What is a pregnancy massage and what are the benefits? What is a pregnancy massage? A pregnancy massage is a specially adapted gentle and soothing massage tailored specifically for the mother-to-be. As a term, ‘pregnancy massage’ applies to any hands-on massage treatment for a woman during her pregnancy. It can therefore vary enormously in terms of what it consists of. However, for many women, pregnancy massage benefits include easing aches and pains, as well as facilitating relaxation and preparation for labour. What does a pregnancy massage consist of? At Secret Spa, our trained and professional massage therapists will deliver a tailored and unique pregnancy massage in the comfort of your own home lasting either 60 or 90 minutes. The therapist will listen to your particular concerns regarding any tension or pain, and work to facilitate deep relaxation, helping you to enjoy your pregnancy and alleviate any unwanted symptoms. As with other body massages, you’ll lie on a massage table and you may be given additional cushions or specially shaped bolsters, to make lying more comfortable. Usually you’ll lie on your side, particularly later in pregnancy, when this is more comfortable. There are many different massage techniques which can be drawn on by the therapist for pregnancy massage. Typically, deeper tissue techniques will be avoided, and more gentle techniques will be used. Anecdotally, we all know how wonderful a good massage can be, but there isn’t much research to explain why it works. Therefore, massage therapists are generally gentler when massaging a pregnant client. During pregnancy, the woman’s body goes through many changes; a pregnancy massage will be mindful of these. For example, blood volume during pregnancy increases by as much as 50%. This causes pressure on the lower legs. The therapist will avoid deep tissue massage here and instead use light, relaxing and long strokes which help circulation. If you would like your masseuse to massage your pregnant belly, this is possible, but it will again be gentle, using long strokes, designed to make you feel comfortable, womanly and at ease. Is pregnancy massage safe? The NHS states that pregnancy massage is one of the safe complementary therapies you can use during pregnancy. The issue is that there is enormous variation in the training and skill of the therapist. Choose a reputable provider, like Secret Spa, for a professional and safe pregnancy massage. Generally it is advised to avoid pregnancy massage in your first trimester, especially if you have a history of miscarriages. Indeed, many reputable therapists will not undertake massage on pregnant women in their first trimester. There isn’t any evidence to prove that massage can trigger miscarriage, but it’s a sensible precaution to take. It’s also sensible to avoid pregnancy massage if you’re suffering particularly badly with vomiting or nausea, although some specialist massage therapists may actually be able to help alleviate these symptoms. You should also avoid pregnancy massage if you are considered at high-risk of placental abruption or premature labour. If you’re in doubt about whether pregnancy massage is safe for you, speak to your midwife, GP or obstetrician. What are the pregnancy massage benefits? Pregnancy massage benefits are wide-ranging. That said; testing and research on pregnant women is generally avoided on ethical grounds. You’ll find that most of the evidence for pregnancy massage is anecdotal. However, this doesn’t make it less compelling. Mind and body relaxation If you’re a fan of massage before pregnancy, we are sure you’ll fall in love with receiving pregnancy massages for the same deep relaxation that you will receive. Pregnancy aches and pains With increased weight, and your changing posture, pregnancy can trigger new aches and pains which range from nasty niggles to real discomfort. In pregnancy, you’re limited in terms of what pain medication you can take, and also how you can alleviate the pain. Pregnancy massage is one way to gently move the sore areas, and increase your range of movement carefully, helping to soothe the pain away. Reduction in anxiety Whilst pregnancy is a wonderful time for many women, it can provoke anxiety in others. It’s a new chapter and your body is undergoing a huge change. Massage can be a way to connect with your body, learn to feel safe with the changes, and thus reduce the anxiety. Additionally, having the benefit of a skilled pregnancy massage therapist can help you understand that the changes to your body are normal and to be expected. Improved sleep Sleep may be allusive in pregnancy. Right when you need a good night’s sleep for preparation for labour and a newborn, you may be tossing and turning all night. Massage can bring numerous sleep benefits. Bonding with baby Many pregnant women find that their pregnancy can feel like a rollercoaster. Juggling work, and perhaps other family commitments, can end up feeling like the pregnancy is simply happening and it’s difficult to connect it to the real baby you’re soon to meet. Pregnancy massage is a time to slow down and focus on yourself and that growing bundle of joy inside, helping you to bond before the birth. First stage of labour If you’re having a prolonged first stage, particularly likely with first babies, a pregnancy massage can help you to feel calmer, in control, and better able to cope with contractions. Sciatic and pelvic pain The hormones of pregnancy, combined with the increasing weight of the baby in the pelvic space, can in some women, cause sciatic pain, or pelvic pain. This can be particularly distressing and difficult to manage. Your masseuse can work carefully to ease the pains around your pelvic joints and into your buttocks and legs. Non-pregnancy problems If you suffer with other conditions during pregnancy, you may be very limited in terms of what you can do to alleviate symptoms e.g. hay fever, headaches or sinus pain. Massage can bring relief when nothing else can. Reduce ankle and feet swelling It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer with sore and swollen feet. The extra pressure from your uterus, plus increased blood, causes the swelling. Gentle upward massage strokes can alleviate this swelling. Pregnancy massage should always focus on your comfort and the baby’s safety and wellbeing, as well as maximising the pregnancy massage benefits. For this you need a trained professional massage therapist who listens to your needs and delivers the massage in the place you feel most relaxed. Book your pregnancy massage at home now.