Pregnancy is a special time for many women, and massage can be a great way to relax and improve circulation. While massage is generally considered safe during pregnancy, there are some risks that should be taken into consideration. The first trimester carries a higher risk of spontaneous abortion, and some therapists are concerned that increased blood flow during a massage could be harmful. Second, there are pressure points in the body that are thought to initiate contractions or that can induce labor.
The best position to get a massage during pregnancy is to lie on your side, rather than your stomach. Some massage tables have a cut for the abdomen, allowing you to lie on your stomach comfortably. Tell your massage therapist that you are pregnant if you haven't already shown up. Many health spas offer special prenatal massages by therapists trained to treat pregnant women.
Some massage therapists are taught to avoid massaging a pregnant client during the first trimester because it is thought to be dangerous. It is thought that the massage could be detrimental to the baby's development, it is feared that it could damage the placenta, or that women who experience fatigue, nausea, or ambivalence about their pregnancy will find the massage uncomfortable in some way. There is no research to indicate that the massage caused toxic overload in a pregnant person and, therefore, a spontaneous abortion. Therapists know that massage can stimulate circulation and help remove metabolic waste from the circulatory system.
While it's okay, it's even recommended that you get a massage during pregnancy, there are some parts of the body that you should avoid massaging, especially if you're doing it on your own or if you ask someone who isn't qualified to give you a prenatal massage. In general, massage during the first trimester can help reduce anxiety and help a woman relax, spend time processing the fact that she is pregnant, and offer a wonderful way to start her new pregnancy. However, you should avoid massages during the first three months of pregnancy, as they can cause dizziness and increase morning sickness. There are acupressure points on the lower legs and feet that are contraindicated for acupressure and acupuncture, but general massage in these areas of the acupressure points will not stimulate them in a similar way.
Getting massages regularly during pregnancy can have positive effects on the health of both mother and child. Massage tends to reduce stress, depression and back pain, as well as to improve overall health by increasing immune responses. It's best to avoid massaging your abdomen completely, unless you feel that your body can fully support it and your doctor gives you the okay. If you're in the second half of pregnancy (after the fourth month), don't lie on your back during the massage; the weight of the baby and uterus can compress blood vessels and reduce circulation to the placenta, creating more problems than any massage can cure. Some areas that you might want to avoid or at least not exert as much pressure when massaging are the abdomen, breasts, and certain pressure points. Prenatal massages are generally considered safe after the first trimester, as long as you get the green light from your doctor and tell your massage therapist that you're pregnant.
From a quick shoulder massage to a full body massage, a massage never fails to help you relax and make your day a little better. You should also avoid lying on your back or stomach while receiving the massage, and you'll probably opt for a lighter touch (rather than deep tissue).