Did you know that prenatal massage is exceptionally beneficial during your pregnancy? They can help to ease back pain and relieve stress.
Fun fact: Most women experience lower back pain between the 20th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. While we recommend that you try walking, exercising and improving your posture to reduce muscle aches, it doesn’t always help.
It would help if you tried a prenatal massage during your pregnancy. Doing it at home is possible, but you need to be careful. Follow our guide to make sure that you do it safely!
What are the differences between prenatal massages and regular massages?
Prenatal massages are massages that are safe for pregnancy. Massage techniques are the same as a regular massage, but the pressure is softer and restricted to specific points.
As you can see, it’s not as different as you might expect!
Use this infographic to help you remember which areas you can massage during pregnancy!
And if you find it helps – leave a comment below! At Mama’s Choice, we’re committed to making safe pregnancy decisions accessible to all. Letting us know where we can improve helps us make our content better for all Mamas 🙂
When is the best time to get a prenatal massage?
Technically, according to most other sources, you can get a prenatal massage anytime after the first trimester. However, we don’t necessarily agree – If you’re doing a prenatal massage at home, the best window is between 12 – 31 weeks of pregnancy.
Your pregnancy is the most fragile during the first trimester (12 weeks). During this period, a mistake could easily lead to miscarriage. Most professional therapists will refuse to give you a prenatal massage if you’re still in the first trimester!
Past 12 weeks, the foetal position is generally more stable, so it’s safe to do light massages to help blood flow throughout the body and to the foetus.
This is what senior maternity coach and practicing midwife, Chetana from maternity support platform, Veira Life, has to say about prenatal massage: “Prenatal massage can be a valuable self-care tool, especially in the later months. With your weight increasing as the pregnancy progresses and that belly growing, all the extra weight can make for some achy legs and back.”
“Imagine getting a foot soak and a foot rub in the evening. And a caring partner kneading the tight knots in your neck and shoulders. Sounds heavenly right?” – Chetana, Veira Life
We don’t recommend getting a prenatal massage done at home after 31 weeks of gestational age if there isn’t someone experienced to help you. Also, as you approach delivery (and becoming a new Mama! 🙂 ), specific massage points can trigger contractions.
If you must get a massage, consult a professional or a doctor first. We recommend you to register on Veira Life for online prenatal classes and personalised maternity support from certified doulas, childbirth educators and lactation counsellors in the comfort of your home.
Here’s a simple infographic if you don’t want to read too much!
Three simple steps for a prenatal massage at home
A pregnancy massage by your partner releases oxytocin (the love hormone), which makes you healthier and happier!
Chances are, though, your partner isn’t a therapist experienced in prenatal massage. (If they are, congratulations! You’re going to have an incredibly relaxing pregnancy! 😉 )
Don’t worry; you can still “oblige“ them to help you out. Just make sure they massage lightly and point out the areas where it’s safe to massage (Refer to our infographic above!)
Here are the steps you should take for a DIY massage.
Firstly, get a pillow to support your stomach. This applies to any position. There are two commonly-used positions for massage during pregnancy: Sitting and lying on your side.
When sitting, face the wall or the back of a chair with a pillow on your stomach for support.
When lying sideways, use a pillow to support the stomach so that the position remains comfortable and safe.
Now your partner can start massaging! But, again, remember to use light movements in safe areas (Refer to our infographic above).
Be especially careful around the abdomen. Soothe the body with light strokes so your baby can feel the massage. A prenatal massage is simple! It generally takes 5-10 minutes and can improve your and your baby’s health.
The third step is to use prenatal massage oil to help make the massage softer, gentler and more relaxing. In addition, using massage oil makes the skin’s surface more slippery, allowing you to control pressure better. Make sure to choose massage oils that are safe for pregnancy, as not all essential oils are safe for pregnant women.
Benefits of getting a massage during pregnancy
According to Chetana, “massage can improve blood circulation, and as you relax, your baby can enjoy the increased flow. Your body floods with endorphins which are hormones that help you relax, unwind and feel content. Your ligaments and muscle fibres stretch, improving the body’s balance and alignment. In addition to all the benefits during pregnancy, massages can make your body ready for the rigours of labor and birth.”
Here are some key benefits of prenatal massage that you might find interesting.
- Smoother blood circulation. Massages help ensure a smooth supply of blood and nutrients to the fetus. By improving circulation, they can also reduce swelling.
- Stabilised hormones. Again, this is a benefit of improved circulation. In addition, prenatal massages can help better prepare you for delivery.
- Reduced blood pressure. By balancing your heart rate and blood pressure, prenatal massages can help ease your labour process.
- Better mental well-being. Massages make the body feel more relaxed, which naturally stimulates oxytocin. As a result, you’ll start feeling happier, more alert and less stressed.
- Reduced muscle and joint pain. It’s an excellent method of easing your pregnancy back pain!
- Better sleep. Massage reduces cortisol (stress hormones). As a result, you’ll be less likely to feel anxiety, which helps you get the beautiful, vital rest you need. That is until your baby arrives, when you’ll have to deal with 3-6 months of feeding them every 2-3 hours before they finally sleep through the night.
Important reminders for DIY prenatal massage
Prenatal massage isn’t a “don’t try this at home” activity. But to some, it can be pretty challenging. So it’s essential to understand the limits of prenatal massage, especially when you’re trying it at home.
- If you’re dealing with muscle aches, consider engaging an experienced therapist with prenatal massage. It will probably be somewhat safer and more effective. Alternatively, you could visit a spa or massage parlour that caters to pregnant women.
- Don’t combine your massage with heat treatments, such as Hot water, steam baths, jacuzzis or saunas.
- Consult your obstetrician before making any decisions. They could have some additional pointers for you!
Prenatal massage is helpful and it’s convenient. It can be as simple as a short 5-10 minute massage to help ease your stress. If you want a full-body relaxation experience, engaging an expert prenatal masseuse to help you is also a great option!
Enjoy a Prenatal Massage with A Pregnancy-Safe Massage Oil
At Mama’s Choice, we understand how a massage can do wonders for one’s mood and overall well-being. That’s why we created a pregnancy- and breastfeeding-safe massage oil that can take your massage experience to the next level!
For Mamas who seek calm, peace of mind, and relaxation, our Mama’s Choice Relaxing Massage Oil is the best choice. Infused with a blend of grapefruit, lavender, and orange oils, our massage oil is an aromatic treat for the senses and relaxing addition to your entire prenatal massage experience.
Mama's Choice Team