How to Massage Your Pregnant Wife – Pregnancy Massage Techs
As her body changes during pregnancy, your wife is probably experiencing numerous aches and pains. Fortunately, she can ease some of her discomfort with a relaxing massage.
The physical strain that pregnant women endure as they develop a new human inside of them can be lessened with prenatal massage. However, the person being massaged and the masseur typically work together. A second set of magic hands is fortunately present in the home for many soon-to-be mothers, attached to their devoted partner. The even better news is that prenatal massage helps expectant fathers develop connection, intimacy, and awareness with their partner and their unborn child in addition to relieving minor pregnancy discomforts.
What is Pregnancy Massage?
In that the trained massage therapist uses pressure on your muscles, a pregnancy massage is similar to a traditional massage. The objectives of pain relief and relaxation are also the same, and they might even be more crucial during a period of pregnancy that is potentially stressful.
What makes a pregnancy massage unique then? It all depends on your body and how massage therapists make sure you’re safe and comfortable.
For instance, there are some sensitive areas on a pregnant woman’s body that require special care. Normally, the legs, lower back, and abdomen can withstand a lot of pressure, but during pregnancy, all of this changes and less pressure should be applied.
Traditional massage positions are uncomfortable for a lot of women, particularly as their bellies expand. To ensure that you can rest comfortably throughout the massage, massage therapists will employ a wide range of positions and tools.
Is Pregnancy Massage Safe?
The safety of the child developing inside of you should be your top priority if you are pregnant. We can understand why you might be wary of a pregnancy massage given the intense pressure and lying on your stomach.
While you definitely need to follow some basic safety guidelines, massages are considered safe for most women throughout their pregnancy (source). Studies show women who get pregnancy massages have decreased instances of depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain while also experiencing less painful and shorter labors (source).
These advantages are too good to pass up and can provide some solace for struggling moms. However, it’s crucial to go over any alternative medical procedures with your doctor before starting them. Visit your doctor and let them know about your plans, regardless of whether you adore the thought of pregnancy massages or you still have concerns.
Prenatal Massage Techniques
For prenatal massage, you don’t need specific techniques. Set a calm tone, share what makes you both feel good, and start massaging. However, if you’re a prenatal pro looking to up your game, these techniques are the entry point.
Technique 1: Double Hip Squeeze
There is no need for any dynamic movement with this technique. Applying pressure is all there is to it.
The pregnant woman leans forward at the waist while standing or sitting on an exercise ball, her upper body weight being supported by a high bed, table, or counter. Her partner approaches from behind, puts his hands on her hips, and squeezes them together by pressing inward.
“It transforms so much of the soft tissue structures that are important to pregnancy,” Lyon says. “It eases sciatica, lower back, hip, and pelvic floor tension.”
Technique 2: Shake the Tree
Shake the tree shares the same standing start position as the previous technique but is more dynamic. In this technique, relief is given more by movement than by pressure.
The partner stands behind the pregnant woman with his hands on the inside and outside of one of her thighs while she supports her upper body on a firm surface. He then gently “shakes” or “churns” the thigh by gently rolling the muscle back and forth between his hands, almost as if trying to start a friction fire with a log. The goal is to gently roll the muscles in a circle around the femur’s axis.
This technique relaxes and releases the ligaments, pelvic floor, and back as well, which helps because those muscles originate at the pelvis.
Technique 3: Lower Back Stroke
The pregnant woman leans forward once more. Then, on either side of the spine, the partner drags their hands from the woman’s mid to lower back all the way to her tailbone. Partners should “complete” the stroke by dragging the hands down until they fall off the body.
Technique 4: Tailbone Press
Partners should visualize dots along the spine’s tailbone and on either side of the spine. The partner places pressure with fingers on the imagined dots along each side of the spine, from the top to the base of the tailbone, as the expectant mother leans forward comfortably with her upper body supported.
How to Find a Prenatal Massage
Lyon provides advice on how to locate a prenatal massage therapist in your area if these methods seem too intimidating. “You want to find a specialist,” she says. “People are hesitant to treat pregnant women, so you might end up paying for an expensive moisturizing treatment rather than an advantageous massage.”
