Myths About Pregnancy Massage

Pregnant women are the most beautiful as they have a life growing in them and yet they have that stance that is radiant whatever the situation. Well, all women are beautiful! During my pregnancy period, I was kind of moody and irritating and always craving for something that would just satisfy my cravings. It was quite a mood for everyone who surrounded me, but it was also utter bliss as I had massages done on me regularly and it helped me. I managed to find the best masseuse and it helped me deal with my situation. Months later, I was blessed with twins! Well, not to be too personal, I learnt something astonishing surrounding pregnancy massages, there are many myths surrounding this type of massage.

So, I decided why not, write something about it and share it with you all! Yes, I am going to tell you all about pregnancy massage and all the myths that there is around this massage. Let us start with a thorough explanation of what is pregnancy massage. Pregnancy massage is a type of massage that is done on pregnant ladies during any trimester. It is necessary for them to have the medical approval of their doctors before indulging into this. Massage can increase circulation flow which may cause dizziness and add to any existing morning sickness or other health conditions.

When I decided to go for pregnancy massage, I was unaware of what it was about even though I knew about massages. I was quite apprehensive about it but at the end I loved it and the person who gave me the idea of getting this massage done! That may be why more and more pregnant women are discovering and benefiting from the art of prenatal massage. Not only does it feel good, but you are able to relieve stress, ease sore spots, relax tense muscles, improve circulation and mobility. Even your baby will benefit from a prenatal massage.

What to Expect?

Relax. Do your best not to worry about all the “what if this”, and “how are they going to be able to do that”. Your massage therapist will work out everything so you will be as comfortable as you can get. There are different ways you can get a pregnancy massage. You may lie on your sides, and you can lie on your belly. Since a specifically designed pillow has made it possible for expectant moms, no matter how far along they are, to lie flat on their stomachs. The pillow features a deep center cutout, so that bellies are accommodated and moms-to-be is relaxed and comfortable. You can also lie on your back; however, it is not a good idea after 22 weeks because the weight of your uterus puts too much pressure on the vein that returns blood from your legs to your heart.

During the massage you should not experience any pain from deep pressure massaging. The most effective guide for determining proper pressure is open communication between you and your therapist. The massage can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how much time you have and how you are feeling. It is safe and enjoyable to receive a massage a couple times a week, especially towards the end of your pregnancy. This will also help you to get the most out of the benefits. However, it can get costly. Prenatal massages can run anywhere from $50 to $110, depending on where you live. Look into your health insurance benefits.

Benefits

Ooo Ahh, the feeling alone will be good enough. Prenatal massage is like breast feeding for your baby, but for your body. There are many benefits for the mom-to-be and her baby, too. Reducing stress can help an expectant mom physically and emotionally as she adapts to her new body image, which in turn nurtures the new life within her.

Aches and pains start to pop up everywhere due to all the physical changes you will be going through. Carrying a baby inside you changes your center of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments so that your pelvic joints are less stable and changes your posture by pulling your pelvis forward. Added to that the extra weight you are carrying, and you have got yourself an aching lower back. A trained prenatal massage therapist knows where a pregnant woman’s sore spots are likely to be and may be able to provide some relief. Just communicate with your massage therapist and tell her where you need special attention.

Pregnancy massage will benefit your baby as well because massage increases blood flow to the uterus, placenta, and fetus. Also, since massage improves lymph flow, which helps flush out toxins. More nutrients and oxygen promote healthy tissues of both mother and the baby.

The Myths

When I first discussed this prenatal massage with my friends, most of them were careful about it. One of my friends, even gave me a list of myths that I am going to share with you. It was quite absurd as I discussed about this with my doctor and we both had a good laugh about it! Well, here is it.

1) Massage during the first trimester

Some massage practitioners refuse to give massage during the first trimester as this is when most miscarriages occur. This is merely because they do not want to be associated with this event should it happen. However, there is no evidence that massage can lead to a miscarriage and massage is not contraindicated during the first trimester. In fact, massage at this time is entirely necessary since it supports a woman as she negotiates the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes of her pregnancy. Her potential is maturing into a powerful new role and identity.

