Pregnancy Massage is good for:
- Relaxation – helping both mother and baby
- Alleviation of discomfort, e.g. back aches and swelling
- Improving circulation of blood, lymph, oxygen and nutrients. This can also mean improved digestion, which can get sluggish during pregnancy
- Assisting the respiratory system: lung capacity decreases during pregnancy due to the growing uterus putting pressure on the diaphragm. Some ease can be brought by massaging the muscles involved in respiration such as the pectorals and intercostals, and the general relaxing effects of massage
- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (with doctor’s permission): massage can help to alleviate back, hip and gluteal pain caused by the pelvis joints moving against each other due to ligaments becoming overly relaxed
PREGNANCY MASSAGE Techniques
This is a very soothing and calm adaptation of massage techniques to suit the various stages of pregnancy after the first trimester. The mother lies on her side, supported by pillows, as this is a safe position. Deep tissue techniques towards the end of a pregnancy can also be applied to areas of tension if that is what the client prefers, although some areas are to be avoided. Some areas are not massaged in much depth, e.g. the lower back, as the ligaments become looser during pregnancy, and we do not want to encourage that further with massage. I do not massage the abdomen for the same reason, as well as the fact that many women do not like other people touching that area anyway. I often find women are more sensitive to touch (or simply just very appreciative!) during pregnancy, so mild-medium pressure is often sufficient.
I usually start on the back and neck, then work a little on the gluteal muscles and hips, then legs and feet if desired, and then arms and hands, with the client changing sides in the middle of the treatment, and then I can finish with the head if desired.
PREGNANCY MASSAGE and Contraindications
Contraindications (when the treatment is not advised / or when necessary to proceed with caution):
- Preeclampsia (partial failure of blood supply to the placenta)
- Liver disorders
- History of miscarriage – seek doctor’s permission
- Heart conditions and circulatory issues such as varicose veins, or signs of blood clotting related issues such as venus thrombi
- Diabetes – seek doctor’s permission