During the nine months of pregnancy, back pain becomes a constant in the life of the future mother. This is because of water retention, increased blood flow and hormone levels, as well as the accumulated pressure due to baby weight, all of which take place in pregnancy.
Luckily, the pain can be soothed with prenatal massage, which releases the tension in your tissues and provides relief.
When can you get a back massage?
It’s safe to get a prenatal massage at any time during the pregnancy, yet some therapists who are not specifically trained in prenatal massage only approve of massaging women who are past the first trimester, as a secondary precaution.
During the first trimester pregnant women are more likely to suffer a miscarriage, so having a massage might not seem safe. However, if you are seeing a therapist who is trained and certified in prenatal massage, there is no reason to worry
The perks of having a back massage in pregnancy
There are a lot of benefits of getting a massage when you are pregnant and the most significant one is pain relief. A prenatal massage can reduce the pain and relieve the tension in your lower back, shoulders, and pelvic area, all of which are working hard to support the baby.
Many women experience sore hips, which are also helped by a prenatal massage. Your muscles are also relieved by a massage, and some therapists say that prenatal massage can help your skin improve its elasticity and prevent or reduce stretch marks.
A massage also improves blood flow and reduces swelling. Another benefit of back massage for pregnant women is the huge impact on your emotional state.
Humans are built to react to touch, and massage can improve your emotional state, calming you down, as the body releases endorphins, happiness hormones. When the massage session is over, you will feel refreshed, body, mind and soul.
Back massage during labour
Many doulas practice back massage during labour, to ease the pain for the mother. They use long strokes down the spine and to the sides, with rhythmic moves, which can soothe contractions and temporarily relieve pain.
Each labour is different, so each doula uses different back massage techniques to comfort the mother during the birth.
Find a trained massage therapist
Never receive a massage while you are pregnant in a random salon, where the therapist is not trained in giving prenatal massage! Before you get on the massage table, research the spa or the venue and make sure the therapists are qualified to give you a massage. The establishment also needs to have special pillows for the table.
Since it is unsafe for women to remain on their back for the entire session, pillows must be provided to both support your back in the reclining position, and to support your belly and allow you to comfortably recline on your side.
This is the safer position during a massage, and tables with a central hole for the belly should be avoided due to the strain they can place on your ligaments.
Fragrances that are not natural are to be avoided: during pregnancy you should avoid using any perfume or fragrance oils. Essential oils are generally safe to use, unless your doctor and prenatal massage technician advise you otherwise.
Many pregnant women develop a fine sense of smell and find lotions and oils to be too strong – if you are one of them, you can ask the massage technician to use a scent-free lotion.