- Contact a doula: The best connections to prenatal massage therapists are frequently made by doulas. They ought to be able to recommend someone for treatment or provide it themselves.
- Read the worst reviews first: Avoid massage therapists where clients complain of injuries.
- Look for keywords: Prenatal massage is specifically mentioned by highly rated massage therapists, so they are a good bet.
10 Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
Do you suffer from some of the typical pregnancy annoyances, such as stress, back pain, or muscle tension? A massage during pregnancy might be beneficial. Ten well-known advantages of massage during pregnancy are listed below.
- Improve Back Pain
Lower back pain is so common during pregnancy that some estimates suggest at least half of pregnant women will experience it (source). In addition to the physical discomfort, back pain can increase stress levels, make it difficult to fall asleep, and make it difficult to carry out daily tasks.
Studies show massage can help relieve back pain. In one study, a pregnant woman with back pain received twelve 30-minute massage treatments spread over a period of six weeks. All four parameters used in the study to measure pain were improved by the end of the treatment (source).
- Decrease Swelling
If you can still see your feet when you look down, are they so swollen that it shocks you? You are not alone.
Many women experience edema, or swelling, in their ankles and feet during pregnancy. You’re one of those women if they start to resemble tree trunks.
Several things can cause swelling. Your body retains more water during pregnancy and the pressure of your growing belly slows down the flow of blood to and from your heart, causing blood to pool more easily (source). Your hormones continue to be important.
A pregnancy massage stimulates your soft muscle tissues, which helps to drain fluids and promote healthy circulation (source).
Particularly helpful are foot rubs. In one study, forty pregnant women who received a 20-minute foot massage daily for five days saw a significant reduction in swelling compared to those who did not (source).
- Relax General Muscle Tension
Consider a rubber band that has been compressed tightly. This is an excellent way to explain muscle tension.
Essentially your muscles become tight, which can lead to a lot of pain (source). You can experience muscle tension anywhere in your body.
It gets harder to move around as the pregnancy progresses. If you can’t use your muscles, they struggle to stay warm, strong, and flexible. By increasing blood flow to your muscles, a massage can ease tension in your muscles.
Blood flow will essentially warm the muscles up and soften them as circulation improves, providing pain relief and increased mobility (source).
- Regulate Hormones
There is a good reason why people adore getting massages. Many happy hormones are released by them! The wild fluctuations in hormones that occur during pregnancy can have a devastating effect on a pregnant woman’s body and mind.
Consider getting a pregnancy massage to aid in maintaining your hormonal balance. Massages have been shown to increase your levels of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, which all produce feelings of joy and peace, alongside a number of other benefits.
- Decreased Depression
For not taking advantage of the wonders of pregnancy, you might feel awful. Be gentle with yourself. Numerous mothers experience depression either during or after their pregnancies.
It can help because a massage releases so many feel-good hormones.
In one study, pregnant women with a major depressive disorder received massages twice weekly for a period of twelve weeks. The women’s depressive symptoms had significantly decreased by the end of the therapy period, and they continued to do so after giving birth.
- Reduce Stress
Do you know that a stress hormone exists? It’s called cortisol and elevated levels of it are associated with a host of health problems, including a lower immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more (source). The scariest part is that high levels of cortisol during your pregnancy may even negatively affect your baby (source).
Cortisol levels will naturally rise by two to four times during pregnancy (source). While some of it is necessary for baby development, more of it can be harmful to you both. Massages have been shown in studies to lower cortisol levels and calm stressful fetal activity while your baby is still in the womb.
Furthermore, it will unquestionably aid in reducing your stress as you manage your pregnancy.
- Improve Sciatic Pain
Located in your lower back and running through your buttocks and into the spine, the sciatic nerve can cause pain during pregnancy when it becomes pinched or compressed (source). Whether caused by muscle tension, pelvic misalignment, or even the weight of your baby on the nerve, sciatica can lead to both pain and numbness.
Pregnancy massage can help improve sciatic pain by reducing inflammation and swelling, thus relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve, and also helping your muscles and joints to go back to their proper position (source).
