To relieve common pains and discomforts experienced while pregnant, many women decide to get a prenatal or pregnancy massage. This type of massage is designed to alleviate some of the common aches and pains felt during pregnancy.
While a prenatal massage may seem similar to any traditional full body massage, certain modifications are made to this special type of massage to ensure the safety and comfort of an expecting mother and her baby.
In this blog, we’ll address some of the most common symptoms women experience while pregnant, how a prenatal massage may help relieve them, and how this particular form of massage differs from more traditional forms of massage therapy.
Common Symptoms During Pregnancy
Women are prone to experiencing a wide range of symptoms during pregnancy, and many of them result in common discomforts. While no two pregnant women experience the exact same pre-birthing pains, some common symptoms experienced during pregnancy include:
Back pain is a typical result of sleep interference, decreased function, and overall discomfort in pregnant women. During pregnancy, a woman’s body must work to accommodate her extra weight, causing postural and anatomic changes to her musculoskeletal system.
This alters her balance and pulls her center of gravity forward, causing pain usually localized to the lower back area. This pain also often radiates into the legs, buttocks, and legs. Around the fifth to seventh month of pregnancy, the pelvic joints also loosen in preparation for childbirth, causing further strain on the lower back.
Pelvic pain is a normal part of pregnancy as the uterus grows with the baby and expands to accommodate eventual childbirth. Women may experience varying degrees of pelvic pain since different women will have different amounts of laxity in their sacroiliac joints, which help connect the pelvis to the spine. Too much laxity in the ilium — the area of the pelvis that attaches to the sacroiliac joint — places stress on the surrounding tissues and causes pain.
Kinds of pelvic pain experienced during pregnancy can include stabbing, dull or burning sensations in the back of the pelvic region, pain that radiates into the legs, groin, or buttocks, and pain that mimics sciatica.
Swelling or edema in the hands, ankles, and feet is very common during pregnancy, especially after the 20th week and into the third trimester.
While pregnant, a woman’s body produces up to 50% extra blood and fluids. This helps soften her tissues and joints, allowing them to expand during pregnancy and prepare for childbirth.
Anxiety is a common pregnancy symptom, with an estimated 1 in 10 women experiencing it at some point throughout each trimester.
For some women, hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect their brain chemistry and bring forth symptoms of anxiety and depression. Anxiety is also a normal reaction to the various changes experienced by the female body during pregnancy. Some women may be jittery as first-time mothers, while others may worry about health complications and other concerns such as miscarriage or stillbirth.
How Prenatal Massage Can Help
A prenatal massage can help relieve a wide range of symptoms experienced by women during pregnancy, both physically and mentally.
As women experience postural shifts to accommodate their growing baby, massage therapy can target any tightened or overused muscles in the lower back and pelvic areas to help reduce pain or discomfort. It also increases blood flow, which helps release tension from the body.
Prenatal massage also promotes the stimulation of soft tissues and the movement of excess fluid around the body, which reduces swelling and prevents the formation of varicose veins.
Getting a massage during pregnancy is also an excellent way for women to boost their overall mood, reduce symptoms of stress, improve their sleep, and boost their immune function. Studies have shown that women who received routine massage sessions during pregnancy have reported massive decreases in stress hormone levels and lesser vulnerability to depression, anxiety, and even the likelihood of preterm delivery.
How Does Prenatal Massage Differ From a Regular Massage?
To ensure that a massage session is both safe and comfortable for pregnant women, prenatal massage involves some special modifications and customizations not observed in a regular massage session.
The biggest difference between a prenatal massage and a regular massage modality is the client’s position during the session. Instead of lying on their stomach, pregnant women are positioned onto their side and laid atop a specialized body pillow. This pillow will help support her lower back and keep her comfortable, all while providing the therapist with access to her back.
It’s also unsafe for a woman to lay flat on her back during a prenatal massage, which is why the body pillow will be there to position her in a semi-recline and help avoid any pressure from being placed on the vena cava. Additional pillows may also be provided under her knees for extra support.
Finally, for maximum safety, particular areas of her body will not be massaged. This includes the abdomen and common pressure points that may trigger contractions, such as the ankles.
Get $20 Off Your First Prenatal Massage Today
At Dcompress Downtown, our caring and passionate team welcomes all expecting mothers to our relaxing wellness center in downtown San Diego, CA. Now open on a limited basis, we are undergoing all COVID-19 safety measures to ensure the wellbeing of each of our clients.
Note that Dcompress Downtown offers San Diego locals $20 off their first massage, facial, or reiki session. Just sign up with your name, phone number, and email using the chat feature located at the bottom right-hand corner of the page to avail of the discount.
To book an appointment with our team, visit our website or call us at 619-940-7556. We look forward to welcoming you and your would-be little one at Dcompress.