One of the main differences is positioning. It goes without saying that after a certain point you’re no longer going to want—or be able to—to lay on your stomach on a normal massage table. At a certain point, you may also not be able to lie on your back for an extended period of time, because it may reduce circulation to your baby. A skilled prenatal massage therapist will know the best position for you, regardless of how far along in your pregnancy you are. At O2 Living, we use a Body Cushion, which provides comfortable, stable support lying face-down.
But prenatal massages also differ in that they target and may help alleviate some of the less comfortable symptoms of pregnancy. Here are some of the benefits:
Massage can ease the discomforts associated with pregnancy.
Lower-back pain, upper-back pain, hip joint pain, sciatica, muscles soreness and tension—we name it, you’ve probably got it. Carrying around all of that extra weight is hard work and unfortunately, getting relief isn’t as easy, especially with over-the-counter medication off-limits. The healthy living solution? A prenatal massage, which can help reduce pregnancy pain and leads to total muscle relaxation.
Massage reduces swelling in your legs and feet.
As if back pain wasn’t enough, you also have to deal with swollen legs, ankles and feet. (Good thing you get a cute baby to keep at the end of all of this, right?) Massage may reduce fluid retention and swelling by increasing flood flow, reducing the collection of fluid in joints, and improving the removal of waste tissue in the lymph system. This increased blood flow may also help with fatigue, another common symptom of pregnancy.
Massage helps calm your nerves and mind.
Human touch is powerful. There’s a reason that massages are such a popular gift option every Mother’s Day—not only is it a chance to show mom how much you appreciate her hard work, it also provides her with a quiet space to relax and rejuvenate.
The same goes for expectant moms. In fact, you don’t even have to wait until Mother’s Day—an O2 Living gift card is a great option for any occasion, and can be applied towards prenatal massage.
Massage regulates hormones and reduces depression.
Not only are massages relaxing, there’s evidence they help to produce endorphins and reduce levels of stress hormones, including cortisol. Studies have demonstrated women who undergo prenatal massages regularly are not only less depressed—they’re less likely to report symptoms of postpartum depression. All that positivity may also have effects on your newborn’s health; prenatal massages have also been linked to a reduction in premature births among depressed women.
However, while the long-term outcomes are favorable, a massage may also lead to a more pressing immediate benefit—a solid night’s sleep.