It can be difficult to maintain balance during pregnancy. It seems like if it’s not your hormones, it’s your ligaments. Massage therapy is a safe and effective addition to your prenatal care that can help you to maintain posture as well as hormone and fluid levels in the body. It can also help to keep your organs functioning better as they react to the body changes through pregnancy. Research has also shown that massage therapy can provide the added benefit of shorter, more productive labors and speedier recovery time for the postpartum period. Massage therapy can be a wonderful compliment to a healthy pregnancy. If you have any questions about whether massage during pregnancy is appropriate for you, ask your birth care provider.
Massage Through Your Pregnancy
While there are massage therapists that prefer to not work during the 1st trimester, there is no evidence to support that it should be avoided. But even with that caveat many women may not want to have massage performed during this time. Frequent urination, morning sickness, breast tenderness and dizziness may make a full hour session uncomfortable. Your therapist can work with you to create a shorter session designed for stress and fatigue relief. Massage in the first trimester may also allow you a time to focus on yourself at the start of this new journey.
Massage during the second trimester is like “preventative maintenance” for what is to come. Many women comment that the second trimester is the most comfortable time of the whole pregnancy. Your morning sickness is probably over, but your body is just beginning to shift and grow. You may also experience a boost in energy levels. Massage during the second trimester can help to encourage deeper breathing and help alleviate back pain. This is also a time to encourage body awareness as your body grows and changes with your baby.
During the third trimester, massage will help to prepare your body for labor. It will help alleviate the pain caused by joint separation or ligament pain. You may find that your stress levels rise during the third trimester as it finally sinks in that you will have the baby and soon. Massage can help you relax and, as in the first trimester, give you time to focus on just yourself.
While you will not be feeling up for getting a full body massage during labor, massage is an excellent comfort measure to be used during early and active labor. In addition to traditional Swedish-style massage techniques, acupressure points located on the body can be used to provide pain relief and labor stimulation. If you have a doula, they will most likely perform some sort of labor massage to help with pain management and stress. If you do not have a doula taking a series of childbirth education classes and/or a workshop in labor massage for couples can be very beneficial for you and your partner to prepare for labor.