Pregnancy can invite a whirlwind of feelings, from joy and anticipation to anxiety and discomfort. In the midst of physical and emotional changes, expecting mothers can find solace in natural practices like prenatal massage. Massage is widely looked up to ease general aches and pains, but certain types of massage—like prenatal applications—may offer other benefits to the mother and her growing baby.
Here’s what you should know about getting a prenatal massage—it’s not your average massage, and the differences matter.
What Is Prenatal Massage?
Prenatal massage is similar to a regular massage, but it’s tailored to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies. During pregnancy, your center of gravity changes, which may increase stress on your shoulders, neck, and lower back. Your ligaments become more relaxed, which may change your posture and cause your pelvic joints to become less stable. You’re carrying extra weight, which can cause back pain.
Because of these unique challenges, prenatal massage uses different massage techniques compared to other types of massage. Gentle strokes, kneading, deep tissue techniques, and myofascial release are common techniques that target problem areas. The relaxing environment can also offer emotional support for pregnant women as they combat changes in hormones and emotions.
So much is off-limits when you're pregnant. Rest assured that prenatal massage is one thing you CAN indulge in!
What Does Prenatal Massage Consist Of?
Massage therapists should be trained in prenatal massage to offer this service. It involves specific techniques that address the unique discomforts and body changes that occur during pregnancy. These techniques and considerations include:
● Proper positioning. Pregnant people are often unable to lie on their backs, so they’ll use special bolsters and cushions for support.
● Special techniques. Myofascial release, kneading, and structural deep tissue alleviate muscle tension and relieve back pain. Gentle strokes on the legs and puffy areas reduce swelling and leg cramps.
● Aromatherapy. Safe essential oils help to create a soothing ambiance, but certain oils like cinnamon, clove, and clary sage are to be avoided.
Prenatal massage is unique and doesn’t follow standard massage rules, so it’s essential to work with a trusted professional. Massages at rebirth are done with certified massage therapists who specialize in prenatal. Each massage is customized, tailored to your needs.
Is Prenatal Massage Safe?
If you have a high-risk pregnancy or complications, it is always best to ask your doctor or midwife for clearance first. Prenatal massage is generally safe, as long as you adhere to certain rules. First and foremost, prenatal massage should be performed by someone specialized in this practice. When performed correctly, prenatal massage should pose no risk to the mother or baby at any stage of pregnancy. Prenatal massage has been proven to help reduce swelling, improve sleep, reduce stress, and alleviate pain and leg cramps!
However, there are certain individuals who should not get a prenatal massage, including those who:
● Have a blood clot
● Have a bone fracture
● Have a skin injury that could be worsened by rubbing
● Have an allergic reaction to essential oils
● Have been told by your OB/GYN not to have a prenatal massage
The myth that getting a prenatal massage in your first trimester raises your risk of miscarriage has also been debunked. There is no evidence to support this idea; however, you can consult with your physician on when the best time is to get a prenatal massage.
Where Can I Get a Prenatal Massage?
Not all licensed massage therapists can offer prenatal massage. Choosing a wellness center that specializes in women’s health, fertility, and prenatal and post-partum services gives you access to qualified professionals who can ensure your comfort and safety.
If you are in the San Diego area, come give us a try! You will not regret it! We have held the #1 spot on Yelp for 'best prenatal massage in San Diego' for the past seven years!
In What Trimester Can I Get a Prenatal Massage?
Women can receive a prenatal massage at any stage of their pregnancy. Some facilities may recommend waiting until the second trimester because there remains a stigma associated with massage and an increased risk of miscarriage in the first trimester. Because of this, there is a higher liability for an establishment to offer this massage during this time, although it is greatly beneficial. For this reason, we do ask our clients who are in their first trimester to have a doctor's note.
What Happens in a Prenatal Massage?
Prenatal massage begins like other types of massage. The therapist will create a welcoming, safe environment where expecting mothers can relax. Support cushions and bolsters will also be provided for you to lie in a comfortable position.
The massage therapist will ask about your specific problem areas and tailor their techniques to target those areas while promoting relaxation to other parts of the body. Prenatal massage is as much about addressing the discomforts of pregnancy as it is about nurturing the mother and unborn child.
What Do You Wear During a Prenatal Massage?
As with other types of massage, you can receive a prenatal massage wearing as much or as little clothing as you’re comfortable with. We use towels or sheets to cover the areas we’re not actively working on, but your decision regarding what to wear for your massage is a personal one.
What Is This Pain in My Butt and Leg?
If you’re feeling pain in your butt and leg during pregnancy, it’s likely caused by sciatica—where the sciatic nerve is being compressed by a tight piriformis muscle.
Prenatal massage promotes better blood circulation and reduces inflammation in this area, while releasing tension in your glutes and more specifically the piriformis muscle, which can relieve sciatica. Massage also releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Massage can minimize discomfort and leave you feeling relaxed while reducing nerve compression caused by sciatica.
What Position Are You In for a Prenatal Massage?
Unlike some massages where you lie on your back or belly, prenatal massage is usually conducted while you lie on your side. Depending on the individual, you might also use a face-down cushion we offer here at Rebirth. If you'd like to try the face-down cushion during your prenatal massage, please write it in the notes section of your intake before arriving.
Will My Belly Be Touched During a Prenatal Massage?
No, there is no contact with your belly during a prenatal massage. Also, if there are any other areas you would prefer to avoid, our massage therapists will respect your boundaries. We ask all clients to fill out our pregnancy massage intake prior to their appointment. The intake will have specific areas for you to fill out your preferences of places to focus on, areas to avoid, and preference of pressure for your prenatal massage. Please fill out your intake online via the email link at least 12 hours before your appointment time.
What Are the Benefits of a Prenatal Massage?
Prenatal massage affects your total health—mind, body, and emotions. Some of the benefits of prenatal massage to you and your baby include:
● Alleviated physical pain and discomfort
● Reduced muscle tension
● Natural pain relief without medication
● Released oxytocin for feelings of well-being and happiness
● Lower anxiety
● Mother/baby bonding through touch therapy
● Improved mood
● Potentially reduced labor pain
● Better sleep
● Decreased symptoms of depression
● Better circulation
● Less swelling
● Relief from headaches
● Less muscle cramping in the legs
● Reduced joint pain
● Time to relax and disconnect from the world
When you’re feeling your best, you can take better care of yourself and your growing little one. There’s no end to the benefits of prenatal massage—especially if you receive more than one during your pregnancy.
Can You Have a Deep Tissue Massage During Pregnancy?
You can get a deep tissue massage during pregnancy, but it should be performed by a certified therapist who specializes in prenatal. Certain areas of the body need deep tissue techniques to relieve pain. Some areas, like the ankles, should be avoided, while areas like the legs should receive only light pressure.
How Much Does a Prenatal Massage Cost?
Prenatal massage therapy can vary in price, depending on the length of the session. Rebirth Maya Massage offers prenatal massage for $115 for 55 minutes or $150 for 80 minutes. We also offer spa packages to give you the extra pampering you deserve!
How to Book Your Prenatal Massage at Rebirth Maya Massage
At Rebirth, all of our massage therapists are certified and specialize in the art and science of prenatal massage. We have been the #1 prenatal and fertility massage wellness center on Yelp for the past seven years, putting holistic women’s health within reach and offering support at every stage of the healing journey. Contact us today to schedule your prenatal massage.