While nine months can seem like forever at the time, pregnancy is a brief, beautiful time in a mother’s life. Treating yourself to a pregnancy massage soothes some of the pain and tension associated with pending motherhood while also encouraging serenity during the last weeks of your pregnancy.

It’s normal to have a few concerns about the massage process while you are expecting – here’s what you should know about prenatal services before you book.

Is prenatal massage safe?

Safety always comes first, especially with so much at stake. Our licensed therapists are trained in prenatal techniques to provide the best care for you and your baby. To avoid blood flow complications, all pregnancy massages are performed side-lying with comfortable support.

What’s the difference between pregnancy massage and a regular massage?

Reasonably, there are several necessary adjustments to our traditional massage techniques. For example, some pressure points in the ankles and abdomen can trigger contractions or early labor so these areas are avoided.

Similarly, we only use gentle strokes rather than deep tissue pressure to avoid releasing stored toxins into the blood, which could potentially affect the developing baby.

When should I schedule a pregnancy massage?

We recommend starting pregnancy massages at about six to eight weeks. In some cases, your massage therapist may allow you to start prenatal massages in the later stages of your second trimester.

Due to the risk of miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy, it is not recommended to receive a massage in the first trimester.

What are the benefits of prenatal massage?

Pregnancy massage delivers several therapeutic benefits both mentally and physically. Generally, labor is made harder due to the tension and stress that builds up in your muscles. Relaxing these muscles and decreasing overall stress may make delivery easier and a bit faster.

Aside from relaxation, you may experience any number of perks from a prenatal massage:

Less Swelling

Swollen ankles, hands and feet are hallmarks of pregnancy. Massage improves blood and fluid circulation, which transports more nutrients and oxygen to your baby while releasing some of the fluid build-up in your extremities.

Hormonal Balance

High levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – have been linked to early childbirth. The soothing touch of massage decreases the cortisol levels and increases “feel good” hormones like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin to improve your mood.

Reduced Muscle & Joint Pain

The uneven weight shift that happens during pregnancy impacts your posture and puts pressure on various nerves. Prenatal massage aims to relax tight muscles that may be compressing nerves and relieve lower back pain.

Better Sleep

Of course, the increased relaxation from your massage session may promote better sleep, but the reduced pressure on areas of your back can also make it more comfortable to rest.

With all the stress to prepare your mind and home for a new baby, taking an hour for self-care keeps you healthy and well-rested during what can be considered one of the most demanding times of your life. At Total Body Chiropractic & Massage, our experienced massage therapists will work with you to ensure that each pregnancy massage session is as pleasant and soothing as possible.