Prenatal massage is proven to benefit both the mother and the developing baby during pregnancy. Benefits include addressing hormonal imbalances and physical pain that is associated with pregnancy. Our prenatal massages involved deep bodywork that’s designed specifically to improve circulation, ease muscle and joint pain, relieve cramps, and re-energize the body. Below, our wellness team answers five of the most frequently asked questions about prenatal massage.
Prenatal Massage Relieves Backaches, Cramps and Pregnancy Pain
#1: What are the benefits of pregnancy massage?
Drug-free pain relief for backaches, hip pain, and cramps are one of the biggest benefits of pregnancy massage. Pregnancy also puts added pressure on the blood vessels, which can severely decrease the body’s circulation efficiency. Pregnancy massage promotes circulation by stimulating the movement of blood through the soft tissues and muscles. Increased circulation improves lymphatic drainage, which is also beneficial for reducing swelling in the hands and feet that’s caused by increased fluid buildup.
#2: How does prenatal massage affect stress hormones?
During pregnancy, it can feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride thanks to fluctuating hormone levels. Massage can help balance out these hormone levels for enhanced mind-body health. Pregnancy massage increases the body’s natural “feel-good” hormones (dopamine and serotonin) while lowering levels of stress hormones, like cortisol and norepinephrine. Higher levels of feel-good hormones are also associated with lower complications during birth.
#3: How often should I receive pregnancy massages?
Every woman and her pregnancy is unique. For massage therapy to play an integral role in prenatal care, we recommend bi-weekly massages during the second and third trimesters. If your pregnancy has brought a lot of backaches, cramps, hip pain, sharp leg pain or difficulty sleeping at night, then more frequent or longer massages may be beneficial. Our massage therapist works closely with each patient to create the right prenatal massage plan to meet your needs.
#4: What should I expect during my prenatal massage?
We use a special prenatal massage table and pillows that are designed to safely support your body so you are comfortable throughout the process. Starting with the second trimester, women should not lie on their backs during the massage; doing so can lead to reduced circulation in the placenta. Instead, our massage therapist will help you lie comfortably on your side or semi-reclined and position supportive pillows, as needed. Our goal is to place no pressure on the abdomen so the spine and surrounding muscles achieve a state of full relaxation. Most massage therapy sessions are either 60 or 90 minutes, although we can tailor treatment session length to meet your specific health needs.
#5: I heard that there are acupressure points in the feet that can trigger contractions; is it safe to get a foot massage?
Yes, there are some pressure points along the feet and ankles that when aggressively massaged may stimulate contractions. In general, however, it is completely safe to massage the feet. They’re swollen and tired and definitely deserve hands-on pain relief!
Contact Atlantic Chiropractic and Rehab at (757) 547-4325 to schedule an appointment with our Chesapeake chiropractor, Dr. Eric Santjer.