What to Expect (When You’re Expecting a Prenatal Massage)
A prenatal massage at Restorative Massage Therapy begins with a one-on-one intake where we review your medical history and go over any areas of concern (aching hips, tight shoulders, low back pain, etc.). At this time Amy will also talk about the plan for your pregnancy massage and positioning.
A typical prenatal massage will include:
- Side Lying Positioning – Especially useful to address lower back and hips. Often we begin prenatal massage sessions with side lying positioning.
- Lying on Back, Supported with Bolsters – Often the greatest luxury – to lie on your back during the later stages of pregnancy! We utilize bolsters and wedges to allow for safe, comfortable positioning.
- Swedish Massage – Long gliding strokes to promote relaxation, reduce muscle tension and improve circulation
- Integrative Therapies – Depending on the specific needs, a prenatal session may include acupressure, neuromuscular therapy, stretching, fascial work or a variety of other techniques.
The focus on mother and baby doesn’t end when the baby arrives. RMT also specializes in Postpartum Massage to help new moms and their bodies adjust during the postpartum phase.
Check out the Prenatal Massage Packages, including a 25% discount for multiple massages.
Why Prenatal Massage?
Research lead by Tiffany Field at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami found that the serotonin levels in expectant mothers increased for up to two weeks after massage. This natural increase in serotonin can help ease depression by decreasing the cortisol hormone, one of the physiological causes of depression. Massage therapy increased cerebral flow in different brain regions involved in depression and stress regulation, including the amygdala and hypothalamus (Fields).
While prenatal massage can seem simply an indulgence, research indicates clear benefits for mother and child. With the enormous demands placed on the circulatory system during pregnancy, blood volume may increase up to 60 percent compared to pre-pregnancy levels. Massage increases blood circulation, which provides more oxygen and nutrients to both mother and fetus and stimulates the lymph system, thereby increasing immunity and removal of toxins (Vincent).
Additionally, massage can be one of the best ways to address maternal stress. Stress can interfere with fetal brain and central nervous system development, and negatively influence a higher incidence of miscarriage, prematurity, prolonged labors with more complications, and increased perinatal fetal distress resulting in low birth weight babies, postpartum infant irritability, restlessness, crying and digestive disturbances (Martin).
Fields, Tiffany. “Pregnancy and Labor Massage,” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870995/ Mar. 5 2010.
Martin, Kelly. “The Therapeutic Effects of Massage Therapy on Pregnancy Outcomes,”http://www.treasuredbirth.net/research_articles/the_therapeutic_effects_of_massage_therapy_on_pregnancy_outcomes Winter 2013.
Vincent, Ariana. “Benefits of Prenatal Massage,” http://www.massagemag.com/News/massage-news.php?id=4946Dec. 3, 2008.