Pregnancy massage is quite different from the regular massage as it serves a different purpose. Unlike the regular massage that is meant for general relaxation and stress relief, pregnancy massage focuses on addressing common discomforts that affect women who are carrying a new life. So let’s explore the key differences between regular and pregnancy massage.
Key Differences In Pregnancy Massage
- Body is positioned sideways during a massage
- Less pressure is applied during pregnancy massage
- Focus areas of the massage are mostly lower back, legs and feet
- Use of more gentle techniques and movements
- Some areas of the body are avoided during a pregnancy massage
Positioning of the Body
One of the primary differences between regular and pregnancy massage is the positioning of the body during the massage. In regular massage, the client is typically asked to lie face down on the massage table, with their head in a face cradle. In pregnancy massage, however, pregnant women are positioned on their sides, either with a special pregnancy pillow or with bolsters and blankets to support their bodies. Following medical guidelines, pregnant women are advised to avoid lying flat on their backs for extended periods of time, especially after the first trimester. Because this can put pressure on the vena cava, a large vein that carries blood from the lower body to the heart, pregnancy massage can only be done when the client is lying sideways.
Another key difference between regular and pregnancy massage is that in pregnancy massage, the pressure is typically lighter than in regular massage. This is because pregnant women’s bodies are more sensitive and their muscles and joints are more relaxed due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. If you are used to experiencing drastic changes in pressure, from light to deep in regular massage, then pregnancy massage may seem very different to you. Additionally, deep pressure can be risky during pregnancy, as it can potentially stimulate the uterus and cause contractions. Rest assured, our specialists are trained to provide you with the most effective yet safe way to relax.
Focus of the Massage
Pregnancy massage is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of pregnant women. With the health and wellbeing of a pregnant woman in mind, the focus areas of massage are those areas that cause the most discomfort. For example as the weight of the baby increases, the mother may experience lower back strain. To address this, pregnancy massage may include unique movements to help alleviate some of this tension. Another focus area is the legs and feet, which can become swollen and uncomfortable due to increased fluid retention.
The techniques used during regular massage and pregnancy massage are also different. In regular massage, a range of techniques may be used such as long strokes, kneading, and pressure on specific points of the body to help release tension. In pregnancy massage, the techniques used are typically gentler and more focused on relieving the specific discomforts of pregnancy. Our therapists will use gentle rocking motions and incorporate gentle stretches and circular movements to release tension in the lower back. To alleviate the increased fluid retention in legs and feet your massage may include techniques such as lymphatic drainage massage and foot reflexology.
Areas Of The Body That Are Avoided During Pregnancy Massage
To ensure your and your baby’s safety during massage we recommend that you only book a specialist who is educated and trained in pregnancy massage techniques. Some areas of the body are being avoided during pregnancy massage and it is important that you know why.
The abdomen is generally avoided during pregnancy massage, especially in the first trimester. This is because massaging the abdomen can cause contractions in the uterus, which can be dangerous for the developing fetus. In later trimesters, some light pressure on the abdomen may be used, but only with caution and your consent.
As mentioned previously one of the focus areas in pregnancy massage is the lower back however it has to be massaged with an extra caution. Deep pressure or kneading on the lower back can be dangerous. This is because the lumbar spine can be compressed during pregnancy, and applying pressure can worsen the condition. Instead, gentle massage techniques such as effleurage (repeated circular stroking movement ) can be used to provide relief.
Not only it becomes more uncomfortable to lay on your back to reach the inner tights as the pregnancy progresses, massaging this area can stimulate the uterus and cause contractions. For this reason this area is avoided during pregnancy massage.
While foot massage may be incorporated into your pregnancy massage experience, some reflexology points on the feet are associated with contractions and labor induction. Therefore, deep or vigorous foot massage should be avoided during pregnancy.
Unless the massage therapist is trained in prenatal acupuncture, the usual acupuncture points for relieving pain and tension should be avoided. Because some of these points can stimulate the uterus and cause contractions they are considered as contraindicated for pregnancy massage.
Is it recommended to have a massage while you’re pregnant?
Yes, it is recommended that you enjoy a massage among many other relaxation techniques during pregnancy as long as your healthcare professional has not advised you otherwise. Overall, pregnancy massage offers a safe and effective way to support your health and well-being and has many benefits
Physical benefits of a pregnancy massage include
reduced headaches, back and joint pain, decreased edema (associated swelling, especially in the legs and feet), improved circulation and oxygenation of the muscles and soft tissues.
Some of the mental benefits
of the prenatal or pregnancy massage include reduced stress, anxiety and fatigue, increased oxytocin levels (mood enhancing hormones) and improved sleep quality.
Get in touch to book a massage therapy session with one of our experts that are trained to provide you with the safest and best quality service so you can completely relax and enjoy the experience! Please note it is very important that you communicate any discomfort or concerns during the massage, so that the therapist can adjust the treatment accordingly. Your needs and feedback are of the utmost importance to us, especially at this wonderful time of your life.