Happy Mommy, Happy Baby!
The Benefits of Prenatal Massage
If you're a mother-to-be and researching Prenatal Massage, you've probably asked the question “is prenatal massage safe for my baby?” This is a question you should be asking, and as a practitioner of Prenatal Massage for many years, a receiver of Prenatal Massage, and a mother of two healthy girls, I can attest to the general safety and magic this service can add to your pregnancy. However, Prenatal Massage is not always recommended, if your having a high-risk pregnancy or any other complications you may want to check with your doctor before booking your appointment. For those looking to add this service to their routine, Prenatal Massage can:
Increase levels of the “feel good” hormones Serotonin and Dopamine
Decrease back, hip, and leg pain
Decrease levels of the stress hormone Norepinephrine
Decrease levels of Cortisol (an indicator of stress)
Dramatically improve your mood
Improve energy levels
As your baby grows you can expect many hormonal and physiologic changes to occur. Progesterone levels increase during pregnancy which cause a loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body. As baby grows, a woman's entire posture changes to accommodate (Ouch!). All of these factors can cause discomfort and stress. Disruption of regular sleep and elevated hormones cause your emotions to stir easily, compounding these challenges. Prenatal Massage can help relieve the emotional strain as well as the physical pain by combining calm relaxation with gentle therapeutic bodywork to sooth you and your baby. In other words, a happy mom makes a happy baby!
During a Prenatal Massage Therapy session you can expect some changes from your regular massage. This massage uses multiple cushions and bolsters to ensure that Mommy is comfortable in any position. Some practitioners have you lay on your sides, while others use cushions that allow you to lay face down. Mommy's position should be what she is most comfortable with. Every mom has her own preference, and you should never hesitate to let your Therapist know your preferences. All massage strokes should encourage circulation towards the heart and there should never be direct pressure applied to your lower legs or ankles.
Although most massage training institutions teach massage therapy for women who are pregnant, it is best to find a massage therapist who is certified in Prenatal Massage. As an educator I've had the pleasure of teaching others the best techniques for this type of massage, and it does take a more delicate and skilled hand to perform.
Your therapist should always ask you specific questions about your pregnancy and make sure all of your issues are addressed. If you are searching for something to enhance your experience and help you endure, Prenatal Massage is a great way to prepare, stay positive, and healthy throughout your pregnancy.