2) Massage on the legs during pregnancy

Deep vein thrombosis in the legs only occurs in 15 out of 10 000 pregnant women (data from live births in Olmsted County between 1966 and 1995). Of these 12 will have clear signs of a possible blood clot, leaving 3 out 10 000 pregnant women with an undiagnosed blood clot. Despite these low figures, some massage practitioners indicate that massage work on the inner leg is not advisable as it might dislodge an undiagnosed clot. Keeping in mind that massage improves blood flow and thus reduces the risk of a blood clot forming, refusing to give a competent massage on the legs potentially exposes 9997 out of 10 000 pregnant women to unnecessary risk.

A more realistic approach is to give a competent massage while checking for any signs and symptoms of a possible blood clot. The simplistic solution of prohibiting deep massage or massage altogether on the inner legs appears to be more prevalent in countries where litigation is high and seems to be based on misunderstanding and fear rather than on existing evidence-based practice for the following reasons:

In spite of this exaggerated emphasis on blood clots, no reliable method is given to assess whether a blood clot is present so there is no good reason to either proceed with or stop the massage. Homan’s test is still routinely taught in massage schools to test for deep vein thrombosis even though it is unreliable and is no longer used, other clinical tests being used in its place.

Massage helps prevent clots from forming by preventing a buildup of stagnant blood in the legs. It is very necessary during pregnancy as there is stronger tendency for blood to clot during pregnancy.

Pregnant women who have been put on bed rest are at greater risk of developing blood clots as their inactivity causes blood to pool in the legs. They are advised to exercise their legs by pointing the foot up and down. This creates a strong pumping action in the calves which helps keep blood flowing through the legs. This has a more powerful effect than massage or work on pressure points. If massage is considered risky, then standard hospital care is even riskier.

The Spleen, Liver and Kidney meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine play an important role in health, especially during pregnancy. As they run through the inner legs, work on pressure points in the legs can be extremely beneficial. In particular, it substantially reduces risk in diabetic mothers when their diabetes is a Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency type diabetes (here there may not be the excessive thirst, hunger, urination or heat normally associated with diabetes but there is increased risk of incompetent cervix, placenta previa and detached placenta). Giving only a light, superficial leg massage in this case may expose the mother to far greater risk than a massage of normal, firmer pressure.

3) The use of a belly hole in the massage table

This is done to allow the mother to lie face down without compressing her stomach during a massage therapy session. However, as her stomach is now not correctly supported, her lower back and pelvis are placed under stress and her uterine ligaments are stretched. These are both common causes of pain during pregnancy. The pressure of the hole’s edges on the abdomen also cuts down blood supply to the abdomen.

4) Avoiding lying the back during pregnancy

This ignores that a pregnant woman is often positioned on the back for long periods during birth, a common hospital procedure. Only avoid lying on the back in a massage or in general if there is 1) a known threat of blood clots forming in the legs, 2) supine hypotension or 3) lower back pain or pain due to sacroiliac or iliosacral dysfunction.

5) Lying only on the left-hand side during pregnancy

It is assumed that lying on the right side will put slight pressure on the inferior vena cava, a large vein carrying blood from the legs and pelvis to the heart. However, although the inferior vena cava lies to the right-hand border of the spine, it is questionable if lying on the right-hand side can slow down blood flow through this vein. Also, lying on the left-hand side puts pressure on the heart and stomach so they may not function at optimum efficiency.

6) The use of contraindicated pressure points

Massage schools teach some pressure points are not to be used during pregnancy as they might induce labor. However, they may be used if there is a good reason to use them. If massage could induce labor, abortion clinics would use massage on these points instead of costly medical interventions. Pressure on these points can only induce labor at the end of term and then it is still difficult to do this.

All pregnant women can benefit from pregnancy massage. If at any time during the massage you experience discomfort, tell your therapist immediately. Bonita Skin Care and Massage is one such massage salon where all the therapists are experienced and knowledgeable about pregnancy massage before they handle any client. They are located in Melbourne, FL. Drop by and dedicate yourself a well-deserved pampering session!

Post Author: Harry Camaro

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