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Reducing Anxiety With Pregnancy Massage

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 9 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Pregnancy Massage Pregnant Aromatherapy

Pregnancy can be an anxious time for many women, who are worried not only about the birth of their baby, but also how their lives and relationships will irrevocably change once the baby arrives.

Natural stress relief is one of the best ways to help relieve the anxiety some women experience around this time. Many women turn to yoga, pilates and/or special pregnancy massage to help them feel better and able to face the rest of their pregnancy with a calmer and happier outlook.

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

Ante-natal massage can help people on many levels. Most people enjoy experiencing a calm human touch, and someone trained in massage therapy is also trained to help alleviate many aches and pains, which often are a part of pregnancy.

The myriad benefits of pregnancy massage include:

  • Relief from anxiety and stress
  • Having a bit of “me” time to concentrate on yourself
  • Intense relief from muscle cramps and pains, especially in the lower back, legs and hips
  • Stress reduction on joints that bear weight
  • A bit of time out and support for the new mum
  • Stopping swelling in ankles and legs
  • Help in preparation for labour

Care For the Whole Person

The popularity of ante-natal massages can be attributed to a general trend toward wellness during pregnancy, with women becoming more aware of how they can make a positive impact on their pregnancy.

Many women today put off pregnancy until they are older, concentrating instead on their careers and relationships. When they finally decide to become pregnant, they want to enjoy it to the full – yet often there is some anxiety involved as well.

That’s why so many spas today offer pregnancy care packages, which have a variety of treatments suitable for pregnant women, including light facials and massage.

The idea is not just to make the expectant mum feel pampered, but to allow her to enjoy a session tailored to her individual needs, with concentration on problem areas or just on relaxation on the whole.

In fact, studies have shown that ante-natal massages not only relax the mum, but can also be good for the baby - if the abdomen is gently stroked, for example. They also help promote better sleep and can put an end to pregnancy-related insomnia, which can also affect the baby.

A Word of Caution

Ante-natal massages can be fantastic, and are usually safe for most expectant mums. To make the most from your experience, however, keep in mind the following:

  • Make sure you find a massage therapist who is certified in pregnancy massage, and who knows what is safe for both mum and baby. Massaging the wrong way on certain acupressure points can, in some cases, stimulate early labour, so it’s vital to get a therapist who knows which areas to focus on. Some massage therapists do not recommend having a massage during the first trimester.
  • Some aromatherapy oils are also not safe for pregnant women, and your massage therapist should be aware of this. Aromatherapy oils that can relieve tension include tangerine, lemon and ylang-ylang; oils that should be avoided during pregnancy as they can encourage early labour include arnica, clary sage, jasmine, juniper and fennel.
  • Women with certain medical conditions should not have massages when pregnant, including women who are at risk for pre-term labour. If you have a heavy discharge, high blood pressure or severe morning sickness, massage might not be a good idea. Consult with your GP or midwife before having any massage when pregnant.
  • Some massage therapists offer special massage tables with holes in them to accommodate your bump when you are lying on your tummy. If you are fairly well along in your pregnancy, however, using such a table can cause pressure on your lower back and is not advisable. You might prefer to use a beanbag or cushions for support, instead of a chair or massage table, for added comfort.
  • You might find that the idea of a massage whilst pregnancy puts you off. Some women opt for head massages – specifically an Indian scalp massage – which can be relaxing but doesn’t involve the body.

Pregnancy massage can provide much-needed emotional support during a time when a woman often feels anxious or unduly stressed. Even women who feel great emotionally can benefit physically from an ante-natal massage. Consult with your GP or midwife first, then book one today!

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