Prenatal massage shares many of the goals of regular massage – to relax tense muscles, ease sore spots, improve circulation and mobility, and just make you feel good. Massage therapy is a safe, healthy way to reduce stress and promote overall wellness. Prenatal massage can relieve back pain and improve sleep and mood, as well as decrease stress and reduce labor complications.
Massage relieves many of the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, stiff neck, leg cramps, headaches and edema (or swelling). In addition, massage for pregnant women reduces stress on weight-bearing joints, encourages blood and lymph circulation, helps to relax nervous tension -- which aids in better sleep -- and can help relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes.
The benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health for many pregnant women, and massage therapy is proven to improve pregnancy outcome and maternal health. As always, it is important to consult with your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any new therapeutic practice.
Prenatal sessions are tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies, and therapists who are trained in prenatal massage adjust their techniques accordingly. Prenatal massage is best given while you lie on your side propped up by pillows. Sideline positioning with supportive, soft cushions is used to alleviate the extra strain on the lower back and pelvic areas when the pressure of massage techniques are applied. Neck and shoulder massage, or lower leg and foot massage are also safe sitting-up options.