If you’re pregnant, or you’ve been pregnant in the past, you don’t need any further convincing when it comes to the aches and pains that you experience while you’re pregnant. Unless you’ve been there before, there’s no way to fully understand the pregnancy pains. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help!
If you’re not sure how to give your pregnant partner a hand during this difficult time, keep reading. We’re going to give you the lowdown on prenatal massage, how it helps, and how to do it so you can at least help relieve some of that pre-baby stress!
The Dangers of Stress on Pregnancy
The first thing we’re going to talk about is what kind of toll stress takes on a pregnant woman. Because, while it’s an age-old adage that a “happy wife means a happy life” that is true on more than one level when it comes to pregnancy.
Your partner is going through changes you can’t imagine during this time of her life. Not only is her whole world about to change, but her body is doing things that she can’t control. Its bound to be a stressful time.
However, it’s important that she manages stress. Because some of the hormones produced by stress can cause complications during pregnancy. There is also some evidence that suggests that high stress during pregnancy can cause issues for the baby during childhood.
What is Prenatal Massage?
There are a ton of ways that your pregnant partner can try to reduce stress during pregnancy, but our personal favorite is prenatal massage. That’s because it only benefits mom and baby, but if you choose to do it at home it also provides you two with some quiet time together before the baby arrives.
Prenatal massage is similar to a typical massage. It’s a method of massage that’s used to help tense muscles relax as well as get rid of sore spots. Massage increases circulation and movement of the massaged area, as well.
It also feels nice, which is the best part!
What sets prenatal massage apart from regular massage is the way it’s tailored. It’s designed to target the popular pain points that pregnant women experience.
Being pregnant means that your center of gravity, something you’ve lived with your entire life, changes. All of a sudden your body has to get used to this shift and it can put a lot of pain and pressure on places that aren’t used to or designed for it.
Pregnancy also makes your ligaments weaker and less stable. It makes your posture contort and you put on some extra weight which doesn’t help anything either.
The Benefits of Prenatal Massage
While there isn’t a ton of scientific research out there that explains the benefits of prenatal massage, there are small studies and a ton of anecdotal evidence that shows what kinds of benefits this massage can have.
Better Mood = Lower Stress Levels
The first and most basic way that prenatal massage can benefit your partner is the fact that it will put her in a better mood and lower her stress levels. Pregnant women these days live busy lives. They work and take care of the house as well as manage any extra activities in their personal lives.
At the end of the day, pregnant women are exhausted. There’s also the added stress of growing a life inside of her to consider. Pregnant women have a lot on their minds, and they often feel like they don’t have enough time for themselves!
Prenatal massage can help change that. Not only does it target specific areas that hurt and feel good, but it also is time just for her. The attention is on her and her body, she’s focusing on herself, and that’s enough to put anyone in a good mood.
And with better mood comes lower stress levels! If you want to learn more about how a happy mom makes a happy baby, you can read more here.
Relieve Depression and Anxiety
Prenatal depression is a real problem that many women don’t like to talk about. If you notice that your partner is losing interest in her daily activities, cries a lot, or feels anxious for extended periods of time, it might be a sign that they’re depressed.
There’s no shame in visiting a counselor during this time. But if you want to take matters into your own hands and help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression, a prenatal massage could be a great start.
Massages lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the brain, meaning that it can help ease both of these issues!
Reduced Swelling in Massaged Areas
When a woman is pregnant, their bodies hold more fluid all around. They have to carry more blood and other body fluids in order to ensure that the baby gets all of the necessary things they need to develop.
It’s a normal part of pregnancy, called edema, and it’s common in the hands, feet, legs, ankles, and even the face.
It also serves a purpose. The extra fluid makes space for a growing baby and can even help prep the joints and tissues involved in delivery.
However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t painful. Swelling in the hands, feet, and legs can be especially painful.
As we mentioned before, massage can help bring improved circulation to targeted areas of the body, meaning that it can help ease some of the issues associated with swelling.
Is a Massage Therapist a Good Idea?
For many people, a massage therapist is a great idea. If you have the time or the money to spend at the office, there is no better way to treat yourself and your growing baby to a treat that will help to improve everyone’s quality of life.
If you want to go the route of a trained massage therapist, make sure you get a good recommendation from somewhere you trust. Some great places to look for recommendations are the hospital, your OBGYN, or a friend.
If you have a massage therapist you love already, ask them if they are trained in prenatal massage. If not, they can usually recommend someone who is.
The Cost of a Prenatal Massage
Depending on the kind of service provided, the training of the massage therapist, and the area you live in, a massage can run anywhere from $40 to over $150. Some insurance plans cover massage as long as your doctor prescribes it as a part of your treatment plan.
But a good massage from a professional isn’t always available to everyone. That’s why we’re dishing out the details on how to give your partner the best massage you can at home!
Giving a Prenatal Massage at Home
Giving a prenatal massage at home isn’t difficult. It just relies on knowing how to read your partner’s body so you know where to press and how hard.
The first thing you want to do when you’re trying to give a massage is to have your partner lie down in a position that is comfortable for her. For a typical massage, you’d lie down on your back or your belly, but both of these positions aren’t ideal for a pregnant woman.
The best way to lie down when pregnant is to lie on the left side. Use pillows and blankets to help support her belly, if needed, and to prop up her back so she can relax.
From there, put on some calming music, light a few candles, and dim the lights a little. If your loved one doesn’t have sensitivities to massage oils or lotions, pick one with a relaxing scent and warm it up in your hands a little before you start.
Start with her neck, shoulders, and arms. These are the areas that we tend to tense up when we’re stressed. Increased pressure from clenching the jaw while stressed makes the jaw area a nice place to put some gentle pressure on as well.
Next, move to the belly. It’s easy to imagine how tight and stretched out this area can feel during pregnancy, so paying extra, gentle attention to her pregnant belly can feel nice. Don’t put pressure here, just a gentle rub will be enough.
The lower back is another place to pay attention to. Gentle pressure is perfect for this area because it can withstand a lot of weight during the day and is usually the part that is the most sensitive for pregnant women.
You don’t want to ignore the legs or ankles, either. This is another important area because of the sometimes extreme edema women deal with during pregnancy.
When to Avoid Prenatal Massage
In a typical situation, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to prenatal massage. However, if your partner has one of the following issues, you should avoid prenatal massage before talking to your healthcare provider:
- Has a blood clot or bone injury
- Has an open wound, eczema, or skin infection
- Has an allergy to massage oils
But, for the most part, there’s nothing unsafe about giving a prenatal massage, provided it’s done with a careful touch.
Relax With Prenatal Massage Today!
There is a lot about pregnancy that you can’t control. Aches, pains, random fake contractions, nausea, and a widening waistband all come on all at once. And while prenatal massage won’t fix all of your problems, it certainly goes a long way towards making them a little bit better!
If you liked this article about getting a top-notch prenatal massage without breaking the bank, check out this article next!