Pregnancy is a wondrous time, but all of those changes that happen when you are growing a new life can really take a toll on the body. When pain and discomfort strikes, most of us have a natural inclination to reach for common over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, but often times those medications are not safe during pregnancy. What’s a mom-to-be to do? That’s where pre-natal massage comes in.
Not just for pain, pre-natal massage actually has many positive benefits for pregnant women. Studies have shown that pre-natal massage can help to:
Reduce edema (swelling) in the legs and joints
Reduce nerve pain, particularly in the back, as a result of pressure on the sciatic nerve
Improve overall circulation and blood flow
Foster better sleep and relaxation
In most moms-to-be, pre-natal massage is safe during all three trimesters, but it is always recommended that you get the green light from your OB/GYN or family doctor before proceeding with pre-natal massage, especially during the first trimester. If you have an elevated risk of clotting or early labour, your doctor will probably advise against pre-natal massage. Other pre-existing conditions that may make you a less-than-optimal candidate for pre-natal massage may include:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Previous miscarriage or difficult pregnancy
Always ensure as well that you going to a qualified massage therapist who has specialized training in pre-natal massage. Your obstetrician can probably make a good recommendation for you, as pre-natal massage is becoming quite common among expectant moms.
In contrast to regular massage, which is typically performed with the patient on his or her stomach, for pre-natal massage Calgary moms will be asked to lay on their side, to accommodate their belly and reduce stress on the body. Because of the increased risk for blood clots in the legs during pregnancy, a pre-natal massage will typically not include deep tissue manipulation of the legs. Instead, the massage therapist will use light strokes and motions that are characteristic of the Swedish massage technique. Some therapists will avoid massaging in the belly region, but some practitioners believe that light strokes across the belly can also have a calming and soothing effect on your baby.
Aromatherapy often plays a part in therapeutic massage, including pre-natal massage. As anyone who has been pregnant knows, however, sometimes certain smells can be very overpowering and unpleasant in pregnancy, triggering nausea. Before your treatment, tell you massage therapist if there are any smells that you are currently having adverse reactions to, so these can be avoided. If you do not have any particular sensitivities to these scents, however, certain essential oils can add to the beneficial effects of the massage. These could include tea tree oil, mandarin oil, and/or lemon oil or a combination thereof.
Pre-natal massage can be a great way to get relief from pain, get better sleep, and simply to pamper yourself during your pregnancy. Again, always consult your doctor before making an appointment for a massage. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, consider scheduling regular appointments throughout your pregnancy to help manage your pain and improve your overall feeling of wellbeing.
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