Massage during pregnancy can be done to comfort and pamper the pregnant women. It might have many positive effects like- lowered anxiety, improved sleep, decreased levels of stress hormones, reduced swelling, reduced headaches, reduced joint and muscle pain, decreased cramps in legs and back, improved mood, improved cardiovascular health, less feeling of depression etc
It may also have a role in boosting the immune system as many good hormones called endorphins are secreted during massage therapy which are responsible for health and happiness.
Do’s and don’ts for massage in pregnant women:
Light strokes should be used
Massage should be done towards the heart to improve circulation
Limbs should be concentrated upon
Abdomen is usually avoided
The position is very important during the massage. Lying on back or abdomen is not possible hence lying on the side is the best.
Stretching on uterus or ligaments should be avoided
Any discomfort should be immediately reported
Lots of pillows should be used for support of body
Communication with the pregnant women is very important. Keep asking her for feedback like where it feels good and comforting and whether any action causes discomfort
Foot massage is specially great for swelling and to relax the most stressed part of body
Scientific studies are lacking on the subject of massage during pregnancy and certified therapists are difficult to find. Because of lack of scientific evidence, this area is not used completely but the feeling you get is always good after a good massage, so you should definitely explore its potential but always ask your doctor before taking massage therapy and always get it at a reliable center with trained personnel. Some doctors are totally against massage during pregnancy. Some allow massage if it is a low risk, uncomplicated pregnancy.
When should massage therapy not be done in Pregnancy?
Massage should be avoided in certain situations like-
Increased risk of miscarriage
The first trimester is avoided
Increased nausea and vomiting
Increased risk of abruption
Risk of preterm labor
Bleeding per vaginum
The conclusion is that you can take massage near your due date with caution if your doctor allows and a trained therapist is available as it can ease a lot of aches and pains, help you sleep better and even labor will be easier as stress hormones will be less in the body.