MASSAGE DURING PREGNANCY - ALLOWED?
To all expectant mothers a big sigh of relief: yes, a massage during pregnancy is basically allowed. With good and professionally performed massages, it can be quite relaxing for the pregnant woman and also beneficial for the body. For this reason, if the pregnant woman agrees to a massage and the pregnancy went without hesitation, massages are usually quite harmless. We at Origin Massage Zurich also offer massages for pregnant women.
Meanwhile, some massage studios have even specialized in pregnant women and offer special massage programs. Even some wellness temples or well-known spas have adapted to the needs of expectant mothers – if you are interested, it is best to inform yourself in advance and make an appointment.
WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED DURING A PREGNANCY MASSAGE?
Despite everything, you are just in an exceptional situation and should therefore also consider a few little things when it comes to massages for pregnant women:
- There are certain risk factors that speak against a massage for pregnant women. On the one hand, these are complications that already occurred during (early) pregnancy. These can be premature labor or if the placenta of the pregnant woman is directly at or just above the cervix. Also, in the case of so-called cervical insufficiency, this is a weakness of the uterus or cervix, you should not have a massage under any circumstances. A general advice: before undergoing a massage, consult with the gynecologist in charge and preferably have it re-examined by him.
- It is imperative that the massage is performed taking into account the stage of pregnancy. This means that in early pregnancy up to the first trimester, massage must be performed differently than in the 39th week of pregnancy.Especially the pelvic and abdominal area should be massaged with caution towards the end of pregnancy. For example, the sacrum-pelvis area is much looser towards the end of pregnancy. This has to do with the fact that the body is already hormonally preparing for the upcoming pregnancy and thus the area is much looser. Incorrect application here can lead to tension, which is not beneficial for either mother or child for delivery.
- During leg massages, attention must be paid to the formation of varicose veins. In this case, great care must be taken during the massage: massage the legs only with gentle stroking movements and in no case apply a lot of pressure and force on this part of the body.
- Be careful with certain aromatized massage oils. Especially essential oils often contain a strong effect, which is due to the substances they contain. These can trigger premature labor or even cause nausea in the expectant mother due to the heightened sense of smell.Therefore, before using certain oils, talk to an expert (aromatherapist, midwife or gynecologist). Natural oils such as almond oil, olive oil or grape seed oil are safe.
WHAT CAN PREGNANCY MASSAGE DO?
If, after consulting your gynecologist, you have considered a massage, it may well have a relaxing and loosening effect. On the one hand, tension can be relieved by stimulating blood flow to the connective tissue and muscles through massage. Especially in early pregnancy, a massage can also have a positive effect if you are struggling with nausea. In addition, a massage stimulates the circulation and promotes the general circulation of the cardiovascular system.
Many pregnant women are also familiar with the problem of water retention. In medical usage, these are referred to as edema. Thick legs and feet, as well as swollen hands are usually the consequences of water retention. At the end of pregnancy, it is not uncommon for the additional water retention to amount to up to three kilos. For this reason, it is precisely then that a massage can be a boon for the expectant mother and dissolve the water even before pregnancy.
WHICH PARTS OF THE BODY ARE SUITABLE FOR A PREGNANCY MASSAGE?
A relaxed shoulder area facilitates breathing during pregnancy. Breathing is an important part of childbirth, as it ensures the supply of oxygen to both mother and baby. So, the birthing partner can create a de-stressing effect by applying gentle pressure to the pregnant woman’s shoulders and then gently stroking out to the elbows.
If labor begins, it is noticeable in the lower back. Especially in the early stages of labor, the partner can stroke down the side of the spine to provide relaxation. Many pregnant women find massaging around the area at the lumbar vertebrae very pleasant and relaxing during labor. The dimples on the lower back can also be massaged with thumbs and a little more pressure later in labor.
Many pregnant women are given an epidural, an anesthetic to the lower half of the body. For this reason, a back massage is not likely to relieve tension. Therefore, these pregnant women find a hand massage pleasant. The massaging partner strokes from the wrist to the fingertips. First on the outer palm and then in the inner palm.
A foot massage, especially a foot reflexology massage, is usually very beneficial for expectant mothers. A reflexology massage is about relieving pain. In addition, it stimulates the uterus, causes the opening of the cervix and a dilation of the cervix.