- Improve Sleep
A study at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed a pregnancy massage may help improve sleep (source).
While more studies need to be done on the specific links, experts believe massages promote the deep sleep phase, the restorative phase of sleep where your body is absolutely still and gains most of its healing (source). This might be because receiving a massage results in long-lasting feelings of relaxation and pain relief.
- Shorten Labor
For a successful labor, a strong, healthy body is required. The experience of labor can be made better by pregnancy massages in addition to the benefits they provide throughout the pregnancy. Each and every mother aspires to this!
The average labor time was cut by three hours for women who received massage therapy, according to studies, and they also needed less pain medication.
Pregnancy Massage Safety Tips
Although receiving a massage during pregnancy may be risk-free, there are still some safety measures you should follow. Follow these five safety tips to ensure you can enjoy the benefits of pregnancy massages without fear:
- Find A Trained Massage Therapist
The wide range of training and certification options available for massage therapists is one of the main issues that doctors have with pregnancy massage. Because state laws vary, not every massage shop you visit will be qualified to treat pregnant women.
Although there is no uniform certification for massage therapists across the nation, you can always ask anyone you meet if they have had prenatal massage training.
- Avoid Deeper Pressure On The Legs If Varicose Veins Or Pitting Edema Are Present
Pregnant women have a greater risk of developing blood clots, especially in the legs and pelvic area. Should the blood clot become dislodged, it may become a pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening occurrence where the clot travels to your lungs and blocks one of the essential arteries found there (source).
A deep tissue massage on your legs increases the chance that any existing clots will become dislodged if you have varicose veins. Your massage therapist should gently rub your legs while always moving upward and toward the center of your body.
- Use Safe Pregnancy Positions
Your body will begin to noticeably change early on in pregnancy. Your baby bump is one of the most obvious changes, along with a pronounced curve in the spine and possible breast swelling.
Together, these factors make the traditional massage position of lying face down uncomfortable and dangerous. It can cause undue stress on your back, pelvis, and uterus (source). Having your breasts flattened against the massage table can be extremely painful.
If you want to receive a massage while lying on your side, make sure your massage therapist has pillows, cushions, or even a dedicated massage table.
There are numerous different types of massages, did you know? These massages are probably offered by licensed massage therapists in your area and have been developed and used for hundreds of years by various cultures.
So, which massage techniques are best suited for pregnant women and safe to use? Experts recommend three common massage techniques:
- Strong pressure is applied to your muscles during a deep-tissue massage.
- Long strokes with medium to light pressure are used in Swedish massage.
- Shiatsu, which applies pressure and tapping to acupuncture points.
Pregnant women can gain advantages from each of these three types of massage in various ways. It is crucial that you discuss the techniques your massage therapist intends to use on you.
Both your body and mind are worn out. Your stomach is expanding steadily. Even going to get something as enjoyable as a massage seems impossible to accomplish when staying at home.
Fortunately, there are some methods you can employ at home. Because self-massage enables women to take charge of their own comfort and health in a variety of circumstances, we particularly like it.
Self-massage refers to methods you can use privately and at your convenience. Below, we’ve compiled three of our favorites.
- Rubber Ball/Tennis Ball Technique
Using a tennis ball to exert pressure on sore muscles is one of the most well-liked forms of self-massage. You can massage different parts of your body with this inexpensive option.
The majority will place the tennis ball firmly on the ground before placing their bodies on it so that the weight of their bodies will naturally press into the tennis ball.
Do not merely stand on a tennis ball! Falls may result from it, especially if your balance is off while pregnant. Make sure you are holding onto a wall or perched on the edge of a chair if you want to use a tennis ball to massage your feet.
- Belly Massage
For both you and your baby, belly-rubbing can be a special time of bonding. While comfortably supported by pillows and using a light massage oil, lightly move your fingers over your belly in a relaxing manner.
When exercising your own muscles, always remember to breathe. You’ll feel more at ease and less likely to get hurt if you breathe. Imagine the air going down to the muscles you are massaging as you breathe.
- Foot Massage
It’s possible for your feet to swell and hurt while pregnant. Using coconut and peppermint oil to make a homemade massage cream, apply it to your feet in upward strokes to relieve the pain.
