A pregnancy massage is a safe and gentle method of massage for a mum-to-be to enjoy some relaxation and alleviate pain and stress whilst pregnant. Expectant mothers have a lot of extra weight to carry and can suffer from lower back pain, swollen feet and calves, and other ailments. An indulgent, gentle massage can provide some much-needed respite.
The calming experience of a pregnancy massage can provide multiple health benefits, ranging from physical benefits to psychological benefits.
Simply experiencing a gentle touch can be a soothing antidote to anxiety and depression and an effective way for an expectant mum to experience emotional support. A pregnancy massage can help to reduce stress, pain, and discomfort during pregnancy. This can often result in better quality sleep and feeling more energized. Since relaxation is key to an enjoyable pregnancy and comfortable labor, it’s not hard to see why spas now offer mums-to-be an array of specialist pregnancy packages.
I may use a variety of techniques, such as rolling and kneading the skin to a subtle sweeping action. In the full body massage, I will usually start by massaging your back and neck, then the legs, arms, hands, and then moving on to the feet.
Obviously, expectant mothers cannot lie on their fronts unless using specially adapted massage beds or pregnancy supports. Instead, they are usually carefully positioned to sit slightly upright or sideways (never completely flat and face-up – this is particularly important after week 30 of pregnancy) with pillows and padding for extra support. The products used will be gentle and safe for pregnant women’s skin.
The more stimulating aromatherapy essential oils (basil, cedarwood, cinnamon bark, citronella, clary sage, jasmine, juniper, lemongrass, myrrh, peppermint, rockrose, rosemary, sage, thyme, and vetiver) are contraindicated (not allowed) during pregnancy. Some of these are considered potent enough to influence fetal cell development and even to induce contractions.
Gentler soothing essential oils (diluted in a base or carrier oil), such as lavender, bergamot, frankincense, grapefruit, lemon, neroli, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang are considered safe to use in the second trimester of a healthy pregnancy onwards. Peppermint oil, sometimes recommended in the first and second trimester to help curtail the nausea of morning sickness, is also thought to decrease milk production, so is best avoided as you approach your final trimester prior to breastfeeding.
If you want to use your favorite fragrance-free organic oil (coconut is good) during your massage, don’t be afraid to bring along a small bottle for your spa therapist to use – they should be happy to oblige. Just let the spa know ahead of time.
It is, as long as you are mindful of the restrictions in terms of positioning and essential oils. Be sure to let me know when you book your appointment how far along you are and also tell me on arrival. It is always advisable to seek your doctor’s advice ahead of time. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or other complications, a massage may be off-limits until you have safely given birth and you have medical clearance to have massage treatments.
Some clinics have policies in place about treating pregnant women. In general, the first and last trimesters are the crucial periods of pregnancy, so the second trimester is probably the best time to enjoy a pregnancy massage. In the first 12 weeks, you must avoid abdominal massage altogether. In your second and third trimesters, it is important not to lie on your back.