SUITABLE POSITIONS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN DURING MASSAGE
The main thing is that the position is comfortable for the expectant mother and the child in the womb. If this is the case, prnzipzeptiell all positions, as with non-pregnant women, are possible. The quadruped position is the most suitable, the side position or even in a sitting position can be massaged well for pregnant women.
Theoretically, the prone position is also possible, but usually rather in the early months. In the last months, however, the side position is usually the most comfortable for mother and child. It is very important to avoid the so-called “vena cava syndrome” in the supine position. This syndrome describes the position in which the uterus exerts pressure on blood vessels in the abdominal cavity. This subsequently leads to a backflow of blood to the heart and can have consequences for mother and child.
First and foremost, pay attention to what position is comfortable for you as an expectant mother and then confidently tell the masseur what pressure and movements should be applied. After all, it’s all about you, your well-being and health, not to mention that of the child in your belly. Therefore, a professional massage before childbirth should be provided only by masseurs with appropriate training.
In fact, masseurs must know the anatomy and phsiology, which is changed during pregnancy, and observe them when massaging. Perinatal massage is a relatively new form of massage, but it is used by professional masseurs specialized in pregnancy.
In Germany now only gradually in Gebracu, is the special form of massage in the U.S. already since the 80s in use. In order to be able to practice this as a masseur, further training in special institutes is necessary.
A FORM OF MASSAGE TECHNIQUE: SHIATSU MASSAGE
As this is a very gentle and pain-relieving form of massage, it is suitable for expectant mothers. The massage has its origin in the traditional Chinese medicine and its meridian or energy theory. Meridians are the energy pathways of the body, along which the massage will also take place.
The masseur traces the body along these guidelines and thus recognizes weak points and energetic imbalances with the help of sensitive fingers. This is to positively influence the energy flow of the body. Symptoms caused by the imbalances, such as sleep disorders, headaches or tension, are supposed to be alleviated.
Pregnant women can also perform this technique in self-treatment, once they have enjoyed Shiatsu massage. Best suited in a sitting position, body parts such as the back can be reached with the help of mats and seat cushions.
In addition to the shiatsu method, there are other massage techniques that the pregnant woman can use to massage herself and the baby.
- Plucking massage: spread some cream or natural oil on the skin of the belly area. Then repeatedly touch a small area of skin with two fingers and pluck it out until the skin slips out of your fingers. In this way, you can “massage” the entire abdominal area and stimulate blood circulation with it.In the last few weeks, it is usually not so easy to touch the belly, because the skin cover is already very tight. Then simply massage the abdomen again with some cream or oil on your hand in a clockwise direction using small, slow circular movements. Be careful not to press the abdominal wall too hard.
- Breast massage: rub some oil or cream in your hands and massage each breast using your fingertips and light, gentle movements. Avoid the nipples and areola so as not to induce premature labor.The gentle movements can ease feelings of tension and stimulate the tissues to produce milk.
- Massage for buttocks, hips and thighs: Regular care and light massage movements are good against stretch marks in addition to having a relaxing effect. You can massage the buttocks with a bit more force and pressure, as most of the tissue here consists of fat. Here, too, circular movements from top to bottom stimulate the blood circulation, ensure relaxation and strengthen the body sensation.To address the deeper tissue layers as well, feel free to use your knuckles instead of the flat of your hand. This further enhances the massage effect. The areas between the hips and legs, as well as the thighs themselves, can also be massaged with circular movements and a little more pressure than the abdominal area.
BENEFITS AND EFFECT OF MASSAGE IN PREGNANCY
Finally, the benefits and effects of a pregnancy massage, considering the risk factors, briefly summarized once again:
- reinforces a positive body feeling for the expectant mother
- soothing, relaxing and pain relieving
- promotes breathing during childbirth and milk production after childbirth
- stimulates blood circulation and lymph flow
- a relaxed mother-child relationship can develop even before birth
- the immune system is strengthened, the mind experiences relaxation and the self-healing powers are activated
- Muscles, fasciae and joints are kept soft and relaxed by gentle circular movements of the massage.
- You do something for yourself and are perceived with yourself and your needs