From the moment a woman becomes pregnant, her body goes through a series of constant changes. From shifting pelvic bones, and a growing bump, to swollen ankles, and an overwhelming sense of smell. Each day her body does twice the work both inside and out.
Considering all of these factors, massage can be a really important part of prenatal care.
How often should you have a pregnancy massage?
As a general rule of thumb, prenatal massage can benefit you throughout your pregnancy with monthly appointments until around 27 weeks, then twice monthly appointments from around 27 weeks to 36 weeks, and weekly appointments from 36 weeks until you give birth.
It may seem obvious but the more frequent the massage, the better you will feel, and will hopefully have both more energy and agility to enjoy your pregnancy.
From 37 weeks, a pregnancy is considered full term. At this milestone your prenatal massage therapist can begin working labour stimulation points into your massage session to gradually prepare you and your baby for the big day.
At what stage of pregnancy can you have a prenatal massage?
Pregnant women can begin prenatal massage therapy at any stage of their pregnancy, whether they are in the first, second, or third trimester. Some prenatal massage therapists will not massage women in their first trimester, however, due to its negative, but unfounded, relation to miscarrige.
At Katie Bell Physiotherapy and Wellness, we support all women throughout pregnancy with our Prenatal Massage service, within the recommendations of your pregnancy consultant. If you are unsure about anything, please check with your consultant before booking.
Benefits of pregnancy massage
Prenatal massage isn’t necessary, but it does have a range of benefits, especially in the weeks leading up to birth. Just as your midwife and doctor want to care for you throughout your pregnancy, your massage therapist will want to keep your changing body in physical and mental alignment.
Prenatal massage, and massage therapy in general, allows hormones, specifically the stress hormone Cortisol, to balance out. Stress can have a negative impact on you and your baby during pregnancy, affecting your sleep cycle, eating habits, and exercise routine, as well as having the ability to change your brain chemistry. Regular prenatal massages can help to keep your stress levels at bay, resulting in a happy mother, and a happy baby.
Rest and relaxation
As the end of the pregnancy approaches, it can become difficult to feel comfortable in your own skin, and perform most of your daily activities. The ‘pregnancy waddle’ sets in and everything can feel a bit laboured.
Prenatal massages can help you to relax and unwind during this time, making everything seem just a little bit easier, and far less stressful.
Preparing to meet your baby
It is strongly recommended to make your massage appointments more regular in the later weeks of your pregnancy to help get you through to the most exciting milestone of all and the main event- meeting your baby.
Prenatal massages from week 36 help you and your body prepare for the physical stress of childbirth, and can also help you to simply relax and unwind before the real work begins.
What does pregnancy massage include?
Prenatal massages differ from regular massages, and simply having a regular massage whilst pregnant does not make it a prenatal massage. Some of the main differences between a regular massage and a prenatal massage include:
- In prenatal massages, you will likely be asked to lay on your side, opposed to laying on your stomach as this reduces unnecessary pressure on the stomach and doesn’t disturb blood flow to the baby
- Prenatal massage techniques are different to that of regular massages. Deep tissue massage is not given to pregnant women, as there is potential for blood clots to occur as a result.
What to expect
When you walk into your massage therapy room, you’ll likely be greeted by dim lights and a tranquil environment. Your prenatal massage therapist may begin with you laying in a semi-reclined position on your back to allow them to work on your neck, shoulders, and head, before asking you to lay on your side supported by pillows. In this position, your prenatal massage therapist will massage your back, neck, shoulders,
At Katie Bell Physiotherapy and Wellness, we also offer postpartum massages to help your body recover from the physical stress and trauma of pregnancy and childbirth. Your body has been through huge changes over just 9 months; don’t underestimate what you and your body have been through.
Postpartum massage can be incredibly beneficial for both physical and mental recovery. It promotes relaxation, can reduce anxiety, and increases the level of Oxytocin (a feel good hormone) in the system.
Prenatal massage in Sheffield
Katie Bell Physiotherapy and Wellness offers a range of Women’s Health services in Sheffield, including pregnancy massages, and postpartum massages. Get in touch with our friendly team of Women’s Health experts today to learn more, or to book an appointment.