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Don’t let that baby bump get the better of you. Despite several treatments being vetoed for mums-to-be, more and more spas and salons are now offering their services to expectant women. Drawing on different methodologies, pregnancy massage can help alleviate those pesky aches and pains brought on by that extra little person. They also work to reduce fluid retention, helping you feel less balloon-like both before and after the birth.
Designed specifically for those with child, pre-natal or ante-natal pregnancy massage incorporates various styles and techniques depending on the needs and wants of the client, and each process boasts a different emotional or physical benefit:
It’s not uncommon for all to be used.
When you have your first massage you will be told how to lie, but if you’re more than 13 weeks pregnant, you’ll probably be positioned on your side as this is the most comfortable and strain-free pose. You’ll also be supported with pillows, cushions and towels so you can completely relax and not panic about holding yourself up. Sometimes massage tables will have ‘belly holes’ similar to where you rest your head, but these can increase the amount of pressure on the lower back, so you’ll need to discuss this with your therapist beforehand.
During the treatment your back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet will all be massaged, but apart from the area being treated, you’ll be covered with towels to keep you comfortable, warm and relaxed, so there’s no risk of over exposure here. And, to help you unwind, a blend of baby-friendly oils will be applied to the treatment area, but again this is something else you can talk to your therapist about prior to de-robing.
Generally most therapists recommend you wait until your second trimester before you book in for a treatment, but depending on how often you normally have massages, you shouldn’t be turned away in your first trimester. It’s suggested that its advantageous to maintain regular treatments throughout the pregnancy continuing right up until the birth. Each session lasts between an hour and an hour and a half and your therapist will also help you with stretching and breathing exercises that you can practise in the comfort of your own home.
After the arrival of your tiny tot, postnatal massage can be a great way to boost your body back to normality. A full body massage, your therapist will go through the birth and your medical history with you, before tailoring the massage to your individual needs.
As before, the massage will often be carried out whilst you lie on your side, although other positions will be suggested if you’ve had a C-section or are suffering with back pain or tender breasts. Specific areas of tension will then be focused on including the shoulders, neck, legs and lower back. A warm pack may also be placed on your stomach during parts of the massage to start toning up your abdominal muscles.
By encouraging the body to settle back down, the hour long massage assists the body in returning to its pre-pregnancy condition, helping it to rebalance your hormones, restore energy levels and promote a healthy posture.
Lugging around a half stone lump for 9 months can easily take its toll – mentally and physically, but a pregnancy massage once a week, or even on a monthly basis, claims to help reduce stress and relieve cramping, muscle spasms, swelling and fatigue that all come hand in hand with being pregnant. The massage techniques used are also claimed to help increase blood circulation and digestion as the whole process ferries more oxygen and nutrients to the cells of mother and baby.
Although in most cases pregnancy massages will have a positive outcome, women with placental dysfunctions, pre-sclampsia, gestational diabetes, toxaemia or threatened miscarriage should avoid it at all costs.