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Research shows that massage can reduce stress hormones in your body and relax and loosen your muscles. It can also increase blood flow, which is so important when you're pregnant, and keep your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency, flushing out toxins from your body. It reconnects your mind with your body, a connection that's comforting if you sometimes wonder if there’s a baby in there or if an alien has taken up residence inside of you.
BENEFITS OF PRENATAL MASSAGE
During pregnancy, regular prenatal massages may not only help you relax, but may also relieve insomnia, joint pain, neck and back pain, leg cramping and sciatica. Additionally, it can reduce swelling in your hands and feet (as long as that swelling isn't a result of preeclampsia), relieve carpal tunnel pain, and alleviate headaches and sinus congestion — all common pregnancy problems. Massage may also lift depression without the use of medication, according to some scientific studies.
HOW IS PRENATAL MASSAGE DIFFERENT TO REGULAR MASSAGE?
Prenatal massages are adapted for the anatomical changes you go through during pregnancy. In a traditional massage, you might spend half the time lying face-down on your stomach (which is uncomfortable with a baby belly) and half the time facing up (a position that puts pressure on a major blood vessel that can disrupt blood flow to your baby and leave you feeling nauseous).
I use special cushioning systems or holes that allow you to lie face down safely, or you might lie on your side with the support of pillows and cushions.
And don’t expect deep tissue work on your legs during a prenatal massage. While gentle pressure is safe (and can feel heavenly!), pregnant women are particularly susceptible to blood clots, which deep massage work can dislodge. That, in turn, can be risky. On other body parts, the pressure can be firm and as deep or as gentle as you’d like. Always communicate with your therapist about what feels good — and if something starts to hurt.
WHEN CAN YOU GET A PRENATAL MASSAGE?
Maternal massages are generally considered safe after the first trimester, as long as get the green light from you practitioner and you let your massage therapist know you’re pregnant. You’ll want to avoid massage during the first three months of pregnancy as it may trigger dizziness and add to morning sickness.
WHAT TYPES OF HEALTH INSURANCE DO YOU ACCEPT?
Laya Healthcare and Irish Life
I am a member of the Association of Neuromuscular Physical Therapists (ANMPT).
If you are a member of Laya Healthcare or Irish Life; part of your treatment will be covered under your policy.