A prenatal massage can make a wonderful gift for an expecting mother. Growing and carrying a baby is no easy task. For nine months, a mother will experience many changes in her body that can lead to aches and pains. From increased pressure and weight to loosening joints, a pregnant woman's body is constantly under strain. This is why a relaxing and refreshing prenatal massage can be such an enjoyable experience.
A prenatal massage simply means that the message is being given to someone who is pregnant. The designation is important because some conventional massage techniques are not recommended for expecting individuals. The art of prenatal massage dates back thousands of years. It continues to be popular today, often a favorite gift at a mother-to-be's baby shower!
As mentioned, some conventional massage techniques cannot be used on pregnant women. This is the primary difference between a regular massage and a prenatal massage.
To start, an expecting mother shouldn't (and often cannot) lie flat on their stomach. Instead, they will be asked to lay on their side or their back, occasionally switching positions. Bolsters and pillows can help support their growing belly and other areas that need to be cushioned.
Different lotions and oils may be used on a mother-to-be. In some cases, pregnancy can make a woman's sense of smell more acute. It can also affect the stomach and digestive system. These two factors combined can make a pregnant individual more susceptible to nausea from certain smells. Additionally, some natural products, like herbs or spices, which can be found in oils, are not recommended for pregnancy.
During the massage, the techniques used will differ from a conventional massage session. Swedish massage is still the most popular, consisting of long, gentle strokes, but the pressure applied will be much lighter. More aggressive massage techniques, especially those focusing on pressure points or deep tissue, are generally avoided as they could harm the mother or the baby.
A prenatal massage therapist is typically educated on which areas of an expecting woman's body require the most attention. The low back is often addressed, as the forward pull of a mother's growing belly can strain the muscles. Feet, ankles, and lower legs are other areas of concern due to increased weight and swelling.
Many women seek out a prenatal massage during the end of their second trimester or the beginning of their third trimester. It is important to note that prenatal massage is never recommended for the first trimester. Additionally, expecting mums should always seek their doctor's approval before getting a prenatal massage. The third trimester is the most popular time for a prenatal massage because, by that point, a mother tends to truly be feeling the discomfort of carrying a quickly growing baby.
A prenatal massage is incredibly relaxing while also offering a host of benefits, such as:
• Improved circulation
• Reduced swelling
• General pain relief
• Tension relief
• Increased energy
• Relief from sciatica
If you're expecting, treat yourself to a prenatal massage!