The combination of oils has a calming effect, and the upward strokes help lessen pain and swelling.
Don’t exert too much pressure! Your feet have some pressure points that are known to cause labor. Avoid applying too much pressure to one spot, and stop immediately if you experience pain.
Pregnancy massage was once considered a luxury that only a select few could enjoy, but it is now increasingly understood to be a very effective holistic medicine tool. There are countless advantages to slowing down so you can breathe and be in the moment. May we never forget to become as awake and aware of the process as we birth the next generation. Our children will be grateful to us for this presence, which was felt even when the mother was still inside her body. Pregnant women who receive massages during their pregnancies report feeling more joy and ease in their bodies and beings and understanding that this is their natural state.
Frequently Asked Questions
We anticipate that you will have many more queries about prenatal massage. A few of the most frequently asked questions will be covered in this section.
Since there is a lot we can’t cover here, we always advise expecting mothers to do their research and consult a doctor before starting massage therapy.
How Do I Find a Trained Massage Therapist?
Speaking with your doctor, midwife, or labor specialist is one of the best ways to locate a trained massage therapist who specializes in pregnancy massage. They might already have a list of recommended massage therapists.
You can also use this website to search for a massage therapist who has registered with the A code of ethics and high standards are upheld by members of the American Massage Therapy Association.
What Will My First Pregnancy Massage Be Like?
Your pregnancy massage is something you have a lot of control over. Once you’ve found a massage therapist you feel comfortable with, your initial consultation will involve paperwork and a health questionnaire.
Many questions about your pregnancy, your worries, and what you hope to get out of your session with the massage therapist will be asked of you.
The type of massage you will get, the position that will be most comfortable for you, how long it will last, and whether or not you want to stay clothed will all be up to you.
Before beginning the massage, your massage therapist will typically ask you a few questions to determine which parts of your body require the most attention. After that, they will adjust the massage to meet your individual needs. It’s critical that you express both positive and negative feelings during your initial visit.
How Many Times Should I Get a Pregnancy Massage?
The number of massages you can receive while pregnant is not set in stone. You can come whenever you hurt, once a week, or once a month.
Your financial situation, needs, and health will all be factors. Clarification on the ideal massage schedule for you can be obtained from your massage therapist.
If you choose to receive massages more frequently, be sure to take precautions, such as drinking plenty of water and refraining from any kind of strenuous activity right after your massage. Headaches or vertigo will be lessened as a result.
What is a Pregnancy Massage Table?
Pregnancy pillows and a wedge are frequently used by massage therapists to keep their clients lying on their sides. This is frequently regarded as the ideal fetal massage position.
Some, however, also use massage tables for expectant mothers that are specially made. This kind of table has a hole for your stomach and frequently depressions for your breasts. It can be a treat for women who haven’t been able to lie on their bellies for a while.
Can My Partner Give Me a Massage at Home?
Your massage partner can assist. To prevent unintentional injury, it’s critical that you avoid excessive pressure and communicate. Working with a professional to provide you with some safety advice is highly recommended.
Two areas of your body that can store a lot of stress are your feet and shoulders, so we advise having your partner concentrate on them.
Can I Use Massage Chairs?
The advantages of a massage can be experienced very conveniently in massage chairs. In order to relieve pain, the chairs have vibration and heat. However, a lot of females are unsure of its safety.
Despite widespread speculation, there is no scientific proof that massage chairs are harmful for expectant mothers or their developing children.
What is a Labor Massage?
Some of the advantages of massage can be helpful when giving birth. You can both learn how to massage the back and relieve nerve pain to make labor easier. The process of giving birth might be simpler if your muscles are loose and flexible.
Are All Massages Created Equally?
Different states have more or less stringent educational requirements to become a licensed massage therapist, so this is not always the case. One state where this is mandated is New York, where therapists must complete a minimum of 1000 hours of training before they can perform prenatal massage. Some states don’t even require any training for pregnancy massage (some only require 500 hours), while others have lower hourly requirements. In general, it’s a good idea to inquire about therapists’ specific training and experience working with clients who are pregnant.