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Prenatal Massage Therapy: Is it Safe? & What To Expect

Updated: Feb 21

We won't be the first (or the last) one to say this, but being a mother comes with its bliss and challenges. A surge in hormonal shifts, mood swings, swollen stomach, stiff back (most common) and a rollercoaster of emotions for nine whole months - say hello to the world of pregnancy!

We've always been asked if maternity massage is the right call and about its risks (if any), so we wanted to straighten a few facts about maternity massage during pregnancy, as it's loaded with benefits.


Massage therapy has profound benefits when performed during pregnancy,it improves well-being, destresses, increases recovery, and improves sleep.

However, since some procedures and trigger points can induce contractions and premature labour, it's best to seek a professional for prenatal massage therapy.

Performing a therapy as sensitive as a prenatal massage requires special skills, awareness and knowledge - something that our professionals at BodySense Massage in Christchurch take pride in.

As a precautionary measure, we always suggest that mums-to-be consult their doctor before scheduling a massage and observing strict instructions to protect themselves and their babies.

The concept behind prenatal massage

The right kind of prenatal massage service is designed to consider the physiological modifications that occur during pregnancy. In a typical massage session, you may spend half the time lying face-down on your stomach (which is impossible with a baby belly). And the other half is looking up (a position that puts pressure on a major blood vessel that can disrupt blood flow to your baby and leave you feeling nauseous).

A professional massage therapist will create accommodations for specific cushioning devices or holes, allowing you to lie face down comfortably, giving enough space for your developing belly. Alternatively, it would help if you lay on your side with pillows and cushions to comfort yourself.

Is it possible to have a massage when pregnant?

After the first trimester, prenatal massages are usually deemed healthy, as long as you get your doctor's approval and inform your massage therapist that you're expecting. Massages should be avoided during the first three months of pregnancy because they can trigger dizziness and worsen morning sickness.

To demystify a particular belief, there's no way that a massage session could "ruin" your pregnancy. No evidence specifically antagonises maternity massage, contrary to popular belief.

Few massage therapists resist such pressure points, such as the one between the ankle bone and the foot, for fear of inducing contractions. However, there is no definitive proof that massage will potentially initiate labour.

It's best to avoid getting your tummy massaged when you're pregnant because of strain on the region, and it might make you feel awkward.

We suggest that you don't lay on your back during your relaxation while you're in the second half of your pregnancy (after the fourth month). The weight of your baby and uterus could potentially block blood vessels and restrict circulation to your placenta, causing more complications than any massage would fix.

Avoid getting a deep tissue massage on your thighs during a prenatal massage. Though gentle pressure is healthy (and can sound fantastic! ), pregnant women are more prone to blood clots, which intense massage can help to dislodge. This may be dangerous to resist.

For some sections in the body, you can take the liberty to choose how firm/deep or soft the stroke should be. But do let the therapist know how you're feeling — and if anything continues to bother you.

Another consideration: While any massage therapist may potentially practice pregnant women, it's safest to seek out a professional with at least 16 hours of specialised experience in maternal massage. (Because there is no formal qualification, you can inquire at the time of your appointment.) This way, you will relax knowing that you're in the care of someone who understands how you’re feeling and knows how to alleviate any discomfort or pressure caused by your shifting anatomy.

Finally, always consult your practitioner before getting a prenatal massage, particularly if you have diabetes, morning sickness, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, fever, viral infection, stomach pain, or bleeding. These conditions can cause massage during pregnancy a risky experience.

The Advantages of Pregnancy Massage in Christchurch

Obstetric massage may have a variety of health benefits. The below are some of the fitness advantages:

Improved sleep consistency. Deep tissue massage promotes the body's development of melatonin, and the serotonin compound. Your sleep patterns are thus better controlled as a result. When a pregnant woman gets a massage, the consistency of her sleep increases, resulting in a positive cumulative impact on the body.

Reduces fear and stress levels. The tension hormone is known as cortisol. The amount of cortisol in a pregnant woman's body is significantly lowered when she receives massage therapy as part of her prenatal treatment. This allows her to benefit from healthy hormones that have been shown to boost mood, strength, and immunity.

Reduces the swelling of the joints. Swelling is referred to as oedema in medicine. Low circulation and extra strain on the blood vessels allow it to happen often during pregnancy. Deep tissue stimulation is prescribed for pregnant women to relax the soft tissues and reduce the fluid accumulation of swollen joints. Massage improves the lymph system's capacity to eliminate tissue waste from the body at the same time.

Muscle discomfort and cramps are relieved. Pregnant women are more prone to muscle discomfort and cramps. Muscle pain and increased motor neuron activation are the most common causes of these discomforts. These can be significantly minimised with the aid of a professional in maternity massage in Christchurch.

Nerve discomfort is reduced. Sciatic nerve pain affects a lot of women, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. This is because their uterus lies on the lower back and pelvic floor muscles. As this occurs, the weight causes discomfort in the upper and lower leg muscles, resulting in swelling. Mothers can get the support they need by relaxing these muscles thanks to our BodySense Massage Christchurch therapists, who provide prenatal care therapy. Women who receive massages during their pregnancy feel less sciatic nerve pressure.

Reduces the likelihood of premature birth. According to studies, pregnant mothers who underwent prenatal massage therapy daily have a lower risk of having a premature baby than women who did not get a massage during their pregnancy.

Reduces the stress hormones in the infant. Massage not only benefits the mum-to-be but also helps to reduce stress hormones in the infant. Studies have shown that massage helps alleviate a baby's cortisol levels even while they are still in their mother's womb. As a result, it's fair to assume that pregnant women aren't the only people who benefit from maternity massage.

It's safe to say that many massage therapists in Christchurch, like that of BodySense Massage centre, already provide remedial therapy because of these health benefits. However, before you get a massage from just anybody, keep in mind that only trained practitioners who specialise in prenatal massage can provide you with the best care.

Prenatal massage is something that only professionals are trained to do, but choosing a practitioner can not be taken lightly. As a result, we suggest that you inquire about the therapist's experience, credentials, and preparation before continuing.

If you're looking for an experienced maternity massage therapist in Christchurch, contact BodySense Massage. Don't compromise on quality, book from the best today!

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