Pregnancy massage therapy is the use of therapeutic massage and bodywork to support the physiologic, structural and emotional well-being of pregnant, laboring and postpartum women. A typical prenatal session, performed by a therapist specializing in pregnancy massage therapy, addresses pregnancy’s various physical challenges, such as pain in the lower back, pelvis or hips from postural and functional changes. Therapists emphasize techniques to maximize the stress reducing effects to both relax mom and improve uterine blood supply for optimal fetal and maternal outcomes.
Nurturing therapeutic massage may
relieve musculoskeletal discomforts of
pregnancy and enhance a
woman’s enjoyment of her pregnancies
Pregnancy massage addresses the many
needs of a woman throughout an
entire childbearing cycle, rather than
just during pregnancy.
A Growing Specialty
Nurturing touch during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period isn’t a modern concept. For many centuries, midwives have used their highly developed hands-on skills in supporting gestation and birth. Massage and movement during the childbearing experience was and continues to be a prominent part of many cultures’ maternity care.
When childbearing became increasingly medicalized over the last 150 or so years in Western countries, technology ascended over touch in caring for expectant and laboring women. In addition, prior to the 1980s, most massage-therapy educators considered pregnancy a contraindicated condition for receiving massage. Around then, several pioneering massage and bodywork therapists, intrigued by its potential value to women and their families, explored, researched and assembled contemporary foundations for the safe and effective practice of maternity-massage therapy.
Women whose care included more touch enjoyed benefits for themselves, their infants and their families. Pregnant women receiving massage experienced less anxiety and decreased leg and back pain. They reported better sleep and improved moods, and their labors had fewer complications.
Would you like to feel great during your pregnancy?
A massage is just the thing to help. Massage prepares your body for delivery by helping increase elasticity and range of motion in the joints and muscles associated with childbirth. And by helping blood flow in the legs, massage can reduce the chances of edema, varicose veins and blood clots. (If you already suffer from these conditions, then special precautions must be taken and you should let your doctor know you’re planning on getting a massage).
Is maternity massage right for? Massage is safe for most pregnant women. But if you have questions, we encourage you to check with your midwife or physician.
Feeling Beautiful During Pregnancy
“Pregnancy and childbirth can be the greatest and most fulfilling of a woman’s experiences. It is important that their contribution to life be a time of strength, joy, and happiness. Incorporating bodywork and neuromuscular massage enables one to reduce physical and mental tension, increase strength and endurance, and experience ease and comfort during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.”
William J. McKenzie, Jr., M.D.
Diplomat American Board of
Gynecology & Obstetrics