I booked in for a massage with Rachel when I was 37 weeks pregnant. I was in desperate need of some relaxation, not to mention some care and attention on my ankles and feet, which had swollen to the size of an elephant’s feet! Rachel used the holo-lilo for my massage (you lay on your front and your bump pokes through the hole). It felt really strange at first laying on my front, when I’d spent the previous 8 months avoiding pressure and being so protective of my tummy area, but once I had relaxed into it the massage was great. I really recommend this treatment for any mum-to-be…you never know when you’ll get time to pamper yourself again – thank you Rachel.
You may think of massage as a luxury to indulge in on occasion. But one of the most beneficial times for massage may be during pregnancy.
Benefits of a Pregnancy Massage
- Reduces swelling in hands, feet and ankles
- Lessens sciatic pain
- Eases muscular discomforts in areas like the low back, neck, calves
- Helps with relaxation which in turn can promote better sleep
- Helps relieve anxiety
- Helps increase blood circulation which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the baby
At The Therapy Room, we use the fabulous Holo-lilo. This cleverly designed lilo enables you to lie on your front during the massage.
Specially adapted massage techniques
Pregnancy massage uses adapted techniques to address the changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy.
For instance, blood volume increases dramatically – as much as 50% -during pregnancy. Blood flow to the legs often becomes sluggish. And the levels of anticoagulants in the blood, designed to prevent hemorrhaging during delivery, naturally rise.
These circulatory changes put a pregnant woman at risk of blood clots in the lower legs, typically in the calves or inner thigh. To be safe, a pregnancy massage should avoid deep massage and strong pressure on the legs.
Using strong pressure could dislodge a blood clot. Instead, a very light, slow stroke is used on the legs.
Things to check before you have a pregnancy massage
You should avoid a pregnancy massage if you are diagnosed with, or have a history of, high risk pregnancy, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism unless massage is specified with your doctor or midwife.
Pregnancy can induce certain conditions such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and hypertension. In these cases, you should check with your doctor or midwife first.
Whilst there is no evidence linking massage to miscarriage, the first 3 months of pregnancy is the time where your body is still adjusting so it is advisable to not have a massage during the first 12 weeks.