and strains of a pregnant woman's body.
Thinking about getting a massage to soothe your aches and pains? Get the green light from your OB/GYN first, and do your research to find an experienced prenatal massage therapist to ensure the safety of your growing little one.